"I can't wait to be on Tour with everyone," said Yago Dora, shortly after qualifying for the 2018 Championship Tour last fall. He was the second surfer to lock his spot, and he pulled that feat off just a few short months after eliminating John John Florence, Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning at May's Oi Rio Pro, where he made good on a rare wildcard opportunity. "I think it's gonna be a really fun year. I kinda already had a taste of it in Rio, and it felt amazing. There's a really cool crew of great surfers and I'm psyched to be joining them."
According to every current and former Championship Tour star we spoke to, that feeling is mutual. By all accounts, the 22-year-old Brazilian is going to be a welcome addition to the big stage. With his electric aerial act, long rail turns and love of the barrel, he packs plenty of punch for a rookie. Here's a a sneak peek at what makes Yago tick, and why you're not going to want to miss any of his heats this year.