Surf Europe talks to Frederico Morais only moments after he had beaten Kelly Slater in Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro, become a nation’s hero, handed Mick Fanning a world title and earned himself a tidy bonus. Not a bad morning’s work from Fred.
How’s it feel to beat Kelly Slater in your home country?
It’s just a really, really good feeling. It’s hard to describe, but the main thing was just that it feels that all the hard work has paid off.
You work with Richard “Dog” Marsh, what was the plan you devised for the heat against Kelly?
Well it was pretty simple really. It was just to try and catch the two best waves of the heat and let my surfing do the rest. Then if I had the lead in the last ten minutes try and use the priority to control the heat and put as much pressure as I could on Kelly.
It must he hard trying to put pressure on Kelly. How nervous were you before the heat?
Look you are always going to be nervous if you are surfing against Kelly, but I tried to turn those nerves into a positive energy and just use them to help my performance.
Did you get a chance to talk to Kelly after the heat?
Not really, we just shook hands and he wished me the best and he was off.
And did you have all your friends and family down on the beach watching?
Well yeah I had my five best friends down there. Unfortunately my Dad had to work so he couldn’t come, but he watched online, so the support was great.
And what about the rest of the crowd, they must have been growing crazy?
Yes it was massive, and it was a big win for the Portugal. The Portuguese people have always supported me so much and the win was a much for them as it was for me.
Surely you will be the biggest news story on Portuguese TV tonight?
I certainly hope so, it would be great to see surfing making all the news for sure.
It looked like it was pretty tricky conditions. How much time have you spent surfing up there?
I’ve done my time up there, the last few winters I have surfed up there a bit, and today with the waves pretty ordinary, maybe the time helped.
It’s hard, I mean this is the biggest win of my career so far, but I am just trying to put that heat behind me and really focus on the Round 3. I have Jordy Smith in that one, so that’s another big heat. Today is finished, it’s all about the next heat and having a plan.
Speaking of plans, apart from this win, how has the year been generally?
It’s been a good year – I have worked really hard with Dog and feel my surfing has improved. The aim was to get in the top 100 in the Qualifying Rankings, have a seed for the prime events for next year. That’s working out and anything here is a bonus.
And what will happen if you go all the way and win the Rip Curl Pro?
Well, there will be a party down in Cascais, the biggest party ever.