When Rodrigo Miranda was nine years old, growing up on Vitória Island, Brazil, his dad gave him one of the sickest gifts a 9-year-old kid growing up in the ‘80s could ever want; a waterproof watch to wear while surfing. For the next two weeks Rodrigo proudly wore his fresh Casio 24/7, until one day while walking home from school with his backpack, books and all, Rodrigo heard the ominous “chi chi” of a gun being cocked behind him. As he turned around, a mugger pressed the barrel of a .38 to Rodrigo’s forehead. Rodrigo suspected what he might want.
“I’m thinking in my mind, f*ck he’s going to want my watch,” Rodrigo says. Sure enough the mugger demanded the watch but not without a plea from the 9-year-old. “Come on dude, my dad just gave this to me and you’re going to take it away!” The mugger began to pull back the trigger when finally Rodrigo handed over the watch and learned the hard way to “live to fight another day.” With the gun held to his back now, Rodrigo was told to walk through the crowded streets of his neighborhood and to not turn around or else he would be shot. Running home hysterically through the crowded streets, Rodrigo’s main worry was how he would tell his father. When it came down to it, he told him the straight truth “…I got a gun put to my head, he took my watch.” Without another word, Rodrigo’s dad stormed out carrying his own artillery to look for the perpatrator. “My dad was stopping anyone wearing a watch, grabbing their wrist and ask me ‘is this it?’” Rodrigo said. They never did find the mugger.
That’s not the only danger Rodrigo has been in throughout his life though. Many years down the road he found himself in every surfer’s worst nightmare. While surfing at “little Fiji” in Costa Rica with a group of friends, Rodrigo paddled right into a group of six tiger sharks circling in the water. Paddling cautiously in the direction of the beach to try to avoid the sharks, the one thing he didn’t want to see happen, happened. They noticed him and submerged to where he couldn’t see them.
“S***, these sharks are going to come from under and tear me apart!” he thought. In order to distract himself from the sharks he focussed on repeating “paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle,” in his head. When he reached the beach, you would have thought he had just had a religious epiphany. He tossed his board in the air, dropped to his knees and started kissing the sand yelling “OH MY GOD, Thank You!” As it goes for most surfers, a shark sighting didn’t keep him out of the ocean, it just kept him in that particular spot for a little while. “After all, it’s the crocodiles you have to worry about in Costa more than the sharks,” Rodrigo says, only half-kidding.
Today, you’ll find Rodrigo Miranda living in both Port Orange, FLA or in Costa Rica with a fridge full of baby food for his children and a reminder from his wife to be safe. For the past 20 years he has also helped run a restaurant he and his dad opened in his home town which provides affordable food for those struggling financially. “Coming from that same place where it’s always a struggle, I really like to give back to where I came from,” Rodrigo says. “Nothing’s ever been easy, but I have a beautiful wife who I fell in love with the first time I saw her, I have beautiful little ones, a beautiful family and a beautiful life now.” As long as Rodrigo is catching bombs he can deal with anything that comes his way; whether it’s guns, sharks, or baby food.