Life Hacks with Yago Dora!
Yago Dora is a silky goofyfooter outta Brazil, who you’ve seen in some highly enjoyable clips and galleries of late. He’ll be a star in Volcom’s Psychic Migrations, and if he so chooses, will probably light up the world tour in the not so distant future. What follows is a breezy conversation, conducted in his native Portuguese […]
Yago Dora is a silky goofyfooter outta Brazil, who you’ve seen in some highly enjoyable clips and galleries of late. He’ll be a star in Volcom’s Psychic Migrations, and if he so chooses, will probably light up the world tour in the not so distant future. What follows is a breezy conversation, conducted in his native Portuguese and translated for convenience, about everything from love over language barriers, to dealing with preconceived notions. At times, undoubtedly, kinda profound for a 19-year-old.
Interview by Steve Allain
Stab: How do you best learn English on the road?
Yago: Just hanging out with the boys, really. A few years back I think the Brazilians on Tour didn’t hang out with other surfers much and mostly stayed in their little groups. That has changed and when you travel and hang out with people who don’t speak Portuguese you end up picking up their language… at least, you do eventually.
How do you pick up a girl without speaking English? I was embarrassed before, but you have to swallow your pride and go for it. Three words usually are enough, I mean, when that’s your entire vocabulary, you’ll make it work. Mime and look them straight in the eye, that’s the secret! (laughs) Where there’s a will, there’s a way, especially in communicating with chicks (more laughter).
Why you wouldn’t want to witness a shark attack: Well, I wouldn’t wanna see a shark close by, ever. But I think what would be worst about witnessing an attack would be the fear I’d have afterwards every time I surfed a sharky place. I’d be traumatised to surf where there are sharks. I mean, we surf in places where everyone knows there are sharks: Australia, South Africa, California. But nevertheless we surf these spots, most probably ‘cause we haven’t really seen an attack, only heard about them. I think if I saw one, jeez, that would change things for me – I wouldn’t want to lose that naïve attitude we all seem to cling on to when it comes to sharks, that idea that it’d never happen to us.
How to score video parts in the best productions? You have to keep posting clips of your surfing, as much as you can. Once people see how you surf and what you’re able to do, they’ll invite you on surf trips. At least, that’s how it worked out for me. Filmmakers have to know you’re able to put together a few good waves in a given session. Even if the waves are shit – if you’re able to make something out of nothing, video guys will be stoked.
How to know which board is a magical one: I have so many boards that it’s virtually impossible to properly test them all, that’s the truth. Sometimes you have to give them time. A board might not work at first, or it might seem that way, but after a few weeks or months you pick it up again and it just goes insane. I think it’s easier to evaluate a board on perfect, clean waves. But even then, sometimes it’ll go great in the Mentawais and not so great in bad surf. You gotta keep trying them out. Or, you can forget all that and simply do the old under-the-armpit test. If it feels right, then it’s probably a magic board (laughs). It’s chemistry, just like with a chick, when it’s right it’s just right, and you know it straightaway. Sometimes the ugly board even turns out to be the best.
Great, so when do you pick up ugly chicks? (laughs) I don’t! Nothing against them, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe I’m simply not evolved enough, but I just can’t do it, I don’t have the courage (laughs). Some guys are warriors, they’ll take off on anything, if you know what I mean. Not me though. I’d rather got to bed early and surf in the morning than spend the night with a pig (laughs).
How do you deal with the Brazzo reputation? Like, when you rock up at a surf spot and get that disapproving look because of your nationality? It’s not as bad as it has been in the past, but it still happens. And it sucks, being judged before saying a single word. I figure you’ve gotta be respectful and polite, even if someone’s being a dick to you or looking down on you ‘cause you’re Brazilian. You just have to be zen (laughs). Because if you antagonise that person, even if you’re right, they’re just gonna say you’re another Brazzo who likes to argue and fight and blah blah blah. But if you’re nice, even when the other guy’s being an asshole, eventually they’ll change their minds and be nice to you as well. Also, it’s very important to conduct yourself respectfully in the water. We Brazzos still tend to get overly excited when the waves are good and we just have to control that and realise that it’s not cool to hassle for every wave. I just try to be chilled and respectful, in and out of the water. It’s like Mason Ho says, ‘talk soft, surf loud’. I try to live by that.
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