Credit where credit is due, there is every chance that the 2020 Championship Tour will be utterly dominated by Brazilians.
There might be great performances forthcoming in Hawaii from a pocket of USA surfers as well as the Aussies, and a few South Africans, Japanese and French minorities, but no matter how things eventually pan out in Hawaii, the Portuguese language could be dominating most conversations on the elite Championship Tour next year.
The Brazilian Storm shows no signs of dissipating, and if anything, is growing in impetus, building in size and going from strength to strength on a global scale.
If we were to break down the Brazilian surfers into three categories – the Slam Dunks, the Very Possibles, and the In With A Shouts – there are some interesting numbers that permeate from Team Brazil at the end of season rugby scrum that is the Hawaiian leg of the QS and CT tours.
In the Slam Dunks, we have the surfers who have been contesting at the top reaches of the CT all season, and who are all in the main battalion at the top of the Jeep Leaderboard.
Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, and Filipe Toledo are all within the grasp of a world title this year, and all will be filling in their respective, well-earned slots in next season’s tour. They have been the three top surfers of the year, dominating results and media coverage, with five CT event wins between them, and will probably all be in the top five at the end of the season as well, having such high points tallies going into the last event of the year.
Caio Ibelli, despite the death threats and other negative vibes from the ether, is also a slam -dunk for the cut-off, showing that he has the tenacity to overcome unwarranted disapproval and strive to be number one regardless. His will be a popular result, having risen above what many deem poor behaviour from Medina and his ensemble, after their round 16 interference and brain fart from the goofy-footer would-be world champ in Peniche.
The other Slam Dunk entries into the Championship Tour come from the WQS. Prior to Freddy Morais winning the Hawaiian Pro moments ago, The top four-ranked surfers on the QS were all Brazilian – Jadson Andre, Yago Dora, Alex Rebiero and Miquel Pupo. They will join the four CT surfers already mentioned, to make a nucleus of eight Brazilian surfers on the 2020 Championship Tour, regardless of what happens in Hawaii. That’s a strong little knot of surfing and of nationalism.
That will also very Likely consist of a dogged bunch of CT surfers in Peterson Crisanto, who is in 22nd place and within the cutoff bubble at this stage, closely followed by Wilian, Michael Rodrigues and Yago Dora, with Yago doing the double qualification.
That means that there is a very good likelihood of 11 Brazilian surfers on the CT next year.
The In With A Shout crew consists of Jesse Mendes, a brilliant goofy-footer who is currently 28th on the CT, alongside the hardy crew of Ian Gouveia, Luel Felipe and Krystian Kymerson, with every member of this crew still needing a huge result in the final 10,000 event at Sunset. Kymerson came into his own during solid conditions in the earlier rounds of the 2018 Ballito Pro, with some scintillating power, speed and flow on his backhand, placing a credible fifth place at that contest. He has been on the radar ever since but has also been underperforming ever since. It’s surprising that the kid isn’t on the CT already, but with that much talent, it’s most likely just a matter of time before he shines.
Over on the Women’s Tour, Tatiana Weston-Webb is definitely going to requalify through the Championship Tour, and Silvana Lima is sitting just outside the cusp, at number 12. She should qualify. Apart from those two, the Brazilian numbers on this tour are negligible.
With just one event to go, it’s all eyes on Brazilians in the Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing, and it hasn't been this exciting in years.