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Your New Favorite Brazilian Freesurfer

Album snares another ex-competitor with great hair and wunderbar tail release.

cinema // Jul 25, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Asher Pacey, Josh Kerr, Jack Freestone… now Victor Bernardo?

Album Surfboards’ highly-exclusive roster of talent has added a new name unfamiliar to most. Victor Bernardo is a 26 year old from Guarujá in Sao Paolo (131 kms west of Gabriel Medina’s hometown in Sao Sebastiao). Victor chased the Q for the past ten years to no avail, before deciding to hang up the jersey for good and move to the US where he has been based for the past year. 

Unless you’re one of the handful of passionate Quey aficionados, Victor’s surfing has probably never showed up on your radar. Dane Reynolds’ previously told Stab about how being stuck in the competitive hamster wheel can actually limit the growth of talent better suited for the world of freesurfing. Commenting on the surfing of Mikey February in his bespoke edit, a person who shares more than one parallel with Victor in terms of possessing a great afro and panache on a surfboard, he offered the following, “I’d argue that spending the first half of his 20’s on the QS postponed his global recognition. It seems like he found the right path when he hung up competitive surfing and aligned with Vans, who’ve given him exposure and context through films like Sonic Souvenirs which was my personal favorite surf video this year.” 

Perhaps this pans out similarly for Victor, who if this short clip is anything to go off, has the talent in spades to flourish yonder hooters, coaches and mind games from fellow competitors. Below is a brief Q&A regarding his new partnership with Album Surfboards. 

Stab: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Name, age, where you are from

Victor: I’m from Guarujá SP, born on Feb 8, 1997. I learned how to surf on my dad’s board when I was four and that’s how I fell in love with surfing. He worked his ass off to get my first board from Big Wave Surfboards when I was six. I did my first contest at that age. I remember it was a rainy day at Tombo Beach and the waves were big and messy. I had a horrible heat and lost but knew I could do better. 

Eventually, I started doing better in contests the following years and that’s when Hang Loose came into the picture and sponsored me. It was a dream because Fabio Gouveia, my favorite surfer of all time, also rode for them. All of a sudden I was traveling with him, filming and having fun surfing both in and outside of contests. 

Album sponsors a very select roster of surfers. How does it feel to be on the team with Asher Pacey, Josh Kerr and Jack Freestone?

It feels amazing to be part of such an exclusive team. Matt does an incredible job on his boards and I feel like these are the best ones I’ve ever ridden. I’m very keen to do trips with Asher Pacey too. I like his surfing a lot. 

Can you tell us a bit about how this relationship came about?

There was a time a few years ago when I was seeing his boards all over the internet. We would always chat about them in our group thread. A year ago my wife and I decided to move to the USA so she could be closer to her mom. The day I left Brazil I promised my friend Dario Costa that I would bring an Album back for him when I returned. 

So I was living in the desert, working a lot with my wife’s uncle at his catering company, and only surfing two or three times a month. Then out of the blue I received a DM from Album saying that they wanted to talk about having me ride for them. I had one last contest to do in Brazil to see if I would qualify again for the CS events and continue competing. It didn’t work out so I came back to Cali and sealed the deal. When I entered the store for the first time it was love at first sight, the boards looked even better in real life.

There is a bit of a recurring theme of competitive surfers getting jaded by that world and feeling the need to experiment with new equipment. Was that the story with you?

I think a lot of competitive surfers take it too seriously and that’s when it loses its appeal. When you show up to a QS contest, a lot of people won’t even say hi to you. Competition runs between when the horns blow and no further. I didn’t like the fact certain people couldn’t leave it in the water.

Do you still plan on competing or have you left that world behind?

Not anytime soon. I’m too busy surfing the best waves in the world and having a blast with my friends. I can’t wait to go on a trip with my dad and bring a few different boards for us to ride.

Why don’t we see more Brazilian freesurfers?

I think they’re all trying to be the next Gab, Filipe or Italo. That’s all the sponsors in Brazil want too. Freesurfing isn’t really currency.

Who are your biggest surfing influences?

Fabio Gouveia and pretty much every guy in Trilogy or Snapt 2. Also the classic guys, the Kelly’s and Mick’s. I’ve always aspired to mimic those guys all together. 

What do you like about Album’s boards?

I like how they work, how they look and the fact that you’re always a little unsure of how they will feel. It makes me curious, interested to try them. I was initially skeptical of asymmetric surfboards, and to be honest the first time I rode one it totally threw me off. Then you adjust and they can seriously blow your mind.

What does the future hold for Victor Bernardo?

I’ll be enjoying whatever Matt dreams up and hopefully chasing waves around the world.

Final one. Do you miss riding thrusters?

No I do not. Twins, quads and asymmetric boards are a lot more fun to ride. 

You can check out Album’s boards here.

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