Picture a fervid day in Rio, 1945. Lian Pontes de Carvalho, a handsome carioca de gema, strides past the opulent Copacabana Palace hotel (below) onto the soft sands of Copacabana Beach. Under his arm is a set of wooden beach bats, handcrafted from smooth pieces of driftwood, and in his pocket, the inner ball from a tennis ball.
“Bom dia, Lian!” cries his friend as Lian hands him a bat. Before long, the pair jocularly rally the ball back and forth, no rules, no scores, inventing in that moment the beautiful game of frescobol.
This was Brazil’s Golden Age, also known as the Tropical Belle Époque. It was a time when film stars would lounge by the pool of the Copacabana Hotel sipping cocktails; when the city danced to the soft notes of Tom Jobim’s bossa nova, and when the young Carioca would invent a beach game so synchronous with the spirit of the city that its legacy remains strong today.
The rhythmic resonance of ball hitting bat became the heartbeat of Rio, enticing assemblies of athletic Cariocas to congregate on the city’s famous stretches of sand.
Frescobol perfectly embodies the Rio way of life: cool, active and always friendly. Unlike other bat-and-ball games, frescobol players are partners rather than opponents who, with a non-competitive spirit, work together to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible. With two or more players facing each other, the aim of this elegant game is to maintain a rally. It can be played in any open area, although if one is in Rio, it is best enjoyed on Copacabana or Ipanema beach as the sun sets behind the twin peaks of the Morro Dois Irmãos. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the game’s invention in 2015, frescobol was awarded Intangible Heritage Status alongside bossa nova and samba, reflecting its contribution to the cultural landscape of Rio.
Rio is the meeting place of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, the Sugarloaf Mountain, and the lush Amazon rainforest, a city that has developed around the curves of white sand beaches. It is the refinement of grand hotels with old-world glamour, and the raw sensuality and adrenalin of the favelas. It runs on the dynamic combination of elegance, effortless cool, and enthusiasm native to its inimitable residents: the Cariocas.
Very often the city seems composed of the harmonious pairing of opposites. Enveloped by the brilliant heat and the salty air, it makes anything seem possible. In this dreamy paradise life enfolds to the enchanting rhythm of bossa nova. Because above all else Rio is rhythm, from the beat of that bossa to the regular smack of ball hitting bat that resounds across the city’s beaches thanks to legions of frescobol players. Our brand was born in honour of this sport and the culture it represents.
As an environmentally-conscious company, each Frescobol Carioca skateboard, surfboard and frescobol bat is constructed using pieces of hand-collected driftwood and native hardwood offcuts recycled from Rio's carpentry trade. Individually crafted in Brazil by skilled artisans known as marceneiros, they are handmade in limited runs, each one unique in colour, shape, detail and weight. All are finished with a high-shine bespoke resin for durability, beauty and protection from seawater and sand. Soft neoprene in a kaleidoscope of hues gives our bats a striking, comfortable grip while custom-made rubber balls complete the set.
Season after season, we’re inspired by the easygoing Cariocas, and the city they call home. Laid-back, sexy, and indefinably cool, Rio de Janeiro combines an alluring backdrop composed of evergreen rainforest, pristine beaches, and modernist urban architecture with a distinguished vibrant culture. Frescobol Carioca is the embodiment of Rio, from our prints to our hand-crafted frescobol bats. Our signature prints draw on the mosaic sidewalks of Rio’s beaches and our ready-to-wear champions refined fabrics, effortless tailoring, and elevated basics, while seasonal collections are based on other facets of this aesthetically diverse city. They have looked to the rhythms of Bossa Nova, the dynamic landscape architecture of Roberto Burle Marx, and his bold, abstract paintings for inspiration, and future collections will extend on Rio de Janeiro’s vast perspective of cultural wonders.
The brand has dedicated stores located in London’s premier shopping districts (Marylebone, Notting Hill and Soho) and Summer Cabana pop-up stores across the globe. We are also stocked by more than 250 international luxury retailers including Harrods, Selfridges, Le Bon Marché and Barneys, and have collaborated with resorts and brands such as Aman Resorts, Eden Rock Hotel, Louis Vuitton, Hôtel Costes and Le Club 55 on exclusive collections so you can live like a Carioca, wherever you are.