Following his victory over John John Florence, the reigning World Champion and current number-one ranked surfer on the Jeep Leaderboard, Yago Dora showed little sign of what he'd accomplished. As a wildcard, he'd just sent the Champ packing for Fiji and cracked the 2017 World Title race back open. And yet the 19-year-old's composure under duress remained Zen-like. When asked what was next after his big Round Three win, he grinned and answered simply, "Round Four."
Considering the circumstances, it would be easy for the teenager to get ahead of himself, but Dora's only sign of nerves were two flyaway airs inside the first ten minutes of his clash with Florence. And with a legendary surfing namesake like Dora, there's certainly plenty for Yago to live up to. So far, he seems more than up to the task.
After pushing Florence to the absolute limit in Round One (losing by a mere .03 points), Dora proved that performance was no fluke with a tight win over World No. 5, Kolohe Andino in Round Two. But don't think for a minute this win over Florence was an anomaly. Dora surfed a smart heat tactically, slowly turned the screws on the Champ, then used priority like a vet to squash any chance of a last-minute comeback from the man in the yellow jersey.
He even knew how, and when, to play to the home crowd. Raising his board over his head and pumping it up into the air sitting on the jet ski as he zipped past a beach packed full of his cheering countrymen. The kid might be better known for his progressive video parts, but he's got his competitive act on lock, too. Considering the damage he's already done in Rio, the big question now is who, if anyone, can stop him?