The MEO Portugal Cup of Surfing is set to bring back elite competition to Peniche from September 28 to October 2. With Europe's best surfers prepping to strap on the singlet it's hard not to look back on some of the recent great surfing performances that have gone down in Portugal.
And when casting our eye in the rear vision mirror it is one surfer who dominates the timeline; current World Champion Italo Ferreira. The Brazilian has struck up a special relationship with the waves and people of Portugal and it has been integral to his success.
It was arguably here where he announced himself to the surfing world. Back in 2014 he was seemingly just another one of the dozens of talented young Brazilians plying their trade on the QS. However at the Cascais Billabong Pro, held in solid waves at Guincho, Ferreira put on a memorable exhibition.
His aerial attack and his no-holds-barred approach to eight-foot closeouts made a huge impact. That he made the Quarterfinals despite having eight stitches in his foot after his Round 4 heat only made his surfing more incredible.
That result was backed up by further strong results in Europe and suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, he was on the CT. Fast forward 12 months, this time in Peniche, Ferreira made his first CT Final. That year it took a phenomenal performance by Felipe Toledo to topple him. Italo's huge backside rotation in the Final however proved to the surfing world that this rookie would make and win, many more CT Finals in the future.
It also cemented Italo's love affair with Portugal. Brazilians have always felt at home in the land of their mother tongue, and Italo was no different. When you add the passionate surf fans, the powerful waves and relaxed lifestyle it was a landscape that had all the elements to make Italo thrive.
In 2018 he won his third CT of the year in Peniche. His defeat of Gabriel Medina in an airshow-like Semifinal was the highlight as Ferreira pushed his great friend and rival to a showdown in Hawaii.
"It's the best feeling ever. In my first year here I made the Final here and now I've won it," Ferreira said after that win. "Thank you Portugal. This place and this is crowd is amazing. I'm living my dream right now."
The following year Ferreira defended his Portugal crown with an even more emphatic win. He comboed Jordy Smith in the Final with a 10-point ride and never looked like losing. Many fans will remember it was Italo's win at the next event, The Pipeline Masters, which secured his World Title, but it was yet again in Portugal where he set that Title up.
With the MEO Portugal Cup of Surfing set to run soon, it's hard not to think just what Italo would bring to the speciality event. If past performances are anything to go by, it would be something special.