New generation of Brazilians aim at world surf glory | Page 2 | Daily News

New generation of Brazilians aim at world surf glory

Saquarema: Slightly built and aged just 10, Rickson Falcao looks no match for the waves crashing onto Brazil’s Atlantic coast, but within seconds of launching his board, the kid surfer is transformed.

Waves rise and curl and foam and in the middle of them the tiny figure of Falcao on his shortboard swoops about like a dolphin.

“He has no fear. He’ll surf anything,” says lifeguard Flavio Souza, 23, watching Falcao cross himself, then paddle through the booming water off the beach in Saquarema, east of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilians have been surfing for decades. In the last few years, though, they’ve got scarily good.

The sudden influx of talent even has its own name -- the “Brazilian storm.”

It’s a storm led by superstar Gabriel Medina who blew down the doors of the sport’s elite club dominated by US, Hawaiian and Australian athletes when he became World Surf League champion in 2014.

The next year it was the turn of another Brazilian, Adriano de Souza, and today, 12 out of the top 44 in the rankings are from Brazil, something unimaginable just a short time ago.

Medina will get another shot at the crown when he tries to dethrone Hawaiian John John Florence at the Billabong Pipe Masters starting in Hawaii this Friday -- the last event in the 2017 championship.

And if anyone in the traditional surfing bastions still hopes that the “Brazilian storm” will dissipate, they’d be advised to check the forecast coming out of Saquarema. Falcao, who lives and goes to school next to the water, and spends half of every day surfing, began when he was two. He’s now racking up age-group trophies, as are several of his beach buddies -- and is remarkably focused.



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