Eduardo Garcia didn’t grow up along Portugal’s coast. He comes from Alto Alentejo, a place more than 200 kilometers from Lisbon. Still, Garcia spent a lot of time in the Algarve growing up and always maintained a strong connection with the ocean. When he finally started university and moved to Lisbon, he became fascinated with surfing. Naturally, he started to surf bigger and bigger waves, sparkng a passion for larger surf and eventually surfboards themselves.
“It all started when I placed my first board order with a shaper named Rabbit,” he remembers. “We ended up getting to know each other and noticing that our ideas were similar. Rabbit is one of the best shapers I know, and later he would be my partner in a movement that was bigger than just us.”
Together, Garcia and Rabbit formed a brand they intended to give more surfing than to take.
“We try to take a different approach when treating any client as if it were our best athlete. We wanted more than selling boards and looking at the factory as a mere business because the important thing for us is to be happy in our workplace and surf. The main challenges of the project were undoubtedly faced at the beginning, Rabbit and I did everything in the manufacturing and repair process. With Rabbit in the shaping room, I handled the sales and all the logistics that a factory requires.”
Living in Praia das Maçãs, there are times when Edu has difficulty finding someone to accompany him in big surf, so it’s common for him to call the athletes he sponsors to join him. If not, he’ll go alone even if just to pick off one wave. As a trained waterman himself, Garcia has completed the Advanced Water Rescue Training course B.W.R.A.G. (Big Wave Risk Assessment Group) taught by Brian Keaulana, Pat Chong Tim, Danilo Couto and Kohl Christensen in Azores Islands, and he applies the apnea teachings of guru Jojó Parisot.
“A few years ago, I lived a dream in the first Nazaré Challenge, with João de Macedo and António Silva making the final. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with big waves. Each year I dream of them more and the love continues to grow,” he says. “What we really have to do as surfers is to respect and care for its true culture.”
In a time when companies created by surfers can experience great success and growth before CEO’s with no foundation in the sport and its culture snatch it away, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a businessman like Garcia genuinely committed to the progress of the sport.