/ / Action
OUT THE BACK WITH: YAGO DORA
The Brazilian powerhouse has proved himself to be a real contender on the WSL CT since his rookie year in 2018. Winning the US Open this year has been a highlight for the young surfer and we caught up with him in Peniche, Portugal, where he’s making the most of surfing Supertubos with the world’s best.
The Brazilian powerhouse has proved himself to be a real contender on the WSL CT since his rookie year in 2018. Winning the US Open this year has been a highlight for the young surfer and we caught up with him in Peniche, Portugal, where he’s making the most of surfing Supertubos with the world’s best. From being part of the ‘Brazilian Storm,’ to the creation of wave pools and the legacy he’d like to leave behind, we get Out Back with Yago right here.
YOGA DORA WANTS TO BE WSL CHAMPION
How has the transition from free surfer and QS surfer to WSL Competition Tour been for you?
Ya it’s crazy… for a while there I thought I could be on tour and still do free-surf trips and that kind of stuff, but now that I’m in it I realize how difficult that is to manage because we stay away from home for months at a time and after that, you don’t want to go anywhere else and you just want to go home and recharge. You only have like a week to do that before the next event so it’s pretty tricky, but I like it now that I have figured it out. I have been learning a lot and I have a lot of fun surfing around the contest and within the contest windows.
What is it like to be a Brazilian surfer; especially with the ‘Brazilian Storm’ at present in international surfing?
It’s great! It’s never been easier and I don’t think it will ever be again. People still can’t see us as a part of international surfing, they see us as Brazilian surfers on one hand and other surfers on the other. Like separate. Of course, there are some guys they have to now accept, guys like Gabriel (Medina), Filipe (Toledo), and Italo (Ferreira) who are always fighting for a title, but then to be in the second group of Brazilian surfers is still pretty difficult and we have to struggle a lot, but it’s cool man. It’s so good to see where those three guys are going and how many Brazilian surfers are on tour right now. It’s pretty cool to be a part of it and hopefully, I can be one of those top three one day.
You’re an air specialist; how difficult is it to commit to airs in events where you could be unsuccessful and lose a heat?
I feel very confident doing airs in events. I’m definitely not shy about trying something big in a heat. I’m not afraid of falling. I just try to do what I can, surf as good as I can surf, and not hold myself back in any way. Of course, you want to build yourself up from the beginning of the heat, but if a big ramp comes up right at the beginning then I’ll try a big air no doubt.
How do you deal with pressure at this elite level?
Ya, there is obviously pressure, but I’ve been learning a lot from my losses. That’s been really good for me I think. It doesn’t help just to get mad about a loss, but take it and learn from it. That’s been an important learning curve for me. You have to understand the purpose of it. It’s only my second year, and it’s always a learning process. I feel like I have a lot of fuel to burn and a lot to learn before I can be a world champ, so I’ve been patient with myself and trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I know the most important thing is to be surfing good and improve overall. Once you build on that you’ll start to win heats and grow. Of course, there are times you feel really angry - like yesterday against Wade (Carmichael), where it wasn’t a super hard heat and the points difference was so minimal and he won with like an 11 heat total and I had 10.50 or something. Those ones really hurt to lose. But it’s a learning process and you have to deal with it.
What do you think about wave pools?
Yeah... I really like it. I think it’s really good for improvement within your surfing, but I think there is a lot to improve on with regards to the format and how they run the event. At present we have the one event and it’s really hard because you go out there without getting a warm-up wave and you only have three chances to get two 8.0s (out of a maximum score of 10) - it’s really hard. I think that we can do it, but I think this makes it easier for the guys who aren’t trying anything big. They’re just not putting in any risk and they’re just completing waves from start to finish. That also makes it boring to watch I think. If we could have some kind of format where we could surf more and have the freedom to be more creative in the pool that would make it a lot more entertaining.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I want to be a world champion one day. That’s a big goal of mine. But outside of that I just want to be the best surfer I can be. I want to leave a mark that people will remember the way I surf forever. Other than the ultimate competitive result of world champion I want people to remember my surfing as something that stands out as different and something that only I am doing… original.