Frederico Morais's rise to the top was a spectacular ascent that took him from No. 46 on the QS in November of 2016 to a second place in Jeffreys Bay as a rookie on tour in 2017. Of course this was no work of magic but the result of years of hard work and dedication to reach the elite level.
Now in his second year at the elite level, the task at hand for the Portuguese superstar is tough. Confirming after a first exemplary effort has proved difficult for many rookies before him and Morais set his goals high to keep his spot with the World's best.
"The good thing about your second year on tour is you already know the spots a little bit and feel more comfortable," he reflected. "It's a tough one for sure because the rookie class is super strong once again, but I've already had a decent start with a 5th at Bells. I also already have a throwaway 25th but I'm sitting in 14th so I feel good about it."
Coming home early due to the cancellation of the recent Margaret River Pro, Morais had the chance to enter the QS 3,000 Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Oakley unfolding this week in central Portugal. A perfect opportunity to keep his training agenda on point and spend a little more time in the competition jersey.
"You can lose in Round One, whether in a CT or a QS1,000," he reflected. "Everyone competing here is a very good surfer and you can never take anything for granted in this sport and think you'll have an easy heat. In these conditions, whoever finds the waves will have an advantage, no matter how well they surf them really. A win here would be very special but I don't want to get ahead of myself."
As for the rest of the season, the Cascais native is looking forward to some of his favorite waves on the Championship Tour. Unsurprisingly the right-handers seem to top his list but the 26-year-old admitted to feel good wherever the tour lands.
"The next comp is Brazil which I love," he continued. "It's like a second home, we speak the same language and people are really welcoming to us there. I also really like Bells and I'm looking forward to Bali too, I got to surf it a bunch during the World Juniors a few years ago. Snappers is really fun too. We're lucky to have long waiting periods and we can choose the best days to surf so every time we're on we're having a great time! It really is the dream tour."
The opportunity to write a page of professional surfing history - no Portuguese surfer has ever won a CT event - is there for Morais to take it, but the grounded surfer displays a healthy modesty and always carefully touches on his goals.
"I don't take anything for granted for sure but I do want to be on tour for a long time," he added. "Winning a CT event is one of my goals definitely, I know it's really ambitious but I've made a final last year so I can only dream bigger! J-Bay would be absolutely amazing, a dream come true."
What hasn't tarnished clearly is his love for the sport and the excitement of being able to perform at some of the world's prime locations with the very best athletes of our sport.
"It's such an amazing tour visiting such beautiful places of the world," he finally said. "Everyone involved in the production of the events and all the surfers are super fun to be around and that's definitely where I want to be competing for as long as I can."
Continue to follow Frederico's run in the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Oakley this week right here.