By Rebecca Parsons
In recent years, Brazil has become a powerhouse in the world of water sports. With what seems to be a limitless pool of talented paddlers and surfers, these budding stars hone their skills at countless breaks dotting the pristine Brazilian coastline.
With paddlers like Nicole Pacelli dominating the big-wave scene, the Vaz brothers continuously redefining SUP surfing and underdog Luiz Diniz taking home the SUP surfing title at the ISAs in Denmark, it's only a matter of time before Brazil secures a world title of its own.
Luiz Diniz was born and raised in Guarujá, an island located in Sao Paulo that is often referred to as the "Pear of the Atlantic" due to its stunning scenery. Diniz was first introduced to the sea by his cousins in the form of traditional surfing. He competed for a number of years before discovering SUP in 2015.
Already a talented surfer, Diniz transitioned seamlessly into carving Brazil's waves with a paddle in hand. He took home a few wins at local events in Brazil before winning his first international title at the 2017 ISAs in Denmark. He competed against the world's best before securing the gold in the SUP surfing event.
"It was the victory of my life," Diniz says of the win. "I worked hard for it and managed to get where I always wanted to be. Thank God and all my staff for helping me a lot."
Diniz works hard day in and day out to make his goals a reality. Monday through Saturday he works with a sports psychologist, nutritionist, physiotherapist and does physical training with his coaches Sérgio and Galvão. While standup paddling is his main focus, he is still competitive in traditional surfing and must balance his training accordingly. When he's not in the water, Diniz loves spending time relaxing with his family and friends.
"Luiz’s SUP surfing is something unique," says teammate and friend Aline Adisaka. "He’s got the natural talent of surfing and is really good at riding any kind of board and wave. He brings a challenging, powerful, progressive and modern take on SUP surfing, pushing the sport to a whole next level. He is not only a strong surfer, but also a very strong competitor."
When asked why Brazil has experienced so much success in recent years, Diniz explained that the level of SUP surfing is high and the competition is tough. Each round of competition is treated like a final, challenging the level of progressive SUP surfing with each heat.
"Brazil has a very strong connection with surfing and an ever-high competitive level," Diniz says. "I see new talents with Kauan Terra, Waltamir Alves and Daniel Ferlin and I hope the legacy continues."
Although Diniz is still fairly new to the SUP scene, he's already made his mark on Brazil's legacy of talented surfers. But that isn't enough for him. He may be a world champion, but the twenty-five-year-old has big goals going forward. He hopes to start competing on the APP World Tour, become the Brazilian champion and secure a spot at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru.
If the present is any indication of what's to come, Diniz's future looks bright.