"If you think Yago has been going big in the last week, wait till you see what he pulled just an hour ago." That was Volcom Team Manager Daniel Cortez talking down the line from Brazil late on Thursday.
A few hours later the surf world could see the reason for Dan's excitement. In the last 60 seconds of Bruno Zanin's "Imediatismo" clip Dora pulls off a series of ridiculous backside airs at home in Florianopolis. The last in the series is a giant, full rotation that he lands so clean it almost makes a mockery of the huge amplitude he had just gained. He then adds a little butter with a pop shove-it to finish.
"I feel my performance has improved a lot on this period off tour," Dora told the WSL, "It's been great to have time to practice exactly on what you want to do, well in beachbreaks at least."
That one session, also featuring Mateus Herdy and Marcus Giorgio, was the last in a series of mind blowing performances from Dora. While some of the world's best talents, surfers like Italo Ferreira, Kolohe Andino, Julian Wilson, Gabriel Medina, Caroline Marks and Griffin Colapinto, have been dropping incredible clips, it is Yago Dora who has a case as the surfer who has generated the most online heat this month.
In some ways the 24-year-old has come full circle. Prior to his ascent to the CT, Dora first came to the world's attention through a series of groundbreaking free surfing clips. The mix of massive, inventive aerials, smooth rail work and tube style showed a rare and raw talent.
Not satisfied with becoming a just freesurfing sensation however Dora knuckled down and applied his talents to the competitive realm. A semifinal Finish as a Wildcard in Rio in 2017, where he defeated John John Florence, Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning, followed by CT qualification later that year proved his talents were transferable to elite competition. He's maintained that status since and entered 2020 as the World No. 22.
However with competition postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic it seems Yago has returned to his freesurfing roots. He's been bombing the net with a series of next level performances. With each week of lockdown it seems his airs were getting bigger, more technical and cleaner. Of course he always throws in tubes and smooth rail carves, often on the same wave.
"I've probably landed a few of my best airs ever in these last couple of days," said Dora. "I've been training hard outside of the water as well and I'm feeling confident on the landings."
The latest backside rotor was just the latest exclamation point for a surfer who is clearly on a roll. It will be fascinating to watch when competition returns whether he will bring his clear performance jump into heats.
"That's the plan for sure. I can't wait for the tour to resume so I can try everything I've been working on and see how it fits in," he said. "It's been challenging not having a tour to compete on , but when the tour resumes I plan to be more ready than ever."