DWARF GIANT AMONG SURFERS
A Dwarf Giant Among Surfers! Roberto Pino, 39, of Brazil is only four foot five inches tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. Yet he is a giant among the world’s best surfers. He is the only dwarf ever to claim a gold medal in the Masters Category in a state sponsored competition. The Masters Category is for competitors over 35 years of age. In addition, a video which went viral has helped make him an internet star.
He said winning the surfing event was something he had his heart set on for a long time.
“I was fulfilling my dream of winning first place in a state championship in the Master category and to make history in my city and in my country,” he told the Daily Star Online in a recent interview.
He’s the youngest of four siblings and the only family member who suffers from dwarfism. He first hit the water at age four.
“I’m the only competitive surfer in Brazil with dwarfism and because of that I compete against other surfers with no disabilities and some of them are state champions,” he told the Daily Star.
He has faced towering 6 foot waves off the island of Fernado de Noronho. Fernado de Noronho is on the north east coast of Brazil. Additionally, he has mastered bigger ones at a secret spot near his home town of Pemanbucon, Brazil. He also faces dangerous, high octane situations in an effort to pursue his passion to surf.
“I have also been in a few dangerous situations. Because of my condition I suffer from asthma so whenever the surf is very big, I find it hard to breathe when I get a wipeout. I also have short arms and legs so I find it harder to “duckdive” in my sets to get to the outside but I never give up,” Pino stated.
“Today the sharks are more controlled but we have to be aware at all times because we are in their natural habitat.’
The video which made him famous on the internet happened during an encounter in the water with a friend.
“The surfer who I collided with is my good childhood friend and he’s known for “dropping in” on his mates. I was working on a wave and I saw him “dropping in” on my wave and laughing at me so I had to think fast. I jumped on him to try and tackle him but I didn’t reach him so “I pulled his leash.” I didn’t know at the time that another good friend was filming the whole thing and he put in on the net. The next day the video was up on Facebook and Instagram and it went viral.”
He added. “Now I have friends all over the world who are inviting me to go and surf with them in their countries.”
Pino said he believes nothing in life is easy for him because the world still isn’t ready to accept as equals, people that suffer from dwarfism or any other kind of disability. He said he was the victim of bullying in school but these days he doesn’t take any offense personally.