On The Up
Name: João Guedes
From: Porto, Portugal
Born in Cascais, João moved to Porto with his family shortly afterwards and started surfing with his dad at four-years-old. He still lives in Portugal’s second city, close to some classic empty line-ups and far away from the big crowds. The drawback to that is being away from the best surfers in the main surfing areas; Lisbon, Cascais, Ericeira, and Peniche.
“I guess it might be better for me if I had more contact with the other pros, but truth is I don’t mind. I like living here and every chance I get, I go to Ericeira and other spots to surf different waves. Obviously I miss some classic days there, but that’s fine, it’s great to live here in Porto.”
João is well known in Portugal for his progressive surfing with plenty of air time in his curriculum, something that makes him a perfect target for photographers, but not always the perfect competitor: “Sure, I’m losing some heats, but that’s my style of surfing. I’d rather lose by not landing a big air, than going to the next round with a couple of boring snaps. I’m going for big scores every wave, that’s the way I am, all or nothing. If I just need a three to go through, I’ll still want to get a big score on every wave I go for.”
João’s not your typical twenty-year-old European pro; he doesn’t travel much, has no trainer or extensive training programme. For a guy that looks at himself mainly as a free-surfer, second at the European Pro Junior stop at Tapia and the 8th in the 2005 final ratings seems to be a good reason for João to consider a different approach to contests.
“The transition from the Pro Juniors to the EPSA and National Tour has been kind of hard, but I’m trying to find my balance. Nowadays I’m spending a lot of time in Ericeira and Lisbon, training more and always looking for improvement.”
João rides for Billabong, Von Zipper, Dr.Ding, Pukas, Kustom and DaKine