Italo Ferreira is now Leading Brazil's Best

Italo Ferreira is well on his way to besting his Rookie of the Year season. While world champions Gabriel Medina and Adriano de Souza enjoy most of the Brazilian Storm accolades, Italo is already proving to be a thundering powerhouse all his own. And as the tour heads to Brazil he's sure to be garnering a ton of fan support as the highest-ranking Brazilian on Tour.

Cool, Calm and Collected
In his sophomore year on Tour, the Brazilian broke out a brilliant performance to wrestle the lead and win his Round 3 heat.

Last year at this time Italo was still a bit of a mystery. His Australian campaign only netted him one 9th place finish. His breakout came in Rio, where he launched his way into the semifinals. He'd back that up with four quarterfinal finishes and his unforgettable Final performance in Portugal.

This year, his blistering pace continues. While he was bounced out of the Quik Pro in Round Three rookie Conner Coffin he rebounded strong at Bells and Margaret River. In both events he was defeated by the eventual event winner--Matt Wilkinson at Bells and Sebastian Zietz at Margaret River.

Italo Ferreira on the way to winning his Round 4 heat. Italo Ferreira's confidence is only growing. - WSL / Ed Sloane

The fiery goofyfooter is somebody who can never be counted out. In fact, in three of his six heats at Bells, Ferreira came from behind to win on the strength of his final wave, and two of those three were buzzer beaters. What's his secret to remaining calm and collected under pressure?

"I just try to have fun on the wave," he said. "If I have fun then I don't worry about the score."

Margies Magic
The young gun scored a 9.13 to cap off a heat win over Kolohe Andino.

Italo's inspirational surfing and warm persona are making him a welcome addition to the tour ranks. He's ramping up his English skills with his American counterparts and absorbing the lessons of long seasons.

"My last year was really good, I had great results, but now my goal is to improve them," he said. "It's a new year and still there's a lot to come."

Italo Ferreira's buzzer-beater air. If Italo could pull off airs like this at Margaret River, imagine what's in store for the home crowd in Rio. - WSL / Ed Sloane

In this year of surprises perhaps we shouldn't be surprised if Italo makes a world title run. After all, he joined the contender conversation last year as a rookie. If he keeps up his blistering pace he will undoubtedly be Brazil's best shot at a third consecutive Trophy.