Make Room at the Top, Obrigado!

By being loud and aggressive, Brazilians were treating surfers the way surfers—particularly two or three decades earlier—had famously treated everyone else. But the Americans and Australians were too busy gnashing their teeth to appreciate the poetic irony.

As it had throughout the 1960s and '70s, surfing developed internationally at a happy, ambling pace during the 1980s and early '90s. Vetea David of Tahiti won the juniors’ division of the 1986 World Surfing Championships. From a distance, Peru’s euphoniously-named Luis Miguel “Magoo” de la Rosa, a seven-time national champion from Lima, could easily be mistaken for Tom Carroll. Tel Aviv became a m...

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