Behind the Brand: For nearly two decades now, the Brazilians have been a force to be reckoned with on the global stage, and one good reason for that is the caliber of craftsman that reside there. Tropical Brasil was founded in 1981 by legendary Brazilian shaper Avelino Bastos in the southern surf haven of Florianópolis. Bastos has been shaping professionally since 1976, and spent pivotal years shaping for Gary McNab at Nectar Surfboards in San Diego, the brand that brought the Thruster to the U.S. shores. Through the decades, Bastos has shaped for many of Brazil's brightest stars, including tour stalwarts Neco Padaratz and Peterson Rosa, and local heroes like Teco Padaratz, David Husadel, Pedro Husadel, and countless others. Bastos has been honored with the "Best Shaper in Brazil" award seven times, and has lived and learned in shaping hubs all over the globe, including Hawaii, California, Australia, and Europe, improving his talents as a shaper and earning the respect of craftsmen worldwide for his quality work. Today, Tropical Brasil is the biggest Latin American surfboard company in the industry, exporting to several countries around the globe.
About his Most Popular Models: It's no secret Brazil is home to some of the world's best grovellers, so naturally, Bastos' boards designed for small-wave performance are always in demand. His Merrequeira model is perfect for gutless conditions, with its wider tail area and full to double concave supplying ample drive through flat sections, and enough maneuverability to destroy targets.
Taking the Pulse:"When you have the right surfboard, the only thing you should remember is what you did on the wave," says Bastos. "Forgetting that your board even exists is the most important quality to strive for."Shop Talk
What aspect of board design is most likely to lead to the next big breakthrough? "The next big evolution in surfboard design will depend on its building platform, namely the materials and manufacturing methods. I'd like to see all the experimenting in that area continue, because after advancing materials, the designs will be changed and we will be able to approach the wave with a whole different mindset."
What's the most exciting thing about surfboard technology right now? "That we're finding new ways to catch waves and gain additional energy and speed at critical moments. We're finding floatation solutions with the minimum amount of volume possible—the idea comes from ‘Dynamic Floatation,' the surfboard suspension in the water from the least amount of paddle-power and speed."
Is there an attitude or aspect you'd like to see disappear? "If our strange desire to surf like everybody else went away, I think the future of design would be much better."
What are you most proud of when it comes to your brand? "That we're maniacs for surfboards, performance, and quality. We are 100 percent dedicated to the sport and surf culture, manufacturing quality, high-performance products that are truly Brazilian. Every surfboard is individually handmade and cared for, providing quality and performance that is also a piece of art."