We recently published an article describing controversial topics surrounding the 2016 Oi Rio Pro. Mainly, we discussed the poopy water, the mediocre waves, the rabid fans, and the reportedly corrupt jetski drivers. What we didn't account for was someone getting shot.
Earlier today, a shooting occurred a block away from the comp site and just meters from a restaurant where Stephanie Gilmore, Keanu Asing, Dusty Payne, Carissa Moore, and several other competitors were enjoying a meal. They witnessed the aftermath.
Rumor has it, a motorcycled bandit was attempting to pillage a parked vehicle. When the owner of the vehicle discovered the assailant's gimmick, he brashly deposited lead into the bandit's torso. Accounts from the scene indicate a solitary shot was fired, leaving the thief with a crimson geyser in his stomach region. The CT surfers saw the man clutching his bloody midsection before quickly mounting his hog and fleeing the scene. The car of the alleged shooter followed the man after a few minutes had passed. It is still unclear whether the wounded man has been located and whether or not he survived the shot.
The big question is what the WSL will choose to do at this point in time. Most likely, they will write it off as a freak occurrence – something that cannot be foreseen or avoided anywhere in the world. This is true, to an extent. While Brazil is the world leader in gun-related homicide, Rio de Janeiro is significantly better than many cities in the northern part of the country. According to Forbes, Rio's murder rate is 18.6 per 100,000 people, setting it on the safer side of Brazil, but still relatively dangerous compared to other global locales. For some perspective, it sits between New York City (9.8 per 100,000) and Compton, CA (25 per 100,000).
So far, we have yet to hear from the majority of the surfers who witnessed the attack. One can imagine they would still be a bit shaken by the whole thing, especially someone like Steph Gilmore, who was famously assaulted by a homeless man back in 2010, in Australia.
Steph’s incident is proof that bad things can happen anywhere. It's just that this time, the attack occurred at the most highly-opposed event on tour. Fuel to the fire, indeed.