The surfing community unites in mourning the tragic loss of Brazilian surfer Ricardo dos Santos, who was shot outside of his home on Monday.
Amongst conflicting reports, it appears that dos Santos, 24, was killed by an off-duty police officer at 8:40 am. One witness says dos Santos asked the officer and his brother to leave the beach outside his home, after spotting them using drugs and playing loud music. Another report says the altercation arose from a parked car on dos Santos’ property.
Local police have taken two brothers, 25 and 17, into custody. The older of the two is reported to be the off-duty cop, and is suspected to have shot and killed dos Santos.
After being shot three times in the stomach by the off-duty officer, dos Santos was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. Waves of blood donors flooded the hospital, eager to save dos Santos’ life. The surfer underwent four surgeries and 40 liters of blood transfusions, fighting for 24 hours before succumbing to his injuries on Tuesday.
A “fearless, world-class tuberider”, dos Santos gained recognition at the 2012 Billibong Pro in Tahiti, defeating 11-time world champ Kelly Slater. He took home the Andy Irons Award for Most Committed, and went on to win “Wave of the Winter” that same year.
Kelly Slater called dos Santos’s death a “truly a senseless loss of life”, and noted dos Santos as “one of the great barrel riders of his short time” in a touching tribute on social media. Slater joined surfers in Hawaii this morning to pay their respects, forming a circle in the swell.
The surfing community has expressed an outpouring of love for dos Santos, flooding social media with photos and memories of their fallen friend.
From fellow Brazilian Adriano de Souza’s Facebook page:
“What about when you lose a great friend? What about when you lose a person so cheerful, with such a good heart as Ricardinho? I have so many good memories of him that it is difficult to choose one. But I want to keep in mind forever his qualities and his courage. Those we love never die, they just leave before us. May you be with God my friend and may you protect us from above.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ricardo’s friends and family for this terrible tragedy.