The 2011 Nike Lowers Pro will forever be remembered as the moment when Brazilians abruptly changed the landscape of pro surfing. While Brazil has been firing warning shots at the U.S. and Australia for years, never before had their invading force so firmly dominated an event at Lower Trestles. Last year they claimed 6 of the top 8 spots, as well as 3 of the top 4; so it was only fitting that Miguel Pupo, one of their own, walked off with the precious golden spike.
One year later, the impact of 2011 is just starting to be realized. Pupo’s victory propelled him into the Top 32 just in time for the mid-season cutoff, launching him onto the ASP’s World Championship Tour. In that lofty bracket he’s joined a powerful group of Brazilian surfers that include Adriano De Souza, Alejo Muniz, Jadson Andre, Heitor Alves, Raoni Monteiro and Gabriel Medina.
The Brazilians already outnumber the Americans at the elite level.
And at Lowers last year they delivered a scary message: they’re just getting started. Not only is the Brazilian talent pool overflowing (There are two dozen Brazilians the ASP’s top 100). But their up-and-coming stars are as acrobatic, charismatic, and talented as they come. Bottom line, if you’re not already respecting them, you will be.
Above Right: Miguel Pupo used his victory at the 2011 Nike Lowers Pro to propel him into the world’s elite Top 32. Photo: Hillman