Yago Dora: The 2017 Oi Rio Pro Breakout Star

Yago Dora | Photo Credit: @yagodora on Instagram

Adriano de Souza may have won the 2017 Oi Rio Men’s Pro, but it’s pretty clear that he’s sharing the spotlight with the young Yago Dora. Yago is the son of former pro surfer and now prominent surf coach, Leandro Dora. Initially, he wasn’t interested much in the sport but changed his mind when he tried it for the first time. He was 11 years old then. Now, the 20-year old surfer sits at No. 3 in the Qualifying Series, battled his way through preliminaries, and earned a spot in his first Championship Tour. Though he had been making headlines with his jaw-dropping surf clips and surf movie alongside Kelly Slater, it wasn’t until he took down some of surfing’s giants that people really paid attention.

Yago proved that he meant business when he almost beat current event and World Champion John John Florence in Round One. He lost by a really slim margin to Florence but got his shot at redemption in Round Three, that is, after defeating World No. 4 Kolohe Andino in Round Two.

He then proceeded to eliminate fellow Brazilian and former World Champion Gabriel Medina in Round Five. It came down to the wire, but Yago prevailed. In the Quarterfinals, he faced off with three-time World Champion Mick Fanning who just couldn’t find an answer to the high-flying Dora and also fell victim to the young Brazilian phenom. His streak ended when he lost to Adriano de Souza (who is also coached by his dad, Leandro Dora) in the Semis but by then everyone knew that he was a force to be reckoned with.

Yago Dora may have not won all his heats, but he kept winning those that mattered. Who else can say that they defeated three World Champions in a row? A star was born in Rio this week, and with his skills and recent performance, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him battling full time in the World Tour soon. And when he does, it’s safe to say that he’ll make his presence felt.

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