Up until Italo Ferreira lost in the Final of the speciality event in Portugal he’d had 12 months without losing a heat. Wins in the CT events in Portugal and Pipeline last year were followed by an incredible output of clips during lockdown. He then claimed victories in the Brazil and France Countdown Series, before making the Final in Ericeira. Tracks caught up with Italo just after the Portugal event to get his take on the World Title win, the lockdown period and just what his plans are to defend his Title, starting at Pipe. 
Tracks: The clips you dropped during the lockdown blew our minds. Did you feel you had jumped a few gears in that time. 
Italo: In the last six months there’s been a definite performance jump. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve tried to get better in every single session. After staying at home for so long I went to the Maldives and it was pumping, and I felt I could really open up there. 
And when you bag a clip do you send it straight to Gabriel, to show what you’ve got? 
Ha, no. He’ll see it anyway. But I’ve been putting most of the best of the sessions up online, I don’t save much. It’s like a competition with all the guys, especially from Brazil, because we can’t travel, to see what we are doing and watch so that we can all get better. 
And being at home, how different was it being a World Champion. Could you still go to the shops without getting mobbed? 
Yeah, I mean it's the place where I grew up, so it’s a small town, most people know me since I was little. But it’s been fun, I have more fans after my World Title and I have so have much respect and love for the fans and I miss that with the contests gone. I miss all the surf fans on the beach, screaming. However I’ve had more time at home with my family friends and girlfriends, so it’s been a special time. I know it has 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.
Do you still think about the World Title win, it was a fairly epic climax, maybe one of the best ever? 
Last year it was amazing with the World Title showdown at Pipe with Gabriel.  I wasn’t the favourite, but I worked hard and my dream came true. I’ll never forget it and this year we are hopefully going to start the year at Pipe and I’m ready. That's why I have been training all year and when the WSL says to get ready and it's on, I’ll be there. I can’t wait to get to Pipe and surf with the locals like Jamie O’Brien and feel that feeling again. And there’s nothing like surfing Pipe with just one other guy.
What's the plan for that event? 
I have two more surf trips coming up after Europe and then I will go to Pipe a month before the competition and figure out my boards and it is good to get some sessions in before everyone arrives. I’ll talk to Shane Dorian who coached me there last year, but I try and get advice from all the locals I can really. It’s so hard to surf Pipe when it is crowded when all the guys come for winter, so any time out there with mainly the locals will be a big help I think. I went six weeks before the event last year and that worked, so I’ll do that again. With Pipe it’s all about time in the water. 
And you have been sporting some pimp shades. What’s the story with those bad boys? 
They are a new signature model made by Oakley. They were designed in gold all ready for the Olympics. But when they were postponed, they were too good to keep in the drawer. 
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STYLISH 💛👊✨ @oakley

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And they match the Jeep Leader jersey too, right? 
Ha yeah, let’s hope I can keep wearing it so the sunnies always look good!