Rio’s heat and sun can make doing anything that isn’t on the beach feel almost sacrilegious, but that doesn’t have to mean lazing the day away people watching and chugging cans of Skol, oh no. Rio offers a rare quality of urban surf breaks from Copacabana (occasionally) all the way to Recreio (reliably), and Barra provides arguably the best learning waves around; regular, long, and usually not the kind of wall of water that could put you off for life. Plus there is no cringe-indusing Ipanema-esque audience to contend with.
Rico Surf School by Posto 4 offers popular group lessons at 9.30am every day of the week, as well as an afternoon session at 3pm on weekdays and at two hours for R$35 its pretty unbeatable value compared to the Ipanema/Leblon schools. Classes are usually split into different abilities, with a teacher assigned to each one; a complete beginner gets a few
minutes of basic balance and positioning work before hitting the water and from there its all trial and error and learning if you have what it takes.
The emphasis is very much on throwing yourself into it, though, and you won't receive a lot in the way of TLC from the pros. If you’re after more theory, more strategic compliments and less swallowed salt water, private lessons are a good idea, but the independent approach will suit a lot of people too.