Seven Year Matrimony Between Italo Ferreira And Billabong Comes To An End
Could you name a more unexpectedly fruitful sponsorship deal?
Should you have veered through the catacombs of Instagram today, you would have stumbled across a dramatic chronicle of Italo Ferreira’s time riding for Billabong, shared alongside a brief literary tribute to the brand.
“Closing one chapter of my professional life. I’d like to thank Billabong for being part of my story! It’s been years of a partnership that began in 2016 and has contributed to my career. But as everything in life has a beginning, a middle and an end. This cycle ends for others to begin. Thanks to all the team who were part of this project.”
Though we knew that Italo’s current contract was due to conclude, the whispers we’d been hearing suggested he would be re-signing.
When Billabong first signed Italo in 2016, he was fresh off his 2015 Rookie of the Year CT season. Though it was apparent that the then 22-year old Brazilian had immense potential, it’s also true that a stellar rookie year doesn’t always translate to long term CT success.
Just ask Morgan Cibilic and Sammy Pupo.
It is thus unlikely that Bong could have foreseen the bleach blonde, gold-medal wearing, sometimes dreadlocked World Champion that would become of the energetic boy from Baia Formosa.
After two quiet years in ’16 and ’17, plagued by an ankle injury and the fearful Round Five, Italo notched event wins at Bells, Keramas, and Supertubos in 2018. Paired with his particularly spirited persona, these victories skyrocketed him to the forefront of World Title talks and Instagram feeds, fueling the momentum that would lead to the fabled 2019 final at Pipeline with Gabriel Medina.
In winning that incredibly momentous showdown — and earning possibly the last World Title we’ll ever see at Pipe — Italo became the third Brazilian World Champ in four years, and in turn anointed himself as a fucking superstar.
The dreadlocks seemed merely a natural progression.
Despite the raw emotions displayed by Italo upon winning his maiden title — including a heartfelt tribute to his recently passed Grandmother — he told us during the filming of Stab In The Dark that the 2019 World Title was in fact not his most prized accomplishment.
“The most important title of my life was the Olympics. Of course my World Title, being my first one, was super important too. But many people have won the World Title over the years. In the Olympics, I had the chance to be the first one. In the future there will be other gold medalists in surfing, but I was the first one. It’s as if God told me: “Here’s your bonus. Your story will be written right here”.
Alongside Italo, Billabong took their own victory at Tokyo 2022, managing to be the only brand who cleverly snuck their logo onto an Olympic surfboard.
“We worked within the Olympic parameters on the boardshorts and wetsuits, which was pretty straightforward,” Billabong’s VP of Men’s Global Marketing, Evan Slater, told us. “When Italo won the World Title in 2019, we worked with Timmy Patterson on a commemorative model to celebrate his World Title. The intent was to make it fall within the guidelines outlined by the IOC. So essentially, that’s what we did. The Stoked-Ed model hit the market in January of 2020, and was available online through Timmy, in his shop, and in some of the Boardriders shops. It was also available in Brazil. We did all the paperwork and submitted everything in 2020 and got it all approved.”
Finally, with the help of Billabong and a team of talented Brazilians, we were able to feature Italo as our first screw-footed Stab In The Dark test pilot — where he caught 63 waves in an hour, landed 66% of his airs, and crowned Channel Islands as the victor.
“You don’t take any of it with you when you die, what remains is your legacy, your story,” he once told us. “It’s how much you inspired other people. And that’s the whole purpose of life.”
Why Is The WSL (Really) Not Going To J-Bay In 2024?
An analysis of politics, exchange rates and sponsorship dollars at South Africa's premier point.
Two Percent’s “Smooch” Starts With Kanye, Ends With Crosby, Lives Up To The Hype
A visual representation of California's world-class surf renaissance.
“It’s A Huge Cash Prize And We Never Make Money Anymore — We’re All Only Thinking About Winning”
Nine young talents respond and reflect on their 2023 Vans Pipe Masters invites.
The Floater: Relevant Roof Ride Or Unflushable Turd?
Careful what you wish for, floater haters. Because in a surf world without them, Kelly…
Full Frame: Portuguese Serendipity
Torrey Meister by Joao Bracourt, somewhere in southern Portugal.
Red Bull No Contest Drops Anchor In Tahiti, Gets Treated To Region’s Deadly/Non-Deadly Waves + Address Tower Controversy
Featuring the first man to surf Teahupo’o, the Spartan, and two (likely) future Olympic medallists.
Russell Bierke’s SEOTY ‘Snapped’ Noa Deane + Conjured Demonic Screams At The Opening Prem In Milton
‘Not many people treat big, solid waves like a fucking play pen,” explains Noz.
The 10th SEOTY Entry Features The Odd 13-Second Cathedral
Watch ISA World Junior Champ Grayson Hinrichs in 'Surfish'.
Jai Glindeman Samples Parko’s ‘Golden Child’ Board, Unlocks New Facets Of Already-Stellar Surfing
Come bask in the ascension.
Shaun Manners Paddled 47.25 km In 2.5 Days On A Pie And Beer Diet, And All He Got Was This Stupid Stab Series
Sweat matters. Manners sweats.
QS-ANON: The Argument Against A Regionalized Tour
Competitors have fewer opportunities and longer gaps between them.
Did You Know Dillon Perillo Is One Of Dane Reynolds’ Favorite Surfers?
Here's what happened to the guy who went toe-to-toe with JJF in Dear Suburbia.
Red Bull No Contest Gets Popped By Morocco’s Endless Pleasure Points, The Biggest Mosque In Africa
“Came for six days, stayed for two months.”
A Keg-Packing Aussie Barista Who Once Visited The Emerald Isles And Never Left
SEOTY: Noah Lane in 'Blow in'.