João Mendonça, a.k.a. Johnny, is a 14-year-old surfer who almost killed Nic Von Rupp (spoiler alert). Of course, he’s more than that, but it makes for a good story nonetheless.
Coming off a knee injury that had kept Johnny out of the water for three months, he got a call from Nic one day. Coxos, 6 am. First light. It would be Johnny’s very first session following the injury and he’d be joining the likes of Frederico Morais, Kanoa Igarashi, Italo Ferreira, all the Coxos locals, and of course, Nic. A bit intimidating for a 14-year-old grom? Not for this one.
Johnny killed it that morning — almost literally (01:55-02:05), although it wasn’t hist fault with extreme morning light blinding him coming out of the barrel. Nonetheless, that morning’s performance proved that João Mendonça is one of the most promising Portuguese groms of this generation. A local from Arrifana in the South of Portugal, he won the 2018 Parko Groms sub14 in Australia, was 3rd in the 2016 Volcom Global TCT in California, and has found the spotlight every time it’s pumping.
And for the record, Nic wasn’t hurt. He still calls Johnny…occasionally.