10 POINT GUIDE: The Best of Brazil

4 Sep 2012 0 Share

Surfing World Magazine Editor, Vaughan Blakey, Rates His Favourite Ever Brazilians To Surf the Dream Tour.

10. GABRIEL MEDINA

A few years back Gabriel Medina threw down multiple twisted rotating airs to score a perfect 20 out of 20 in the final of Euro King of the Groms. As he was being chaired up the beach the guys about to surf heats in the Quiksilver Pro WCT stood and applauded while secretly thanking the heavens this freakish whippet wasn't in the main event. Fast forward three years and Gabby has  two major event wins and currently sits at 13th in the world – and he ain't even 20. With one of the best air games on tour and plenty of nous for the funnel the only thing that sits between him and a probable world title is a mongrel love for the heavy shit and John Florence.


9. GUILHERME HERDY

Long after Terry Fitzgerald but before Kai Otton, the best blond fro in pro surfing belonged to a big bulky Brazilian goofy affectionately known as The Herdy Gerdy Man. Guilherme drew on his size and power to excel in waves where Brazilians had previously failed to make any meaningful competitive impact (such as G-Land, Bells, Pipeline and Teahupoo). He won the Newcastle Surfest and a few other WQS titles during his career but if he is to be remembered for anything it’s those golden leonine curls.

Scene from the past: Victor Ribas competing at Mundaka. Say what now?

Scene from the past: Victor Ribas competing at Mundaka. Say what now?


8. VICTOR RIBAS

How we view the modern Brazilian surfer is largely thanks to Victor Ribas. Though only small in stature Victor was a fearsome and intelligent competitor who finished 6th in the world in 1995 before a late career revival put him in the hunt for the 99 World Title, where he eventually finished third (a best ever result for Brazil) to Occy and Taj Burrow. Victor surfed with incredible speed and flow though lacked the power of the old school guys on tour and the X-factor of the arriving Momentum generation. However he proved to his countrymen that World Championships were not that sole right of the Aussies and Americans and were well within reach if you surfed your heart out for them - an attitude that remains to this day. He also proved that surfing heats in little black beach shorts never has been and never will be a good idea.

7. RAONI MONTEREO

It could be argued that Raoni was the first Brazilian to bring post Momentum modern style to the tour. He could do full rotation air-reverses. He could throw tail. He could ride the tube. And it looked… heck it looked good! He’s had a few runs at the tour with mixed results however his greatest claim to fame may be a recent heat in which he didn’t do a single turn. You may recall it happened in Fiji, where he threaded an 18 foot drainer only to get crushed on exit, turning what had been his knee into a bone-like paste.


6. JADSON ANDRE

When Kelly Slater lost to Jadson Andre in the final of the Billabong Pro in Brazil, the 11 time World Champ apparently responded to the rookie’s victory with the immortal line “Let’s see how he goes at Chopes.” Jadson, a lean, high flying goofy with doe eyes and the smile of a labrador responded by saying something along the lines of: “I don’t care what he says, he’s still my favourite surfer.” Well loved amongst all the surfers in the top 32 Jadson failed to make inroads after his only major win and was rumored to have quit pro surfing altogether following endless barrages of post heat abuse from online commentators.

Jadson, post beating Kelly for his first win, in his first year on tour.

Jadson, post beating Kelly for his first win, in his first year on tour.

5. PETERSON "THE ANIMAL" ROSA

You may remember Peterson Rosa’s stance as being somewhat Harbour Bridge-like, or that of a baby sitting on a basketball. And when you watched him surf you may have found yourself suddenly thinking about a rainbow or the Arc De Triumphe, or riding a really big horse. Well that stance provided Peterson with lethal speed and projection and one of the whippiest bottom top turn combos in the game. Peterson was Brazil’s best performer during the early years of Slater’s dominance with consistent top 10 finishes and a WCT victory in Brazil. However it was his fearlessness that saw him inherit the famous surfing nickname of “the Animal”. At Pipeline and huge Cloudbreak he threw himself into monstrous caves debunking a common thought at the time that Brazilians only surfed well in dribble. And at a contest in Brazil his fellow competitors stood in awe as he took on and layed out six massive security guards in a Ju Jitsu brawl after they failed to recognise him and refused his entry to the VIP area.


4 & 3 FABIO GOUVEIA & FLAVIO PADARATZ

The Curren and Occy of Brazilian surfing. Fabio brought the power and poise while Flavio added showmanship and flair. These two guys were the trailblazers for Brazilian surfing and remain highly regarded legends in world surfing today. Both joined the tour when the likes of Carroll, Curren, Occy and Hardman dominated and were still there competing when Andy Irons and Taj Burrow rolled into the show. Ask any Brazilian about the legacy of Fab and Flav and you’ll likely end up singing songs of celebration and dancing in the street.

Adriano found near 10s in almost every heat at Teahupoo this year.

Adriano found near 10s in almost every heat at Teahupoo this year.

2. ADRIANO DE SOUZA

Adrinao De Souza has been around man. Back when he was 15 he took out the ASP World Junior Championship at Narrabeen defeating the highly fancied Shaun Cansdell in a final more lopsided than a new romantic haircut. He has since gone on to win three WCT victories earn over a million dollars in prize money and finish as high as fifth on the ASP final ratings twice. Adriano has drawn criticism in some quarters for being arrogant, a hassler, a relentless claimer and a bit on the nose style wise in between turns… but he adapts, he fights and he works within the framework of the rules so what’s the big deal? His window for a World Title may be closing but as far as being a champion of Brazil is concerned Mineirinho is up with the giants.

1. NECO PADARATZ

Neco Padaratz was one of the tour’s liveliest and most controversial characters. Intense and passionate he racked up two WQS season championships, as well as three major event wins on the ASP World Tour. However his career was riddled by injuries and he served a one year suspension from the ASP after returning a positive drug test for the steroids he was using to medicate the disks in his back that slipped like a scratched record. Though he persevered and continued to re-qualify long after the doctors and spectators had written off his chances, Neco’s greatest triumph came late in his career at Teahupoo. Having nearly drowned at the break after a heavy wipeout wedged him into an underwater cave, Neco refused to surf the contest there for five years. When he did eventually return he got a perfect 10 in his first heat in solid thundering barrels. He once told me of his contest stategy. “Most of the time I am like a lion in a cage. When the people see me, I am harmless. But when I am in the heat, I am out of the cage. I will eat anyone.” Surfing needs more characters like Neco Padaratz.

Tags: 10 point guide , brazil , gabriel medina , guilherme herdy , victor ribas , raoni montereo , jadson andre , peterson rosa , fabio gouveia , flavio padaratz , adriano de souza , neco padaratz (create Alert from these tags)

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