While Italo Ferreira hasn't been able to defend the World Title he won at the 2019 Pipeline Masters, he's hardly been cooling his jets. Since the 2020 CT schedule was canceled, the Brazilian has dropped an electric selection of clips from his freesurfing sessions at home, and then abroad.
Then when the Countdown Series restarted, Ferreira picked up where he'd left off in 2019. Wins in the Onda do Bem in Brazil and the French Rendes-Vouz of Surfing were backed up by a runner-up finish in Portugal.
With the new CT season set to kick off soon, we checked in with Italo to get his take on the last six months, his return to competition and his plans for defending his World Title.
Being Back Competing "In Brazil and Europe I've been concentrating on surfing as much as I can and getting that feeling back of getting through heats. I've enjoyed the pressure of competition; how it brings out my surfing, and the joy of winning. I've missed that. In all the events, there's been loads of gnarly QS and CT competitors, so the standard has been really high. It's so good to get back into the swing of things."
The Time Off "In the last six months, there's been a definite performance jump in my surfing. I've learned a lot and I've tried to get better in every single session. I went to the Maldives recently and it was pumping so I could really notice the improvements. So that's the goal, keeping doing a lot of surf trips and a lot of surfing and get better. The goal is to be ready for competition, and I know next year will be a test and challenge, but I feel ready."
Missing The Love, Feeling The Love "The World Title changed things for sure and I have more fans for sure. I have so much respect and love for the fans, and you know I miss that with the contests gone. I miss all the surf fans on the beach, screaming and the energy that comes with that. On the positive I've had more time at home with my family, friends and girlfriend, so it's been a special time. My mum's cooking too was amazing. I know it's been so hard for everyone, but I learned a lot and trained harder and got to know the people I love even better, so it's been a good time."
Kicking Off The CT At Pipe "Last year was amazing with the World Title showdown at Pipe and this year we are hopefully going to start the year at Pipe and I'm ready. That's why I have been training so hard all year, so when the WSL says to get ready and its on, I'll be there. Last year I went for six weeks before the comp and spent all that time surfing Pipe, trying boards, talking to Jamie O, talking to Shane Dorian and all the locals. It was so special for me as I was not the favourite to win Pipe and I went there and I learned a lot and I won the contest. I'll aim to do the same this year."
Dropping Clips "I've been putting most of the best of my freesurf sessions up online and I don't tend to save a lot for later. For the Brazilians especially, it's like a competition because we can't travel or compete so it's a way to see what we are all doing and watch closely so that we can get better. Whether it's Yago or Gabriel, or whoever, I'm always watching to see what their level is so I can try and match it next surf."
The "Campaign" Clip "I watched Andy Iron's section in the movie Campaign before every heat and contest last year, so it was a massive inspiration. So I had the idea to remake that section. I'm not comparing myself to Andy, because he was the best of the best, but I wanted to show the new generation a little bit of how much Andy had inspired me. I also wanted to do it for Andy's family. I talked to Lyndie and asked the crew if the idea was any good, and they were stoked, so it just all came together. I'm really proud of that clip."
Future Plans "I have two more surf trips coming up after the Portugal Countdown Series event and then I will go to Hawaii a month before the Pipe Masters is due to start and figure out my boards. It is a good time to get some sessions in before everyone arrives. It's so hard to surf Pipe when it is crowded, so any time out there with mainly the locals will be a big help I think. The goal is to surf, have fun, and be absolutely ready as I can be for competition. It's pretty a simple plan really."