FREDERICO MORAIS, 22: SLIM CHANCE
Photo: Carlos Pinto
Strengths: Carves, tubes, power.
Weaknesses: His forehand can seem laboured in weak surf.
One of those guys can seem to do better in heats than his form suggests, Triple Crown Rookie of the Year and a WCT heat win over Slater in Penchie in 2013 were decent feathers in Kikas’ cap.
Dog Marsh, Frederico’s coach/confidante reckons,
“He’s right there with his surfing, the kid’s on fire. He just needs to put a solid run together and anything can happen.”
While beating Slater at Supertubos earned the sensational headlines, it was more of a case of Kelly fucking up than Kikas wildly ripping. Still, ability to perform in front of expectant Portugeezer crowds will do him no harm in the future, while any kind of competitve success on the North Shore is invalubale for confidence to draw upon at season’s end, when it’s needed most.
LEONARDO FIORAVANTI, 16: GREAT CHANCE
STRENGTHS: Groomed for greatness since a pipsqueak. More Hawaiian experience than some 30 year olds.
Kinda like Jeremy Flores 2.0, with better style and less emotional baggage, but has he got the winning ability? Very possibly. Leo has it all laid out in front of him. Talent, know-how, wherewithall, heavy backing from sponsors. A few years ago,
Chas Smith asked him on the beach at Pipe if he was the ‘next Kelly Slater’, to which he replied, “Yeah maybe.”
This year, an amazing run of results has seem him rocket up to 29th, with 5 Primes to go.
NIC VON RUPP, 23: STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED AT SEA
Strengths: Barrels, positive attitude
Weaknesses: Small waves
Curiously enough, it’s Von Rupp’s recent explosion as a freesurfer that has facilitated a recent flourish in the lycra jersey. Having made a name for himself as a charger around the world through video clips and photos, early 2014 saw him make heats and climb up the ratings. Or could it just be that he swapped his German passport for Portuguese one? “I remember being at a comp in Brazil and losing it about a swell hitting Tahiti” admits Nic. “These days I’ve found a better balance there.” A wordly individual who’s much less crew-centric than some other Euro pros his age, if he ever did get on the WCT, he could ruffle a few feathers in the juice.(NOT PICTURED)
Vincent Duviganac, 26, very slim chance
Jonathan Gonzalez, 33, very slim chance
Romain Cloitre, 25, very very slim chance
Adrien Toyon, 24, no chance
Hodei Collazo, 29, no chance
Gony Zubizarreta, 29, no chance