While surfers appear more available than ever, thanks to social media and instantaneous Internet news, exposure is not synonymous with understanding. As much as fans wish to know and learn from their favorite surf stars, media availability obscures more than it reveals. As a result, disinterring a surfer’s true character is best approached not through their manicured brand management renderings, but by consulting spirit animals.

Italo Ferreira

Italo Ferreira’s recent Pai Ta On edit showcased his calf tattoo of a two-horned rhinoceros as well as some backside ripping. The rhinoceros is a mega fauna with a top five backside of its own. Based on Ferreira’s cheery, cool disposition, the ferocity displayed when Ferreira swings to competition mode could come as a surprise. On the one hand, Ferreira’s hype and positivity saw him texting Albee Layer on stomping his first 540 during a freesurf like a teenage boy calling his brother in to show off his first armpit hair (Layer is the sheriff of double alley-oop-ville). Trying new maneuvers in small, windy conditions is classic rhinoceros; cruising around eating plants and loving it. On the other hand, when threatened, individual rhinoceros are also capable of fending off attacks from lions and other apex predators. Anyone watching the 2019 Pipe Masters witnessed Ferriera in rhino rage mode, and when an animal of that size gets moving, it carries big momentum.

Nic Von Rupp

Nic Von Rupp, shiny, swift, and strong, lulls monsters into easy comfort before sucking the life-force out of them. From big, bumpy Ireland to succubus slabs, Von Rupp conquers cross-continental caverns just like Epomis beetles. Epomis beetles resemble any other beetle a frog or toad might enjoy eating. But, the Epomis thrives on breaking expectations. When a toad, many times larger than the beetle, approaches and opens its gaping pit of a mouth to gobble the beetle down, the beetle outmaneuvers the toad, latches on and begins to suck the toad’s insides out. Though the toad may jump, flop, kick, and wriggle, at the end of the day, the beetle will contentedly totter away from the sucked-dry corpse of the victim-turned prey. Winter is coming and Von Rupp looks hungry for some northern-hemisphere caverns.


Testing out reels 🤪 @lieberfilms Aaron Lieber

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Carissa Moore

Carissa Moore’s outspoken leadership within women’s surfing demonstrates the will of an empowered female. Calling out an industry that prioritizes females with photogenic bikini butts over pure ripping challenges the industry to think about priorities and equality. Capable of outstanding agility and strength, as well as throwing buckets of spray off of her powerful hacks, Moore and her animal counterpart, the orca, are a dream melding of playful and powerful. Female orca lead family units and hunting groups, with elders leading youth to bountiful hunting grounds, whether the prey is salmon or whale. Orcas are intelligent, communicative, and emotional. Even as Moore leans into retirement, and regardless of whether she stays retired, she will continue to steer surfing towards a more economically abundant and equitable future.

Seth Moniz

A relative newcomer on the Championship Tour, Seth Moniz is a member of the Tour’s Hawaiian contingent. Moniz’s arrival on tour kicked off with a quarterfinal finish that saw him balancing stylish, flared-out tail releases and a polished air game on the Gold Coast. Raptors feel the wind, manipulate wings, and inflect the perfect speed while simultaneously reading the movements of prey, thereby drawing an ideal arc for capturing dinner. Moniz feels the flow of a wave and leans on his fins to manipulate drive while reading the narrative of a heat to determine what maneuver will land a kill shot. The ‘io, or Hawaiian hawk, is endemic to Hawaii and stands as the only remaining species of hawk in the islands. Fierce, territorial, and capable of securing prey of all sizes and modes of locomotion, rather than spirit animal, the ‘io could be more accurately rendered as Moniz’s aumakua. As the ‘io claws its way back from Nearly Threatened status, Moniz will fight to become a fixture in the top ten when the Championship Tour resumes.