Watch: Miguel Pupo's Surfing Now Has A More Radical Undertone - Stab Mag

Watch: Miguel Pupo’s Surfing Now Has A More Radical Undertone

But at what cost?

Words by stab

Some nine years ago, Miguel Pupo entered the World Tour with something few Brazilians had before: a classic (some would say Western) surfing style. 

With his back knee knocked and spine erect, Miguel flowed through waves in a manner that even the most bigoted bystander couldn’t deny. While he rarely finished toward the front of the pack, Miguel’s heats were generally a pleasure to watch. He never looked like he was forcing it just to get a score.

A wave that will forever be seared into our minds is his Pipe bomb from 2013. Gerry-esque.

But times have changed since 2011. The days of Slater/Fanning/Parko-supremacy are long gone, as are the judges now favor aggression and commitment over style and flow. Perhaps as a result, Miguel slipped off tour in 2017, only to be given a slot as replacement wildcard in 2018. When he didn’t do well enough to requalify that year, he was off the tour entirely in 2019. 

In this time, Miguel recognized the silent but deadly changes in the judging criteria. Rather than sulk or complain, he adapted his surfing to suit it. While the seamless technique he honed as a kid still underlies his every movement, Miguel now swings more wildly at sections and sacrifices certain aesthetic modules for power and speed. All of which is on display in Miguel’s new clip from the Maldives, as filmed and edited by Bruno Zanin. 

We also caught up with Miguel to discuss his trip. 

Stab: When did you go to the Maldives and who with?
Alex Ribeito: We went for ten days in early September and spent seven days at the island. It was me, Deivid Silva, and Alex Ribeiro on the trip, plus a manager and a couple filmers. 

Why are all the Brazilians going to the Maldives?
Because it was the only place that’s open for us [laughs]! Plus it’s pretty easy to go, you only have to do a PCR test to get in. And of course we’d all been locked in for the winter and wanted to go somewhere nice and tropical to surf. 

What’s the funniest or most interesting thing that happened on the trip?
The funniest moment was trying to play tennis with Deivid, who has no idea how to hold a racket. He was just sending every ball to the sky. Another interesting thing is that everyone broke all their boards. Deivid and I went with 6-7 boards apiece and each went home with one. The waves in the Maldives are more powerful than people think, and we were kinda sending it because we wanted to get good clips.  

What’s with the bright shirts? Is it just so the filmer won’t miss your waves?
My main sponsor makes a lot of those bright shirts, so I had a lot of them. Plus the sun is really strong in the Maldives, and even though I’m already tan I didn’t want to get sunburnt. I was also catching a bunch of waves and Bruno was missing a few so I had to bring the bright shirts out to let him know I’m going [laughs].

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