Yago Dora: Coming to America

Historically if you threw a rock in San Clemente, CA, you’d either hit a blonde surfer kid or a Marine. But lately, if you’re hucking stones, you’re more likely than ever to hit a professional surfer from a faraway land. Adriano De Souza moved to the area years ago. Jordy Smith is renovating a house in the Gudauskas brothers’ neighborhood. Filipe Toledo brought his family/entourage into the Orange Curtain last year. And this summer, San Clemente welcomed its newest ex-pat pro, Yago Dora (along with his sister, parents and family friend), who moved to the same street as Kolohe Andino. Blonde surfer kids and emerging Brazilian talent unite (and look out for flying rocks)!

I discussed coming to America with with Yago, and whether following in the footsteps of two of Brazil’s most successful sons was a contributing factor. “For sure they made me want to move here even more,” he says. “But it’s a decision I made with my family. Everyone wanted to do it.”

Everyone wanted to do it because America is still the land of opportunity — and as a professional surfer, America is Orange County. So Yago, I said, gimme the top three reasons you moved here, if not to follow in the path of ADS and Filipe?

1. “It’s good to be close to my main sponsor, Volcom, and also Vans.” Both just 30 minutes from San Clemente!
2. “The media is a lot bigger here.” Like Vans and Volcom, SURFING is just a half hour away, too! (Albeit the other direction.) And, if Yago is ever looking for bible study, Surfer is just up the street.
3. “It’s easier to travel around.” John Wayne Airport is — you guessed it — 30 minutes away, and LAX is an hour or so. Little easier than flying from Florianopolis to Sao Paulo to X to Y.

And while it didn’t make the top three, you can’t ignore the huge bonus of one of the most progressive surfers in the world moving to the same neighborhood as the most progressive wave on earth.

“I am really looking forward to surfing Trestles,” he admits. “It’s a great wave to try new moves and test my boards, and I love how it gives you enough time to think about what kind of maneuver you want to do. It helps to improve your surfing. But there’s also a lot of fun waves around this area.”

Industry, convenience, waves — all items noted on the left side “pros vs. cons” list. But a move like this isn’t all ramps and decadent business lunches at 9 Style Sushi (his favorite San Clemente eatery). “It was hard to find a house, but luckily Volcom helped us out to make that happen. Then we had to buy everything to go inside the house and now we are doing the visa process, which is difficult. We still have a lot to do.”

“And I miss my hometown a lot,” he continues. “Florianopolis is a really nice place, my best friends live there, the waves are fun and there are so many beautiful girls.” [laughs]

Girls, did you hear that? The kid needs some friends. If you see him around town, do not throw rocks. Introduce yourself and help make his new house a home. —Taylor Paul