Brazilian Yago Dora has been making a name for himself over the last few years, releasing more than his fair share of jaw-dropping video clips from across the globe. But as the 19-year-old rapidly approaches his twenties, his competitive focus might be taking priority. "I wanna be in the 10,000s for the second half of the year," stated Dora, who aged out of the Junior Tour this season.
The Dora name isn't new to professional surfing circuits. Yago's dad, Leandro Dora, is a former pro surfer himself and currently spends time coaching some of the world's top Brazilians, including 2015 World Champ Adriano de Souza among others. For Yago though, his start in surfing came relatively late for someone born into the sport. "I was 11 when I started surfing," said Dora, "I was never that interested, but when I started doing it I knew that was what I wanted for life."
Less than a decade later the Florianópolis local is fresh off a stellar winter in Hawaii and already dropping big scores in Australia. We caught up with him as he begins his journey on the Qualifying Series.
WSL: Tell us about your surfing journey. Where did it start?
Yago Dora: I was 11 when I started surfing, my dad was a professional surfer. I was never that interested, but when I started doing it I knew that was what I wanted for life. My dad started working as a surf coach with Lucas Silveira. He has the same age as me, and I looked up to him a lot since the start, he had sponsors already and was traveling the world when he was 11, and that made me want to be good in surfing.
WSL: Tell us about growing up in Florianópolis.
Dora: Florianópolis is one amazing city, I had many friends from my neighborhood since I was little, we would go surfing everyday after school. It's a 5-minute walk from my house to the ocean so I spend a lot of time on the water everyday. But it's also a little dangerous to live there, people get their houses robbed often, so you got to keep your stuff locked and keep your eyes open all the time.
WSL: Your nickname is Goat, what's the story behind that?
Dora: I was in a van in Mexico with 10 friends. I was 12 and the youngest guy inside the van. We were going trough a group of goats and there was one goat that kinda looked like me, and that's why, it's a really [terrible] story but that's it, haha.
WSL: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Dora: I'm out there.
WSL: What do you fear the most?
Dora: Heights, I just don't like them at all, don't invite me to go to a roller coaster.
WSL: What's the biggest challenge you've ever had in your life?
Dora: It was really [hard] to get a sponsor at the start of my career, my family gave everything they had to help me to make my dream come true. My first sponsor was Volcom when I was 15 and after that everything started working out for me.
WSL: What's your biggest success so far?
Dora: Having the last part in Psychic Migrations. Having the last part on a Volcom movie is a really big thing coming from Brazil. We never had any space in international surf movies, and seeing myself between guys like Ozzy Wright and Kelly Slater in a surf movie, makes me feel proud.
WSL: What's the gnarliest story you have from the Junior/QS travel grind?
Dora: I went to El Salvador as an alternate, probably 3rd alternate, the flight there was really scary. We were going down to land with a lot of turbulence and we had to go back up with the plane because there has been an earthquake right where we were landing. The plane did one more lap around with a lot of turbulence and landed safe. When I landed, my board bag didn't make it so I had to wait for one more day without my boards. At the end of it all I never got into the event and got super sick for three days. But I have to say the end of the trip was fun!
WSL: What's something that the world should know about you?
Dora: I'm addicted to chocolate!