Watch: Lucas Silveira In "My Friends Are My Idols"
A well-documented journey to some of the world's heaviest waves.
Lucas Silveira won the World Juniors back in 2016, but the 23-year-old Brazilian doesn't see that as his professional peak.
On the contrary, Lucas has been working hard to join the elite 34 (he's finished in the QS top-100 in the past three years) and spends his "downtime" chasing the heaviest waves this world has to offer, from Nias to Jaws to Puerto Escondido.
In his film above, titled "De Volta", Lucas details the trials and triumphs of international wave pursuit and below he speaks with Stab's Brazilian correspondent, Steve Allain, about what's going on in his life.
Watch, then read. Or the opposite. It don't matter!
Boy got balls.
Stab: Your new film, “De Volta”, follows you in a series of trips you did last year. Which one was the best and why?
Lucas Silveira: The trip to Nias. It was a heavy mission getting there for the swell. The US Open was one week away and I was in Florianopolis, training and getting ready for the event. Then I saw a giant swell steaming towards Indonesia, perhaps the largest I've ever seen there, so I started looking for flights. It was 2pm and by 6pm I was already leaving for the airport! It took us more than 50 hours to get to Nias ... two days of surfing and off straight to California. I must admit that 15 foot Nias was not the best practice for Huntington Beach slop! But I have no regrets, obviously (laughs).
And the best wave?
The last wave on the big day at Nias was very special, it made the whole trip worth the effort. The waves were very difficult to get into that day and very few sets had been surfed. Even fewer completed. I remember that Mark Healey paddled super hard for it, but couldn’t catch it, and I was in the right place, just under him. I turned around and went – it was one of the best waves of my life…
What was the biggest mishap?
Last year I was lucky that there were no big dramas during my trips. It's almost always a mission to get to these distant spots - like Nias - and several things can go wrong on the way. But that's what makes all the effort worth it in the end, I think.
Since you were a grom you’ve stood out in big, hollow waves – doesn’t freesurfing appeal to you? Why compete?
I often ask myself that too, because I love freesurfing. So much so, that whenever I have a break from competition, I will hunt a swell or do a surf trip – rather than fly back home. When I’m somewhere to compete and the waves are shit or I lose early, that’s when I ask myself that question the most (laughs). But I think freesurfing and big waves are something I can devote myself to when I'm older. The QS, on the other hand ... the time is now. But there’s no question that freesurfing in waves of consequence is what really motivates me – I started surfing because of it.
Lucas ain't afraid of some lumber.
So you'd rather get a 10-foot barrel at Chopes or win a QS?
That’s a tough one (laughs)! I'll consider a QS 10.000, okay? At this point in my life, I'd rather win a QS 10000 – because that would mean being very close to qualifying and I could get that 10-foot Chopes barrel when I’m there, in the CT (laughs)! But I think my choice would usually be the barrel...
Who are your biggest idols?
I don’t like idolizing people too much, but I like that saying "my friends are my idols". My favourite surfers are Dane Reynolds, Yago Dora and Filipe Toledo. Inspiration-wise, Ricardo dos Santos.
Not too long ago, surf brands used to produce most of the surf videos out there. These days, it seems that it is up to the surfers to produce such content. What is your involvement in the production of “De Volta?”
Producing videos and pumping out content is part of my job. I always try to have a filmmaker with me, especially when there is a considerable investment on a trip. Of course it's cool to surf without worrying about getting footage or anything. But the job of a professional surfer is to compete or produce content. I traveled a lot with Bruno Zanin last year, who besides being one of the best cameramen in the world, is a great travel partner. Last year Rusty made one trip to produce a clip. When they don’t produce much content, I make my own. I dropped clips of every trip I made in previous years – and I would end up making a few clips each year. But I wanted to try something different this year and put it all together into one movie and have premieres and stuff, something more relevant. Nowadays, it's difficult for people to stop to watch a longer movie – everything it's all in one minute on Instagram... so this is for those who like to "waste" their time to watch an entire movie. I am one of those, I watch a lot of surf videos, and I’m stoked on my new movie.
Your relationship with Leandro Dora – what are the main advantages of having a coach?
It’s essential to have someone help you with competition and your career. Grilo (Leandro Dora) and Marcelo Amaral, who takes care of my physical conditioning, always travel with me. They’re more than just coaches, they’re my family and my gurus, in a way. It's nice to have someone you trust looking from the outside, giving you tips from another perspective – they can usually see things in my surfing that I need to improve, that I simply do not see, for example.
Why is it better to be single on Tour?
It has pros and cons, like everything (laughs). When you’re single, you can worry exclusively about your own deal, you can focus everything on competition and what you have to do to win. But in some places, being single makes it much easier to lose focus [laughs].
What can we expect from you in 2019?
An improved version of 2018. If I can get a few swells like the ones from last year, I'll charge just as hard, but try to eat shit a little bit less [laughs]. I want to have a real go at the QS this year – as I said before, the moment is now, I don’t want to compete forever. This year I'm willing to make some sacrifices, like missing a swell for an important event. I haven’t won a contest since the World Juniors in 2016 – I've had a few finals and semis here and there – so winning an event this year is one of the main goals.