Author and Photographer: Elise Laine
Vans headed to the iconic Macumba Beach in Rio de Janeiro for its 11th season of the Joel Tudor Vans Duct Tape Invitational. From May 12 to 14th, the event brought together 32 of the world’s best longboarders to showcase their style and talent in classic traditional surfing.
Held in different locations around the world, this was the first Duct Tape event ever organized in South America, and it surely did not disappoint! Vans invited some local Brazilian surfers for the occasion, such as local surfer and shaper Caio Teixeira, Augusto Olinto, Jasmin Avelino, Marina Carbonell… Some well-known longboarders and previous champs were also present, including Alex Knost, Mikey February, Karina Rozunko, Harrison Roach, Justin Quintal… and many countries were represented: USA, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, France, South Africa, Japan…
Surfers were competing for a total prize purse of $48,000 split equally among men and women and split between final heats, expression sessions and shared waves. While surfing is what reunited us all in Brazil, the Vans DTI is so much more than this. The surf festival is a global cultural event showcasing art, local businesses, workshops, pop-ups, live surfboard shaping, music, and expression sessions on shorter boards. It is an event celebrating community and surf culture, where the spirit of friendship and global camaraderie transcends the boundaries of a mere surf contest.
The competition was indeed secondary as the shared passion for surfing seamlessly blended with the joy of reconnecting with old friends and forging new bonds. The atmosphere pulsated with laughter, stories of epic rides and a genuine appreciation for the surf culture. Everyone was sharing smiles, beers and caipirinhas on the beach. Waves were pumping – head high to double overhead, brazilian music was blasting and everyone’s teeth were stained by açai.
Avalon Gall from Hawaii won the first place in the women division while Justin Quintal from Florida went home with his 11th Vans Duct Tape win. Japanese surfer Natsumi Taoka and local surfer Jasmin Avelino won the women expression sessions, as long as David Arganda from California and Johnny ‘The Ripper’ Van Hosenstein, who took the win on softboards. Johnny and Alex Knost also won the best shared wave prize during the finales, in heavy double overhead conditions.
In a world where surfing competitions are often focused on high-performance maneuvers and big prize money, the Vans Duct Tape Invitational stands out as a refreshing and inspiring celebration of creativity, style, and community. The event ended with a music party led by a phenomenal female samba band- everyone was singing, dancing, and making lifelong memories in the heart of Brazil. We went home with a vibrant heart and can only dream about the next one now.