WSL teamed up with SOS Mata Atlântica, Mar Sem Lixo, and Escola de Surf de Saquarema on a planting and beach cleanup along with surfers Caio Ibelli and Isabella Nichols. At Saquarema, the Massambaba Environmental Protected Area (Apa da massambaba) helps to conserve coastal lagoons, native vegetation and dunes that supports the powerful beach break of Praia de Itaúna, but also protects watersheds and the home for many species, some facing the risk of extinction, such as the lizard Liolaemus lutzae, the antwren Formicivora littoralis and plants like Melanopsidium nigrum and Melocactus violaceus. The name Massambaba has its origins in the Tupi indigenous language, and refers to union or junction, revealing the ancient knowledge that these ecosystems and the ocean are connected.
A report developed with WSL PURE's grant to SOS Mata Atlântica revealed that there are more than 128 Protected Areas created by local governments of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest over coastal and marine ecosystems. Another important finding was that most of these protected areas were created where the society was engaged and actively participating in broader policies, such as coastal management and city spatial planning.
To strengthen this social engagement, SOS Mata Atlântica and WSL PURE, together with local organizations Mar Sem Lixo project, Blue Birds sustainable tourism and institutional support from the Rio de Janeiro State Institute of Environment, collaborated on efforts aligned to the Championship Tour event and Massambaba Environmental Protected Area.
As the biggest celebration of surfing on tour, Rio is as much about the fans on the beach as the surfers in the water. Their adoration for the Brazilian athletes is unrivaled and there's no setting like this in the sport. It will be a test for Gabriel Medina, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Filipe Toledo, and every surfer on tour to block out the pressure and focus on the fight for the WSL Final 5.