// Flight Paths of a Revolutionary //

With the 53rd annual Rip Curl Bells Beach pro currently taking place, Silvana Lima took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with Jan Juc local, Heidi Atkins, who gives us an insight into this Brazilian charger who continues to leave her mark in the professional surfing world.

Words and photography by Heidi Atkins.

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Silvana Lima has a gigantic and warm smile. It’s an honest, natural beauty and while she may be mouse-like in stature, her grin is a gateway to an enormous energy. This energy is filling the Jan Juc home of my Brazilian friend, where Silvana chose to reside during her campaign to regain the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title. I’ve come to meet her and the sound of Portuguese banter flies around, most pleasing to my ear. As we sit, Silvana neatens her hair, arms revealing a tattooed map to her story. Maria da Penha is an ode to her mother. The 2009 Bell rings for her, mid torso. A beautiful, tribal piece with turtles and fish curls from elbow to wrist.

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I try to conduct a casual interview whilst she destroys my friend’s six-year-old son in a game of what’s supposed to be friendly backyard football. She wrestles him to the ground, both boy and ball toys at her mercy. She skillfully passes through his legs to score another goal. The tired out boy flops on the outdoor chair. He tries to hide his embarrassment, smiling through his sweaty fringe. He has met his competitive match, and been defeated by a girl.

A girl who was once a cheeky seven-year-old, growing up on northern beaches of Brazil, stealing surfboards from her brothers and showing them how it’s done. A thirst to win, born so young in the water.

These days at 30, she’s classified a veteran. The scars on her knees like lightning bolts are inherent to her electric persona and will to perfect. These marks show the toll of ligament tearing aeronautical landings.

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Whatever her age or injury, she did something very special for women’s surfing earlier this month. At the Roxy Pro she wowed the crowd with an aerial manoeuvre “rated best in the history of women’s surfing” (Gold Coast Bulletin). Earning her a perfect 10, some claimed this was the move that could change the face of women’s surfing. All this makes it is hard to believe that Silvana is without a major sponsor. Perhaps the melodious clanging of yet another bell will awaken the slumbering sponsors. What a visionary face of change they will snap up. Boa sorte Silvana. Boa Sorte!!!!!

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