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Frederico Morais Turns Giant Slayer in J-Bay

On a day not lacking for hyperbole, Frederico Morais emerged from the biggest heat win of his pro surfing career grinning like the Cheshire Cat and dropped this bomb: "That was the best heat of my life, it can't get better... one of the best days of my life!"

Frederico Morais Has Breakthrough Moment in Round Four
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Frederico Morais Has Breakthrough Moment in Round Four

Moments earlier, when he hit the competitor's area at heat's end, he sheepishly asked his coach, Dog Marsh, "Did I win?"

To which Marsh replied, "Of course you did, that was the best heat ever, John John had a 10."

Not only did John John Florence have a perfect 10-point ride, Mick Fanning had a 9.73. And Morais still won. The man from Cascais was holding a pair of pocket nines -- 9.60 and 9.47 to be exact. He'd just done the impossible -- at Impossibles -- defeating World Champions Florence and Fanning in epic, 6-foot conditions at J-Bay.

Rookie Frederico Morais on the Best Day of His Life
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The rookie from Portugal talks about his huge upset win over Mick Fanning and John John Florence in Round Four.

You can call it an upset, you wouldn't be remiss in doing so. But if you asked most of the surfers on tour, they'd probably tell you they're not too surprised by Morais' win. They know better, considering what Morais did last year on the North Shore at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach to seal his qualification campaign and make his first trip up to the big leagues.

The waves at Supers today were familiar territory for Morais, who hails from an area of Portugal chock full of rugged reefs and points. His surfing is built for these type of conditions -- big, open-faced walls that allow him to leverage his large frame and athletic, quick-twitch muscles.

Frederico Finds His Form
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Frederico Morais Top Excellent Scored Waves vs. J.Florence, M.Fanning

Still, if Team Morais hit the water for his Round Four heat against Florence and Fanning with low expectations, they'd be forgiven. He'd barely survived his Round Three tussle with fellow rookie Connor O'Leary, a victory due in large part to O'Leary's tactical mistake. But who could have predicted a win for the ages? Not many, but Morais had faith.

"You have to be perfect out there," he admitted, "finally, I feel like I'm doing my best surfing." An understatement if ever there was one.

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