The adventures of Rickson, Arona at Prainha Beach in Rio

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As former president of Brazil Lula once said, making it to black belt is tougher than becoming a general. Now a Jiu-Jitsu black belt who’s good at surfing, then, is almost a ten-star general. That’s what the 24 beasts who this past weekend took to the waves at Prainha Beach in Rio de Janeiro proved.

The Rio de Janeiro weekend was marked by loads of testosterone and adrenaline. While on Saturday night at UFC Rio fighters like Shogun, Minotauro and Anderson Silva represented Brazil in the octagon, on Sunday it was 24 black belts’ turn to show their skills on a board.

On the two-meter swells that break all day at the beach in the city’s west, Rio native Marcus Brasa defeated the overcame the big surprise of the championship, telenovela actor Cauã Raymond, to take first place at the Bintang Black Belt Challenge surfing contest, a tournament exclusively for black belts upon invitation. It was Brasa’s first title as a black belt surfer.

In the final heat, lasting 25 minutes, Brasa put all his experience to work. The three-time Rio de Janeiro state professional champion ended up winning the ticket to Costa Rica offered by Surf Travel Company. (Check out the photos taken by Rick Werneck below.)

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But anyone thinking Brasa had an easy time winning the competition is sorely mistaken. His three opponents in the final – Cauã, Leonardo Leita and Ricardo Arona – gave him a run for his money, making the victory all the more satisfying.

The chief opposition was Cauã, who was in the running up until the final seconds. And anyone thinking the young actor is just a pretty face from television is sorely mistaken, too. Cauã has been doing Jiu-Jitsu for ten years and, according to those who have faced him on the mat, he has a slick and plenty technical guard. On Sunday at Prainha Beach, Cauã Raymond showed he’s got the goods when it comes to surfing too. After winning all his heats, the actor who learned to surf in Santa Catarina made it to the final as the big revelation of the championship – at least to those who didn’t know about his talent as a surfer and his extreme competitiveness: “I’m stoked with the result but I wanted to win. I’ll be back next year,” said Cauã at the awards ceremony, smiling while holding his trophy.

The other two finalists, Léo Leite – the winner of the event in 2010 – and Jiu-Jitsu world champion and MMA star Ricardo Arona took third and fourth place, respectively.

While Marcus Brasa will be heading off to hang ten in Costa Rica, Cauã won a ticket to Florianópolis, the second-place prize also offered by STC – and he’ll take the opportunity to drop in on family and surf in his state of birth. Leite won a Nixon watch, while Ricardo Arona got an Island Mana board shaped by Ítalo Marcelo.

Before the final a different sort of test was held, a rowing contest with all the competitors decked in gis. The black belts had to cut through Prainha’s breaks – not an easy task on Sunday –, and circle the Bintang buoy, which was strategically placed around 200 meters behind the breaks, before returning to the beach.

The big winner was black belt Felipe Gama. Second went to André Freitas. Felipe won a board for first place, while André earned a Nixon watch. All the finalists in the two divisions were given Probiótica kits.

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