“Sleeping in a Bus Station”: Afro-Brazilian Surfer Narrates Her Unthinkable Struggles as an Outsider in the Sport

Published 01/21/2023, 2:15 PM EST

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While the sport of surfing is gaining popularity across the world, participants belonging to a specific community are still struggling to make their identity. Recent years have seen surfers from all across the globe performing exceptionally well. Still, the struggle for equal recognition is not looking to ease down anytime soon. The Afro-Brazilian community of surfers is often ignored by the audience and sports investors. 

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A prominent surfer from the Afro-Brazilian community once opened up about the struggles she went through to make her impression on the sport. 

One of the greatest female surfers, Erica Prado received global limelight in the 90s. She was among the elite group of surfers for nearly a decade. But she had to climb the toughest ladder as there was no backing from the prior support for black people in the industry.

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The surfing star revealed her sacrifices even after becoming a professional surfer. She made shocking revelations on the discriminatory culture towards Black surfers. Prado added that the absence of financial assistance makes the job even tougher for African surfers. “The lack of sponsorship affects the athlete. Sometimes I had to spend 48 hours on the road, sleeping in a bus station and saving money to eat,” she said. 

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Prado further revealed that once she made it to professional surfing, the pressure increased on her as she had to make a statement for her community. The champion surfer wanted to set a strong example for her community and motivate them to participate more. “When I was in the water, my concern was not to lose at first. I need it to give joy to the people who believed in me,” she told a Brazilian newspaper. 

Erica Prado launched a movement to increase participation in the surfing community

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Erica Prado is now leading a global movement by the name, Movimento Surfistas Negras. The aim of this global movement is to increase the participation of professional black women surfers in sports. She believed that there were still some stereotypes prevailing in the sports against black surfers. 

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Prado has been vocal about the sport and she often highlighted people’s denial about it. The movement has gained momentum and brands’ attention. Last year she hosted a TV show which showed various black women surfers. 

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Written by:

Shivam Sharma

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Shivam Sharma is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, he has previously worked as a writer and an anchor for Navbharat Today, penning down and explaining issues around sports, politics, and international relations. He is an admirer of Virat Kohli for the passion that he brings to the field.
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Edited by:

Pritam Priyedarshi

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