"My biggest dream is to be a world surfing champion"

in World · 10-07-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The current leader of the Portuguese surf league, Afonso Antunes, who has just turned 16 years old, wants to reach the international elite and dreams of winning the world title.

“Everyone wants to get to the CT [world circuit]. But the biggest dream is to be a world champion,” said the athlete who is considered one of the greatest hopes of Portuguese surfing.


Asked by Lusa news agency when he hopes to reach the World Surfing League (WSL), Afonso Antunes did not set a time frame, but underlined that, in order to achieve this goal, in his opinion, “age does not matter, what matters is the focus, the work, the dedication and the level of surf”.


In addition, the surfer intended to focus strongly this year on the WSL qualifying circuit (QS), which gives access to the world elite, but which is suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


The confinement period ended up allowing him to recover from a fracture of the right leg fibula he sustained in March, after winning the bronze medal at the Junior Worlds in November 2019.


The young athlete, who has been part of the Portuguese surf team since a young age, also has Paris 2024 in his sights. Frederico Morais (‘Kikas’) has already ensured the Portuguese presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the first Portuguese surfer ever to feature the sport.


“I love representing Portugal and I would like to do the 2024 Olympic Games”, said the Costa de Caparica surfer, who represents Ericeira Surf Clube, stressing that he feels “calm”, despite the huge expectations that have been placed on his career.


After winning on Sunday, 5 July, the second stage of the Portuguese Surf League, in Ericeira, and having reached the semi-finals in the first stage, in Figueira da Foz, junior Afonso Antunes leads the ranking, alongside Kikas, the only Portuguese surfer who competes in the CT, which is also suspended because of the coronavirus.


“I’m showing a good level of surfing and it’s good to be at the top, side by side with Kikas, one of the best Portuguese surfers. Being a national champion? It’s at stake. I liked it, but there were only two stages and it’s still too early to think about it”, considered Afonso Antunes, son of João Antunes, national surf champion in 1994, 1996 and 1998, who is also his coach.


The team behind the young surfer, who debuted on the circuit in 2015, aged just 12, also has José Seabra, who trained Tiago Pires and is currently the technical manager of other Portuguese surfers, including Miguel Blanco and Tomás Fernandes.


In 2018, Afonso participated in all stages of the national circuit, finishing in 17th place in the ‘ranking’, at only 15 years old.


In 2019 he experienced a year of many international achievements, winning the World GromSearch first, in May, in Costa Rica, and, later, winning the bronze medal at the ISA World Cup for juniors, in November.


Afonso Antunes has now made history in national surfing, by becoming the second youngest surfer to win a stage, after Vasco Ribeiro did so at the age of 14, in 2009, in the São Pedro do Estoril stage. Afonso even surpassed Kikas, who won the first of the 13 stages that he already has in under his belt in 2009, in the Azores, but at the age of 17.


Now it is up to Afonso to try and replicate the success of his father, João Antunes, three-time national surfing champion, who won his first title in 1994, at the age of 24. Afonso still has a long time to beat that record. However, he will no longer be able to beat the record for the youngest national champion ever, as this belongs to Vasco Ribeiro, champion in 2011, about 10 days after turning 17 - Afonso turns 17 on 19 August.



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