Watch: João Mendonça // First Light

Swellnet Dispatch

Text by Pedro Miranda:

After a knee injury and three long months out of water recovering, João Mendonça (a.k.a. Johnny) got the call from Nic Von Rupp: 6 AM, first light at Coxos.

It's Johnny’s first session after injury, Coxos is pumping, as good as it gets, and in the water is Frederico Morais, Kanoa Igarashi, Italo Ferreira, all the locals and of course Niic.

All a bit intimidating for a 14 year old grom? Not for this one! Johnny stole the show, got the bombs of the day and absolutely killed it, while he literally almost killed Nic - see 01:55. That morning light was dazzling as he was coming out of the barrel, not his fault!

João Mendonça is currently one of the most promising Portuguese groms of his generation. A local from Arrifana in the South of Portugal, he won the 2018 Parko Groms sub-14 in Australia, placed third in the 2016 Volcom Global TCT in California, and is in the limelight every time it’s pumping across our coast since he got back from recovery.

“First Light” is a short clip with some of the best sessions of the last few months all around Portugal, produced and edited by Hugo Almeida.

PS: Nic was not injured and he still calls Johnny occasionally.

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 6:16pm

I didn’t realise that Coxos joint got that good. Pumping.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 6:28pm

Coxos is incredible. Lots of other very good waves near by.

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 7:45pm

That first wave. Faaaaaark yeah!

Don't let the bastards grind you down

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 7:59pm

god, how good does a wave like that feel first up in the morning before the sun is up.

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 10:08pm

i love the first shot of the lines coming in. all good

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 10:19pm

One of my favourite waves in the world. A remarkable stretch of coastline.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 8:43am

Did you get Reef good, crg? What a barrel that is.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 9:17am

I got it like that first barrel in the video maybe 10 times over a 4 month period back in one season in the 90’s. Other times I travelled there on shorter trips I got it only once one time and nothing on another. A little fickle but such a magic wave.
I’ve got to admit I’m a bit surprised/disappointed that young kids and pros are splashing it across the internet now even though it’s never really been a secret wave. It was almost a “Kauai-style” ban on photos back then.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 5:32pm

I'm surprised too. I'd heard heaps about it but never imagined it got this insane. Stoked you scored it so many times. Must have some epic flashbacks to a few of those sessions. Yew

braudulio's picture
braudulio's picture
braudulio commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 9:39am

That brought back some memories

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 11:27am

What am i missing here. Seemed rather low risk high reward and the didn’t seem thatttt bad for the quality of the wave??

I am the bone

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 11:49am

Low risk? It's an eight foot wave breaking top to bottom for 100 metres.

Doing alright if you consider that a walk in the park.

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 4:02pm

Doesn't look like a super steep or ledgey take off, rather manageable and then just worry about getting shacked. Maybe the vids (I youtubed others also) is misleading but sign me up, would love to have a crack!! :)

I am the bone

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 5:21pm

It’s long period swell usually, moving out of deep water on to reef. That first wave made it look easy but that kid was in the perfect spot and has got exceptional talent for a 14 yr old. It is a heavy wave and can be quite sectiony ie. large sections of water barrelling all at once - get caught under one of those and you’ll feel it for sure. Seen a dislocated shoulder and a broken leg out there.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 2:27pm

I thought he killed it,along with Nic ......damn good for ability for a 14 year old.

simba

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 6:40pm

Fuck Im getting old.

I surfed that joint 32 years ago........

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 6:43pm

1985. First ever surf trip. Three stoned Danes in a VW combi.

daboots's picture
daboots's picture
daboots commented Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 7:29pm

Kid is taking a sabbatical on the GC so we might see him dropping behind the rock soon!

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Monday, 10 Feb 2020 at 3:50pm

It gets unreal. Surfed it a couple of times mid-90s and smoking. It's got to have some of the sharpest, most cheese-grater-esque rocks I've ever seen, though. Jump off is a cakewalk, coming in a nightmare if you take one wrong step. Also surprised to see vid and promotion, as it had a pretty heavy (but reasonable) local scene back then.