He arrived in the Final as the most in-form surfer still in the draw. There were times on finals day when the rabbit-quick Brazilian appeared to be whipped into waves, speeding over the gutter section like he had a 50-horsepower prop engine attached between his fins.
And yet, back in Round Three, Hermes was fewer than 10 minutes away from losing when he summoned all of his collective competitive wisdom, along with a tiny prayer to the wave gods, for just one more chance to progress. He found it and put up an 8.50 on the score sheet. That one wave turned the entire course of his week.
The Brazilian's talent has never been in doubt, and he's been a perennial member of the CT-bubble club for the past three years, situated in the mid-teens on the QS rankings heading to the North Shore at the end of the year, only to see qualification slip through his fingers like the crunchy coral sands at Pipe.
In 2016, Hermes was once again well positioned to make a run at the CT, only to sustain a foot injury halfway through the season. Far from defeated, he turned his injury into something positive. "I feel like I really appreciate the injury to my foot last year because when you have to stop your life, you think about it," he said. "Something different has happened to me, it was bad, but not really. It helped me come in here with a different mindset and made me a better person."