Italo Ferreira is one of the most explosive surfers in the business. The high-flying Brazilian set the Championship Tour on fire during his 2015 rookie season with a spellbinding aerial attack, and his ground game is equally vicious. During his breakout year he made the semifinals in Rio, the quarterfinals in Fiji, Tahiti and France, before making his first CT Final in Portugal, where he and fellow aerial ace Filipe Toledo turned in a jaw-dropping dogfight for the ages. Italo ran away with the Rookie of the Year award after finishing his remarkable year No. 7. Not surprisingly, many considered him a title threat heading into the next season, including his hero Mick Fanning. But the past two years have been tougher for the kid from Baia Formosa. He had bright spots in 2016 with Semifinal appearances at Bells and Margaret River, but was stopped in Round Five seven-straight times, and fell to No. 15. He looked on track to rebound in 2017 after a strong fifth place finish at Snapper, but two days after the event he tore ligaments in his ankle, and he missed the next three stops. Fortunately, the inner-fire runs deep with Ferreira, who grew up in a humble neighborhood, where he borrowed boards from his cousins to get started. His progress was noticed and nurtured under the watchful eye of journeyman Jadson Andre and celebrated scout, Luiz “Pinga” Campos. His support system helped him fight his way back, and Ferreira finished the season with a fifth at Pipeline, avoiding any need the injury wildcard. Rehabbed and rekindled Italo is once again looking as dangerous as ever.