Following the biggest victory of his career at the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach yesterday, Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro moved into contention for a qualifying spot on the 2011 World Tour. Between being swarmed by throngs of fans and media, Monteiro found a few minutes to tell us about his win, how he deals with pressure, and what it means to be the first Brazilian to claim an event win at Sunset in nearly 20 years.
It’s been a while since a Brazilian won out at Sunset. It must be pretty special for you to win out here.
Yeah, I think it’s been almost 20 years since a Brazilian won out at Sunset. I think it was Fabio Gouveia who won it last in 1991. So yeah, for me this means a lot. This is huge. I’m really proud and I hope all of the people back home in Brazil feel proud too.
Were you feeling a lot of pressure during the heat?
No, I really wasn’t feeling any pressure at all. I was just really relaxed and trying to take it all in. It was really beautiful and I was thinking about that a lot. But no, I wasn’t really nervous at all.
There was a moment there at the end of the heat where it looked like Julian Wilson could take the lead from you. What’s going on in your head when you see someone like Julian get a wave in the last few minutes that could possible give him the win?
That was probably the only time I got worried during the whole event. There were just a few minutes left and Julian got that one and, yeah, my heart started pounding a lot. I thought that he may have got the score and would have won, but there’s really nothing you can do about it at that point, and thankfully, he didn’t get the score.
You were on the World Tour before and this is by no means your first time on the North Shore, but how does this win figure into your accomplishments?
This was definitely my biggest win ever out here. I’ve had a few good results before out at Haleiwa, but this is definitely my best. I love coming to Hawaii, I love the people, the waves. So to win here is huge for me.
So where do you go from here?
I’ve been on the road for the past two months, basically since the Coldwater Classic in Santa Cruz, and I can’t wait to get home to my family in Brazil. I’m gonna be heading back home in a few days and I just can’t wait to see my daughter back home. I’ve been gone for too long.