In Their Expert Opinions

What is the current stance on Brazil(ians)? Ten international pros share the good, the bad and the passion

Ian Gentil
Brazilian parents. Raised in America. Surfing in Australia. International teen Ian Gentil shrinks the world into a Box, West Australia. Photo: Pat Stacy

MASON HO: Usually if you show them respect, they'll show it back. But there are a few that just come off as dicks. I had a heat with that Medina kid and that kid's a weasel. But shit, so am I sometimes. [laughs] A lot of Brazilians have come from nothing, so they take advantage of opportunities and don't mess them up with drugs or f–k themselves over. But yeah, they always seem kind of bummed or pissed, so when they go somewhere that's sick, they start having fun.

TANNER GUDAUSKAS: The biggest misconception about Brazil is that the people are angry or pissed off, but I think it's just the passion of the country. I respect their drive. They are not afraid to just get after it… I've gone to a couple parties in Brazil that were kind of life-changing. There was one that I went to during my first year on tour, way on top of this mountain in a huge warehouse with open ceilings; I've never seen so many people in one spot in my life. It was like the full spirit of Brazil. We partied til the sun came up.

NATE YEOMANS: The talent is there for a Brazilian to win a world title, but it almost seems like stereotypes weigh them down in the judging criteria. They have all the talent in the world, but it takes a lot more than surfing. You need luck on your side… I like the food, the people, the tattoos and the curves of Brazil. Curvy, muscular people. Brazilians don't lack passion; and it depends what side of that passion you're on if it's a good thing or not. If you're in a heat and you're on the opposing side of that passion, it sucks.

DION AGIUS: Brazilians are competitive and fiery as f–k. In the water they're ferocious and then on land they are the nicest dudes of all time. Every time I see footage of Gabriel Medina surfing, it just blows me away. It takes me a year of free surfing to do what he does in one heat at Lowers. I've never been to Brazil, but it seems like they have to fight hard for everything. It's a lot tougher for them than for kids in America and Australia, who are fed everything on a silver platter.

DAMIEN HOBGOOD: Brazilians are passionate people but sometimes I think it can be misinterpreted as aggression. But I like it because I think sometimes Americans need to be more passionate about what they do.

BRETT SIMPSON: I think Americans have a lot of passion, it's just expressed differently than Brazilians. Brazilians like claiming waves and showing that they care and are stoked. But I don't mind that because I find myself claiming at times, too. People can be a bit tough on them. Every Brazilian I know is kind-hearted and has a lot of passion for what they do.

NATE TYLER: Brazilians are really selfless people. They seem like this big pack of buddies on tour that all root for one another, where I feel like Americans and Australians are maybe a bit more in it for themselves.

BRIAN TOTH: Brazil is a Latin culture and all Latin cultures are passionate about their sports. Brazil has surfing and soccer and it's so cool to see how much the country supports surfing. It gives you goose bumps… Brazilians don't hold back; it's all or nothing. They take everything very seriously and are super focused.

MITCH COLEBORN: You know when the Brazilians are all talking amongst themselves, being really aggressive and shit, and you're like, "What the f–k are they talking about?" Jeremy Flores was saying that they are all just talking shit and making fun of each other. Like, one guy will catch a wave and they'll yell something like, "You look like a crab!" Or they'll be in the lunch line just talking away, sounding like they're gonna fight someone but really they're like, "Did you just see that chick? How big her ass was?" They just talk like that the whole time, just really sarcastic and lighthearted. They still have that arrogance in the water and they paddle around you. They want to win so badly that they'll do anything it takes. So even if they can't do a massive air-reverse to win, they'll get you in another way. But as long as you don't have a Brazilian in your heat, they're the friendliest people.

IAN GENTIL*: To stereotype an entire nationality seems pretty crazy to me. The pros from Brazil are really solid and consistent competitors, so even if they are super passionate or prideful, they have the ability to back it up. Guys like Gabriel Medina, Alejo Muniz and Peterson Crisanto are surfing so well it's making it hard, if not impossible, for people to hate them. I don't know what it was like a long time ago, but going there [Brazil] every year since I was a kid, it's incredible to see what the sport has done for people in the country.