Italo Ferreira rides a big wave at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro 2024 in Teahupo'o, Tahiti.
© Ed Sloane/World Surf League
Surfing

Italo Ferreira is back! The Brazilian resurfaces on top at the Tahiti Pro

Incredible performances are the order of the day as Teahupo'o delivers the WSL's best waves since 2022 and a resurgent Italo Ferreira signals his intent ahead of a big few months for surfing.
By Chris Binns
5 min readPublished on
It's been four long years since surfing's first-ever gold medallist and 2019 world champion Italo Ferreira last won a WSL Championship Tour event. Today he broke that drought in spectacular fashion. Ferreira beat Hawaiian John John Florence in an exhilarating climax to the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro in incredible 10-foot tubes at Teahupo'o and put himself back in the top five for the first time this year.
As well as breaking through for his first big result of the year, it was also Ferreira's first-ever win in Tahiti – a fact that had not gone without notice – and he was over the moon to rectify that, especially given the sheer size and power of the waves on offer.
Italo Ferreira celebrates winning the 2024 SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro.

Italo Ferreira celebrates winning the 2024 SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro

© Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

I've really been waiting for this moment. I've won in different types of waves, but not barrels
After coming in to Tahiti ranked 16th, well below acceptable for a man who expects himself to win the world title every year, Ferreira vaulted 11 places in the ratings to fifth with only three events remaining before the Top 5 battle it out for the crown in the WSL Finals at Lower Trestles in California.
It was an arduous finals day for all competitors but none more so than for Ferreira and Florence, who surfed four times in the draining tropical heat while tackling enormous waves breaking in only a few feet of water.
While Ferreira came up against a mixed bag of surfers on the final day, including tour rookie Cole Houshmand, fellow Brazilian Yago Dora and rampaging Moroccan lion Ramzi Boukhiam, Florence had to battle it out in a stacked bottom half of the draw. After accounting for local wildcard Mihimana Braye in his first heat for the day, he then came up against deadly Indonesian Rio Waida, before surfing's favourite modern day matchup lined up again in the semi-finals: Florence versus Gabriel Medina, who'd started his day with a near perfect 19.83 heat total against hapless American Jake Marshall.
Much like the legendary 2016 Tahiti Pro, where Florence and Kelly Slater slugged it out in the semis before Florence lost to a more rested Medina in the finals, this time around it was Ferreira watching Florence and Medina beat each other up in the semis, as he lay in wait, ready to pounce in the final.
Pounce he did. Ferreira launched out of the gates with an 8.93 and 8.77 in quick succession, for a pair of near-identical long, deep and perfectly threaded tube rides. Florence was on the ropes from the start, needing a 17.70 total with 28 minutes still to run. 10 minutes later Florence struck back with a 7.83, to bring his requirement inside a single wave, while Ferreira played the waiting game, barely looking at waves that seemed anything other than perfect.
With five minutes remaining, Florence seized his moment and rode the wave of the final, winning a dramatic wrestle with the foamball inside a barrel to emerge with arms raised, and a 9.33 next to his name. It was a near-perfect ride, but it fell just short to leave Florence a 17.16 score and the runner-up trophy once time ticked away.
American Griffin Colapinto and Australian Jack Robinson, who went to Tahiti ranked first and second respectively, slid one spot down the ratings as Florence leapfrogged them both, while Australian Ethan Ewing remains in fourth, with Ferreira now fifth. Medina vaulted seven positions to 12th.
Jack Robinson rides a wave at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro 2024 in Teahupo'o, Tahiti.

Jack Robinson driving hard from deep down and eyeing an exit

© Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

Griffin Colapinto rides the tube at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro 2024 in Teeahupo'o, Tahiti.

Not Griff Colapinto's best result, but the Tahitian waves can't be beat

© Ed Sloane/World Surf League

On the ladies side, Tahitian wildcard Vahine Fierro showed why she's known as the Queen of Teahupo'o with a faultless display, beating Costa Rican Brisa Hennessy in the final. Hennessy, who's been nothing if not consistent in 2024, has now finished in the semi-finals or above in all but one of the six events to date and finds herself in the yellow jersey heading to Central America, with her pet event in Fiji looming.
Caroline Marks rides the tube at Teahupo'o.

Caroline Marks and a picture perfect Teahupo'o tube

© Ed Sloane/World Surf League

Reigning world champion and defending event champion Caroline Marks had no shortage of highlight reel moments in Tahiti this year en route to a semi-final finish and will have confidence to burn heading to El Salvador, another tour stop where she's the defending champ.
Kelly Slater watches the waves at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro in Teahupo'o.

If this was Kelly Slater's last Tahiti event, there wasn't a minute missed

© Ed Sloane/World Surf League

Carissa Moore rides a wave at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro

Five-time world champ Carissa Moore sliding into Pacific perfection

© Ed Sloane/World Surf League

Speaking of world champions, 16 world title's worth came out of retirement for this event, with American's Kelly Slater and Carissa Moore travelling halfway around the world and pulling on a jersey purely in the name of getting barrelled. And while Moore broke a board and lost to Hennessy in the quarter-finals, Slater wound back the clock on finals day with a vintage performance to show yet again why he truly is the GOAT.
At 52 years of age, in the eyes of many Slater was robber of a perfect 10 in his first heat for the day, but he beat last year's world number two Ewing all the same. As the waves picked up, so did Slater's performance level and it took a miraculous last-gasp 9.80 from Boukhiam to stop his run in the quarter-finals, the Moroccan pinching himself afterwards that he had the chance to surf against his childhood hero in such flawless surf.
Kanoa Igarashi watches an empty wave at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro.

Kanoa Igarashi knows sometimes all you can do is throw your arms up in joy

© Ed Sloane/World Surf League

Surf fans around the world are pinching themselves today as well; the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro was the best event the WSL Championship Tour has seen in a long time and it is the precursor to a big few months for the sport, culminating with the WSL Finals in California. World title crowns and medals are on the line and a stacked pool of talent has thrown the field wide open.
This time it was Italo Ferreira and Vahine Fierro who stood tallest on the podium, but who'll be next? Stay tuned as the tour caravan heads to El Salvador, Brazil and Fiji, then back to Tahiti and on to the USA to figure it all out.

Part of this story

Ítalo Ferreira

Ítalo Ferreira started surfing on the lid of a cooler box from his fisherman father and rose to become the first men's gold medallist at the Olympics.

BrazilBrazil

Carissa Moore

Carissa Moore has established herself as a powerhouse in surfing, a world champ who loves to help other young women achieve their dreams.

United StatesUnited States

Caroline Marks

A multiple national champion and the youngest female to compete in a World Surf League event, Caroline Marks is surfing’s young phenom.

United StatesUnited States

Jack Robinson

Australian surfer Jack Robinson is overdelivering on expectations, but won't be happy until he's hoisted the coveted World Surf League Championship Tour trophy.

AustraliaAustralia

Griffin Colapinto

A high-flying Californian kid with his sights on the world, surfer Griffin Colapinto is now a regular contender for wins on the WSL Championship Tour.

United StatesUnited States