All Eyes On Jadson Andre

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All eyes are on Jadson Andre after the 20-year-old rookie took down 9x world champion Kelly Slater for his first ASP world tour victory in Brazil. With an exciting display of progressive moves, including crowd-pleasing air reverses and stylish carves, Andre forever left obscurity. Those watching could tell that Andre had worked hard for that moment. They felt his passion. It felt symbolic, a possible changing of the guard. The excitement of the heat, the dream-come-true story and the young rookie’s skill and confidence against surfing’s greatest, left most wanting to see more.

As a result Andre was closely watched by announcers, fans and his rivals at the recent Lowers Pro. The announcers, who in the past gave little details about Andre, now described his surfing using words like “dynamic,” “explosive,” and “acrobatic.” They noticed in Andre’s final heat before losing to Adrian Buchan that Buchan felt pressure to up his game. Buchan upped his game and went on to the next round.

We observed one reason 20-year-old Andre may have risen to the top so quickly—his focus.  It begins with his pre-heat routine that some compare to a warrior dance, with a series of squats and other dance-like moves. That focus continues in the water.  Add to that his determination and mind-blowing natural ability and his success seems inevitable rather than lucky. 

We were able to catch up with Andre between heats on the beach at Lowers.

How did you handle the pressure of having to surf against 9x world champion Kelly Slater in the final in Brazil?

I really didn’t have any pressure. It is my first year on tour and he is 9x world champion. I was at home. It was my first final. He’s looking for the world title. I knew at home would be the best opportunity to have a good result. When I was in the final, it was in my head that I had to surf like I was doing any contest. I knew that if I had some big maneuvers, like I did, I was going to get the best scores. I thought just relax. I don’t have to think about him. I just have to enjoy because maybe this will be the only one that I have. My manager said, “Go there and enjoy. Maybe this will be your only final ever with him. Enjoy and feel the time.” And that’s what I did. I tried to pick out the best waves and do the turns. He said, “You have to imagine you are surfing Pointa Negra,” where I am from, “with your friends doing the best maneuvers, big airs and go there and do it.” And that’s what I did.

Did you have any family on the beach that day?

Nobody. Just two friends that I know. But at that time, everyone was my friend. It was the best feeling.

You said in an interview, “I have had some bad things happen in my life, but this is amazing. I am so thankful to everyone for this.” What obstacles or bad times were you referring to?

My Momma’s sister died. I had stitches in my foot and couldn’t surf for awhile last year. My Grandmother was really sick too. But I know that when bad things happen, then really good things do too, and that is when I won the contest.

What obstacles have you faced to get to where you are today?

One was leaving my family in Nepal to go live alone in San Paulo when I was 15 years old. My sponsors thought it would be better for me to live alone there. To surf better waves. I grew up with my Mom and Dad doing everything for me. I had to live by myself and that was so hard. I’m pretty sure that’s why I grew up and learned many things, improved my surf and why I’m doing things like this.

What is one trait that you have that is truly Brazilian?

Battler. I believe almost all Brazilians have it in their blood. To go after my goals. To strive.

After winning in Brazil and currently number 4 in the rankings, will you try for a world title?

It is my first year and I am the youngest guy on the tour. I have a lot to learn. Maybe in five or six years I can have that be my goal to be world champion. You know I will try my best. I already won one contest. I hope I can make another final and win another contest. But that is not my goal. I have no pressure for that. I just have to go there and pick out the best waves every single contest. Try to enjoy the heat. Maybe in six years when I improve a lot, my training is better, I get stronger and a little bigger, get experience… When I get all those links together, then I can try to be world champion. But right now I will just try and enjoy the heats.

Who are your heroes?

Adriano and Kelly Slater are my favorite surfers. I really like CJ, Damien, Adrian Buchanan and Bobby Martinez because they are goofy footers and I look to see what they’ve been doing to stay on tour for so long.