I was on Instagram a couple months ago and came across something truly amazing. And then when I finally left the @zanderfacts page, I found @michaelrodrigues7.
Michael Rodrigues is a Brazilian QS surfer, one who is deeply respected by his Q Tour peers but relatively unknown to the non-Brazilian surfing world. After watching this guy surf, we realized that was a problem. He has full rotors on lock, a blistering frontside snap, and the typical Brazilian go-for-it attitude. Matt Biolos has even gone so far as to call him the best surfer on the QS. Michael will likely be on tour soon, and we won’t allow another Brazilian to slip through the cracks and demolish the world’s best without getting to know him first (see: Italo, 2015).
So we called him up, sat him down, and had a chat. Michael’s English isn’t the best, so his friend Nelson helped with the translations. He’ll figure out the speaking thing quick though, because qualification is on the horizon and nobody wants to be tongue-tied in front of Rosy Hodge.
America, meet Michael Rodrigues.
Surfing: How old are you and where are you from?
Michael: I’m 21 years old and from Florianopolis, Brazil.
How long have you been surfing?
I was 7 the first time I surfed.
Who taught you how to surf?
I actually learned at a surf school near my childhood home in Fortaleza.
Who does your filming? You have so many clips on Insta!
That is my best friend and roommate, Kleber Correia. We train every day together, along with coaching and everything else. He is my go-to-guy for everything.
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
I am going to Tahiti in a week or so, then off to Europe for the Pantin in Spain, then the two events in Portugal. I mostly just wanted to focus and train for those events. I need to correct some mistakes and keep moving.
When do you want to qualify for the CT?
I like to focus more on the process than the result. I believe if I train and practice my hardest, the results and the qualification will come with it. Realistically, I want to be on tour at the end of next year.
When did you get sponsored by …Lost surfboards?
Last year I got a 9th place at Lowers while riding my first ever …Lost boards, and I really loved them. Matt talked to me about whether I’d want to ride for them and I said yes. So it’s been just over a year now.
Who is your favorite surfer?
What’s your favorite wave in the world?
Where is the one place in the world that you really wanna go that you’ve never been to?
Fiji. That place looks magical.
Practicing for Fiji, somewhere in Indo. Photo: Bruno Veiga
Why are Brazilians so good in small waves?
On top of the fact that we have so many shitty beach breaks, we also never take a day off. It’s never like “Oh the waves are bad today, I’ll just hang out at home.” No, we always surf.
What is your favorite: Airs, turns, or barrels?
Airs [laughs], I love them. I love barrels too but airs are so fun. In Fortaleza, the waves are very windy so all I grew up with was airs, airs, airs. Now that I live in Florianopolis, where there are bigger and better waves, I’ve learned how to do more classic surfing with rail turns and tubes. But I still love to mix airs in with everything.
Do you like surfing big waves or do you get scared?
I love big waves. I surfed Pipe last year and had a really gnarly wipeout but I was still stoked. Big waves are very exciting for me. Still, I know I need more experience in big waves if I want to be able to compete on tour. Right now I mostly train in small waves so I can do well on the QS, but I’m going to start doing more big wave training to prepare myself for the world tour.
What is something you want people to know about you?
I want people to know that all of this is a dream for me. I grew up in very humble beginnings in northeast Brazil, and to even get this far feels amazing, but I want to keep pushing to do better. Even though it’s fun to travel the world and surf all these amazing places, I am training hard every day so I can qualify for the big leagues. I can’t wait to get on the CT and show my surfing to the world.