You might be excused for thinking that Frederico Morais is due a bit of a breather. Giant killing sprees, after all, are taxing. As you probably well know Morais put in one of the greatest rookie performances in recent times at the Corona Open J-Bay. On the way to the Final he defeated World Champions Mick Fanning, John John Florence (twice) and Gabriel Medina. The highlight of that incredible run was his perfect 10-point ride in a last-minute defeat of the current World Champion in their Quarterfinal. However the life of a rookie on Tour doesn't give you much time to rest on your laurels.
"I've been home for three days and have one more night in my own bed," Morais told the WSL from his home in Cascais, near Lisbon. "Then it's straight to California for the US Open and when that is done, I'll head to Tahiti. As a rookie you have to do both tours and that means it's a pretty full-on year. You are always on the move."
It seems the naturalfooter isn't about to dispense with the QS, even though the runner-up finish moved him up to World No. 12. While his earlier Quarterfinal finish at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach showed that he is dangerous, especially in powerful rights, to have gained almost 19,000 points at the halfway stage is remarkable. It's worth noting that in 2016 the last surfer to requalify through the CT did so with 22,650 points. More than the points haul though, it was the manner of Morais' performance that made a bigger statement. His controlled, powerful and explosive surfing, often done under immense pressure, signaled we may have a new major player in surfing.
"The goals for this year were to requalify for next year's CT and put up performances that showed I will be competitive at this level," Morais said. "I think the result at J-Bay has pushed me closer to both those aims."
Morais' coach Richard "Dog" Marsh, who has worked with Fred for seven years, however believes the effect of that performance may last a little longer. "It's been a real growth period for Frederico's surfing," Marsh said. "I think it clearly showed he has gone past the rookie stage into real self belief. In the future he might look back at this week and see it as a pivotal point in what should be a long career at the top."
Morais though, having dealt with the aftermath of his biggest week of his life isn't getting to far ahead of himself. He's one of the more dedicated and professional surfers and at 25 years of age has a maturity to look at the bigger picture.
"Look, I'lll always remember that week at J-Bay tor the rest of my life. I mean, how could you forget it? They were some of the best waves of my life. There was big sharks, perfect 10s and I really feel I have established a connection with the wave and the people there," he says. "But that's done. I know it's a cliche, but I have to take it heat by heat. That's why having a packed schedule helps. Your last performance means nothing, there's so much work to do. If I want to have more weeks like that, and I plan to, the best thing I can do right now is leave it behind."