With competition temporarily on hold, we've been getting our competitive fix through the WSL Vault, WSL Rewind, and the Instagram accounts of the world's best surfers. And just as we expected, Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira have been going absolutely mental in their hometowns.
The 2x World Champion and world's most popular surfer, Gabriel Medina, has been barrel hunting around São Paulo. He's been surfing Praia do Paúba, a fickle yet exposed beach break just east of town. When the conditions are right, Paúba can rifle some hollow pits similar to the beach breaks of southwest France. And that's exactly what's happened for Medina.
As for defending World Champ Italo Ferreira, he's been punting just about every rotation possible at home in Baia Formosa, where he learned to surf on the lid of a styrofoam cooler. Over the past couple of months, Ferreira has dropped over a dozen clips of him enjoying his favorite place in the world. Each one is worth your while.
And in the comments of his latest edit, Parker Coffin challenges him to throw a double alley oop saying, "one rotation looks too easy for you."
It's not a coincidence that the two men who qualified to represent Brazil in the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympic Games also won the World Title in 2018 and 2019. And the way they did it was through extremely consistent and dominating performances in the back-half of the year.
In 2018, Medina started his season with a 13th place finish on the Gold Coast, and he wasn't even in the World Title conversation until August, when he won in Tahiti. Then he won the first-ever Surf Ranch Pro, gathered semifinal finishes in Europe, and closed out the season with victory at Pipe.
With the exception of his win on the Gold Coast to kick off the 2019 season, Ferreira had a similar path to the World Title. His season was rocky up until Europe when Ferreira finished runner-up in France and first in Portugal. And like Medina in 2018, Ferreira sealed the deal with an emotional victory at the Billabong Pipe Masters in one of the most historic days of competition.