Italo Ferreira is an Olympic gold medalist. He and Carissa Moore were the first surfers to ever be able to claim that particular title. It was a long and difficult road for Ferreira in particular.
He grew up in northeast Brazil, in an area stricken by poverty. According to lore, he began surfing on the lid of a cooler that his dad used to bring fish from the harbor to local restaurants. Finally, his father bought him a surfboard for pennies, and Italo started surfing in earnest. Within a few short months, it was apparent that he would be something special. Two months after his father brought him the surfboard, Italo won his first contest.
His local wave was — and still is, really — Baia Formosa. It shaped the way he surfs today. At a young age, he made the move to Sao Paulo to immerse himself in the sport. He was on the leading edge of the so-called Brazilian Storm, and in 2015 he blasted onto the Championship Tour.
Despite a few low spots in the following years, Ferreira’s single-minded determination, passion, and talent kept him on an upward trajectory. In 2019, he won a world title. Now an Olympic champion, Ferreira released the 20-minute film you see above that documents the last part of that lifelong journey that culminated with that historic feat.