The man who discovered Ítalo Ferreira, Brazil’s surfing gold medalist

Luiz Campos "Pinga" first spotted a teenage Ítalo Ferreira back in 2007 and trained him up to win the world championship 12 years later. Now, he's Brazil's first champion in the Tokyo Olympics

Brazilian storm surfing italo ferreira
Ítalo Ferreira during his gold medal-winning performance in the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Yuri Hiroshi/Agência Enquadrar/Folhapress

Brazil’s first gold in the Tokyo Olympics was something of a banker, with 27-year-old Ítalo Ferreira beating Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the men’s surfing final in the early hours of Tuesday morning. There was some expectation that we would see an all-Brazilian final, but two-time world champion Gabriel Medina lost out in the semis and then missed his chance for a bronze medal against Australia’s Owen Wright.

However, the fact that Brazil may feel slightly aggrieved at not dominating the podium shows just how dominant the country has become in an elite surfing competition.

And this prominence is no accident,...

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