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When competitive surfer Pedro Berasaluce David goes to the water, he leaves the world behind him. “I forget everything,” he says in his native Portugese, which is translated to us in English. “From the Earth, from the land. I’m completely connected with the ocean.”
[At left: Pedro, 19, rides high waves with his Guayaki-wreathed board]
Pedro, 19, is training to be the best in the world. He’s already building a record in pro junior competitions, where he pairs the stress-free elation he feels in the water with sharper focus. Engaged in his sport, his mind works a bit more mechanically as he watches competitors and assesses what marks he must reach.
Pedro began surfing at the age of 2, having grown up in a surfer family: everyone in his family surfs except for his mother, Nina (and his father and three brothers are still trying to get her out there). Wave enthusiasts from everywhere flock to the surfing school his father, “El Capitan David,” founded 18 years ago on Praia do Rosa beach in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Beyond technique, the 400 or so students who visit the school each year from around the world are infused with fathoms-deep lessons on the water, the human connection with nature, and a sense of respect and community. Some call it a “school of life.”
The mission for the school is we are who we are, we all have equal rights and opportunities,” Pedro says. “To break with barriers, cultural barriers, the color of your skin, eyes, we’re all equal for the ocean, waves gonna break and it’s gonna break the same no matter who’s surfing it.”
Besides inspiration from the school’s surf community and his natural love for the water, Pedro has also been motivated to succeed in his sport watching the London Olympics. “It’s real inspiring to see other people get so far and reach a gold medal, or silver medal, coming from places like, from nothing,” he says. “To see them succeed or surpass their expectations.”
Naturally, this level of achievement takes work. Pedro prepares for competitions with full days in the water, aerobic training, and hydration (he has enjoyed Guayaki shots, which make him very animated; mostly he drinks water).
His passion and training have taken him all over the world, with some of his favorites to surf the beaches of Spain and France — though there’s more to loving where you are than getting to experience huge waves. “When you’re with friends,” Pedro says, “any place is a favorite place.”