Resides: Nazaré, Portugual
João De Macedo is one of the world’s best big wave chargers and all-around tube hound. At age 7, his love for the ocean began with bodyboarding the powerful shorebreak of Praia Grande in Sintra, ultimately laying the foundation for Macedo to become one of Portugal’s most recognized big wave surfers. His solid paddle performances at Maverick’s and other formidable peaks eventually earned Macedo an invite onto the World Surf League Big Wave Tour—becoming the first European professional surfer ever to qualify—culminating in a Top 5 finish during the 2012–13 season. Nowadays, Macedo calls the monstrous waves of Nazaré his home break, where he can often be seen streaking across its 60-foot walls each winter.
Aside from surfing, Macedo’s passion for sharing and protecting the ocean’s wonders is undeniable. In 2000, he achieved his college undergrad degree in Economics followed by a master’s degree in Sports Management, which led to founding Surf Academia schools at Praia Grande and Carcavelos with close friends. He’s also served as a program manager for Save The Waves and was a co-founder of the World Surfing Reserves organization—where he still stands as a global ambassador for its WSR Vision Council. “Surfing big and heavy waves, and teaching people how to surf,” he says, “is one of the best ways to stimulate and nurture people’s consciousness of the beauty and power of the natural world. From there, environmentalism and sustainability stems naturally.”