di Erika Scafuro
It is enough to talk a few minutes with João Dantas to understand how much deep wisdom and awareness resides in him.
From his greatest passions, surfing and sailing, João has learned many lessons, including that of taking life one step at a time, without rushing.
And it is while savoring every single moment that the best news came: João Dantas has been qualified to compete in the WSL Longboard Tour 2022, the Portuguese surfer will be one of the twenty surfers to compete for the world title.
But despite having qualified, João still has to work hard, as well as training, to find sponsors who can support him during the competitions that, being in places far from Europe, require high costs for travel and accommodation. After having earned his place in the Tour, it is also necessary to be able to afford to compete; this is the other side of World competitions.
First of all congratulations, you have been a qualifier to the WSL World Longboard Tour 2022. Tell us about the moment you got the news and what means to you to take part in the most important surfing world event
«That’s for sure one of the biggest news I’ve got. I wasn’t expecting at all, getting the call. I’ve been working a lot for the last three years then I have not competed that much, no world competitions at all since 2020. It was a bit tough the competition game and also a bit tough of continue with my surfing career. I started 2020 ranked 25th on the tour. Then Covid came and competition’s stopped. Then they started but just for top 22 or so, and I was out of the cut so didn’t compete until now so I went a bit down the ranking to 30th. I was thinking about moving my efforts to other career as sailing and work more try to have a real job. But with this call it changed again. When the cut for this year was out, and the new Tour format, they would have 20 surfers, top10 from 2021 and 7 surfers from regions and 3 wildcards. I was near the line to be call, but I wasn’t sure, I wasn’t really expecting. Then a friend of mine call me and he said I was in because he also got an email and it was like ‘oh, really?’ I was not expecting so I got really happy. I qualified through regions by being the best European on Tour after Ben Skinner and Edouard Delpero, both already in top10. Now I’m going to work again on surfing, training more, get myself on my feet and try to do my best».
When and where did you learn to surf?
«I started surfing when I was about seven year – old because my uncle also surfs. He was the one to introduce me to the surf world for the first time. And it was in my home break in São Pedro do Estoril in Cascais. I started there and this is the place where I surf most of the time. I started at seven year – old but it would be only in Summer, in the week end and then I started go more times when I was like eleven, twelve year – old. That’s was on shortboard. I started a bit later longboarding. Actually I like to do both, I surf on shortboard, I surf on longboard it depends on the conditions now. When I started longboarding I was like all in and focus on competitions stuff, so I quit shortboard for some time. But now that I was considering doing other things and surfing now it is not much about the competitions anymore, it is more what I like to do, so sometimes I just want to go surfing with my friends on shortboard or longboard, it depends on the mood, on the conditions, on everything».
What does surf mean to you?
«Surf means everything. I started surfing a long time ago and I shred my life around it. Everything I do is thinking how I can surf more and just live more that lifestyle that surfers love, like the way of seeing things. I think it is a special thing and it really got me into it and I really don’t see me doing any other thing. I am going to surf for the rest of my life if I can».
What value do you associate surfing with?
«Respect for the ocean and nature. Humbleness, you need to be humble. You can’t go against the ocean. You are a very little piece in the big game and I think that it is something that you can take for real life also. You don’t need to rush things. You are just a piece. Just go with the flow and try to do your best».
In addition to surfing your great passion is sailing, can you tell something about it?
«The most special thing about sailing is that I am doing the work I like to do the most, which is doing transfers like boat deliveries around Portugal and Mediterranean and tomorrow I want to cross the Atlantic Ocean and if I can go around the world, I want to do everything. Life got me a deep to this also, the special thing for me it is like to have time for myself. I don’t like to be in crowded places with so many people. And being in the ocean give me time to be with myself. When I am sailing it takes a bit of time to some places so I have lot of time to think and be with myself and to enjoy the little things actually. I love to wake up and watching the sun rising, the sunset or just to sailing in the night and be under the moon and the stars and just be there alone. It’s a special thing. It is a little bit like surfing. You feel very little, a very small piece in the game but that actually feels good for me».
Some weeks ago you did a shooting with Bear Surfboards in Portugal. How do you describe this experience? Was it your first time?
«Yeah, it was the first time making a shooting for anyone and the first time making a collaboration with Bear Surfboards and it was a very good week! I had a lot of fun, the guys were amazing, the crew was amazing, they made everything to make us feel good. We felt very comfortable, very free and the vibe was very good. We got good vibes, we tried different surfboards and we had a lot of fun. It was a very big pleasure for me to do a collaboration with Bear Surfboards. I hope we do more in the future».
What’s next, what are your projects?
«When Covid started and the jobs opportunities for sailing also were a bit less, I created a Longboard Academy with a friend of mine in my home surf break. So that is a project I have being working on a little bit and I still have my work on the boats so I now I like to do it and I need to do it to pay the bills and stuff. Now with this big news I have some new projects in mind, I need to work again on myself a little bit. I surf every day, but every day I can. Now I need to surf maybe a bit more focused, I think. I am just letting go with the flow and enjoy the moment, enjoy this opportunity to do what I love also, which is compete and surfing on the highest level I can. Then I keep doing my things, my life, sailing when I can, working a lot and having fun and enjoying the moment. It is the most important thing. I don’t want rush things. In the past I used to be a bit rush with myself, trying to do all the things and sometimes when you do that you don’t appreciate what you can. I am happy and now that I am a little bit older I realize that and I have other opportunities to enjoy and have more fun».