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The Brazilian Storm

Surfer rides waves with a cut
Fernando is one of the fastest and finest surfers currently in Malta. Check in on him here

As many of life’s beautiful tales often go, Fernando Theo’s surfing story started off as a joke! “We were 11 pre-teen boys who took turns with an old board, nicknamed Bateau Mouche”…

… “Surfing was love at first wave, passion and practically addictive.”

That was back in Brazil, on a stretch of beach called Boca do Rio in Salvador-Bahia. 

The Bateau Mouche was a vessel that sank off Copacabana beach, but unlike that shipwreck, Nando’s surf journey continued to stay afloat.

He now finds himself strutting his stuff in Malta, wowing the locals and old-timers with excellent cuts, and some of the smoothest sets these shorelines witness.

Nando stole the show at the Cold Water Invitational storming to first place after a series of waves which dropped the jaws of each judge. It was a unanimous victory, one which we were fortunate to be a part of. It’s no coincidence that Marley’s is his favourite local spot “even though it’s not that frequent, it’s a high-performance wave when it’s breaking in the bay”.

Surfer celebrates victory
The Brazilian Storm

Meeting him, you wouldn’t ever think he’s aware of his immense local reputation. He’s humble, a little shy and always grinning. His smile is youthful, and I can’t imagine it’s changed much since he was 14! 

He spent his youth surfing the warm waters of Bahia, the state with the longest coastline in Brazil, adding “I was lucky to be born in this beautiful beach paradise…

“It has several surf spots that, depending on the swell and wind direction, make incredible surf days.”

His favourite spots in Brazil are Itacaré, Praia do Forte, Stella Mares and Aleluia. 
His favourite spots in the world are J-Bay, Hawaii and Indonesia
His favourite spot in Malta is: Marley’s

Now, go on, add those spots to your ‘surf-dream lists’ – if Nando recommends them, we do too! 

When Nando turned 20 he became a lifeguard for the Salvador Maritime Group, rescuing people in danger of drowning. The bridge between lifeguards and surfers is a strong one and really adds an element of humbleness to the dangerous sport of surfing. We’ve had repeated incidents of people needing help on our local shores, and on the world’s bigger beaches, these guys really are unsung heroes.

Nando with SalvaMar lifeguards

“I belong to the sea”

Whether he’s on a board, zig-zagging away, or helping people survive, Nando and the sea are a strong bond:

“I feel like I belong to the sea… salt water runs through my veins. Staying away from the sea is like stealing my essence.” It’s a lifestyle, a connection and a religion. 

His love for the sea got him to Malta, a mere half-year ago, after a two-year stint in Berlin, Nando’s first taste of Europe. 

“I like Malta, the weather, hours of sunshine, the surf community… he continued.

Then, Nando showed us his artistic side: “I love the Mediterranean Sea and its exuberant colours…” 

At some stage, it really felt like I was talking to myself, or someone I know deeply, and that’s the beauty of surfing. You do meet like-minded humans in a wonderful community who love the simple things in life: Sun, sea, and nature’s sexy colour palette.

When he’s not shredding, Nando keeps his body in shape with his bike, stretching and jiu-jitsu exercises… and there we have the ultimate reason for such a calm and composed demeanour: jiu jitsu. Brazilians do a lot right in life, but their grip on sports is unique. They dominate the football pitches around the world, and own the waves and the dojos too. It’s no wonder they are always so cool and relaxed, sports really meditative! 

Add his passions and throw in skateboarding, and we now know a small part of Nando’s recipe for success. 

When asked about his favourite board, his answer summed his lifestyle and attitude up perfectly “It’s always good to explore different equipment – it’s pretty fun.”

“I like all types of surfboard, longboards, fish…” He is so versatile and surfs for the purity of it, no matter the style! He even uses soft boards “they are my favourite, I really like the retro fish too!”

American surfer Andy Irons is Nando’s hero on the waves, who was respected and loved by the global surfing community. He’s regarded as one of the most talented surfers ever and sadly passed away at just 32 years old in 2010. 

On Malta’s surf community: 

“I am happy to be well received by the entire surfing community, I admire Valerio a lot for the work he does with the sport, Sky who is always pushing the guy’s levels with good energy, Hadrien, Nene Matsumoto and Tiago… who are always in the surf vibe. I like to see these guys all having fun with waves!”

Literally a role of honour of Malta’s finest… game recognises game!

Obrigado Nando, see you at the next competition! 

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Fernando is one of the fastest and finest surfers currently in Malta. Check in on him here