The Girl from Itacoatiara
23 year-old Raquel Heckert is one of the new generation of big waves surfers from Brazil.
Istarted with all this because I like adrenaline and overcoming my limits. I grew up at Itacoatiara Beach, Rio de Janeiro – a place that is good training for tubes and big waves. I was interested in big wave surfing and was inspired by watching Bruno Santos (tube rider) and
Dudu Pedra (professional bodyboarder). I really wanted to know how to make the barrels like they did, and understand how they survived the big waves in Itacoatiara.
I really love surfing. It’s something I’ve wanted to do every day since I had my first surf lesson when I was 13 years old. I hope to keep doing it for the rest of my life. My mother didn’t understand about surfing – she asked me to promise not to go surfing when it was big – it seemed she already knew the future. But all I wanted was to push my limits and surf waves with a higher level of difficulty.
Now I’m a professional free surfer and big wave rider – part of the new generation of big wave surfers in Brazil. I was substitute in the first WSL Jaws Contest for women, so I have to focus right now on the possibility of being in the next Big Wave contest. I have no sponsorship, just a small amount of support, so I use all my time and my savings to train. My plan is to travel more around the world to follow the really big swells, and in future win some XXL Big Wave Awards. I’d love to inspire more people to follow their dreams and I’d also like to have money to go on the WQS Tour.
So many things and people have inspired me to get to where I am, but I’m also the sort of person who tries harder if someone tells me I can’t do something. I think also what made me get here is that I was always surfing; even when the waves were horrible and closing out I went training. I went surfing without knowing anyone who surfs, without any person in my family being involved with surfing, and without coming from a rich family. It all depends on how much you want your dream. Everything is possible.
The awesome list of big wave spots that Raquel has surfed include:
Peru: Pico Alto
México: Zicatela in Puerto Escondido Hawaii: Jaws, Waimea, Phantom, Makaha, Hammerhead, Big Pipeline and Sunset. Indonesia: G-land, Nias, Big Uluwatu, Desert Point, Padang Padang, Watu Karung and many another waves.