With HBO’s ‘100 Foot Wave’ being a documentary series that lives up to its title in every way imaginable, we get a real, unprecedented insight into not just the sport but also the passion of surfing. After all, it primarily revolves around big-wave pioneer Garrett McNamara and his renowned peers as they continue to push the boundaries of their extreme, adrenaline-driven athletics to no end. Amongst those to thus be featured in season 2 was youngster Antonio “Tony” Laureano — so now, if you wish to learn more about him as well as his current standing, we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Antonio “Tony” Laureano?
It was back in 2007 when Tony first developed an interest in surfing at the tender yet exciting age of four or five upon seeing his father on the ever-impressive waves of Nazaré in Leiria, Portugal. He hence basically grew up surrounded by giant white waves, the aesthetic, athletic, physical, and mental impact of which has been significant throughout his life — they made him fall in love. “I’m not originally from Nazaré,” the Brazil native candidly conceded in the Chris Smith-directed production, “but I’ve spent all my childhood here [in this Portuguese town], and now it’s my home.”
Tony was actually six when he witnessed Garrett McNamara ride a wave in front of him for the first time, only for it to inadvertently make him realize he wished to surf for the rest of his life too. “I want to live from surfing,” he asserted in the docuseries. “I was saying to my father, ‘Oh yeah, I want to be like Garrett,’ so he decided to be my jet ski driver” for safety, rescue, and instructive purposes. In fact, the unwaveringly supportive Ramon Nilson Laureano is now actually a professional big waves safety instructor, a water patrolman, a surfboard shaper, a pilot, and a rescuer.
“I started by surfing just like smaller waves, around three or four meters,” Tony said in the original to give us a background. “For me, at the time, this was big already, but then I was also watching the best big wave surfers in the world coming here, surfing the wave I have in my backyard. Being a teenager, I was like, ‘Oh my god! Oh my god!’ And every season, the performances just got better and better… But now, I’m not a kid anymore. I’m starting to have some pretty big waves too. Right now, when we speak about Nazaré, it’s like: Nazaré, Garrett. I want my legacy to be: Nazaré, Tony.”
However, the truth is Tony is already well on his way to achieving this goal as he has managed to not just leave a mark in the industry but also impress his idol by essentially leaving him behind. The 18-year-old actually successfully rode a 101.4-foot wave on October 29, 2020 — right in the early days of the year’s season in Portugal once the threat of Hurricane Epsilon had settled down. It was unexpected, it was shocking, and it was scary, yet the teen was more than ready for it owing to his years of practice, passion, and determination; he simply could not let the opportunity go.
“Adrenaline, happiness, fear — all together,” Tony once recalled before making it clear he sent a clip of this event to an independent agency for measurement rather than the World Surf League (WSL). “In the end, when I kicked out, I looked back and saw a giant wave behind me. I heard people screaming and applauding… As soon as I started to ride that wave, I realized it was massive. But it was only when I kicked out that I understood what I had accomplished.” Nevertheless, he maintains his career as a sportsman is only just beginning as he still has a lot more to do alongside his peers.
Where is Antonio “Tony” Laureano Now?
Despite the fact Tony has been on the waters since he was a young boy, he doesn’t take any possible risk lightly and even prepares for worst-case scenarios or contingencies at every step of the way. He understands that practice is crucial for a big wave surfer, which is why he decided to work out regularly before also choosing to step away from further education to focus solely on his dreams. “Fear for a big wave surfer is essential,” he once said. “Because we stay more focused and stay more conscious of what can really happen, and we are ready for that. If we are not prepared, we can die, it’s really dangerous.”
Tony even knows that the sport he has chosen to dedicate his life to is quite expensive, making him appreciate all the efforts his father Ramon and mother Susana put in for him much more. He thus repays them by practically being a prodigy who’s soaring at the moment in every sense of the term — from riding high to collaborating with brands to competing, he’s seemingly doing it all.
You can actually watch some of his most recent best moments in the ‘Trust Your Vision’ short film by Luís de Sá, including clips from his near-flawless surfs in not just Nazaré but also Chile. Plus, the youngster often uses his platform to spread the message of how and why the world needs to be more conscious about our environment, earning him the title of a role model for newcomers.
Read More: Andrew “Cotty” Cotton: Where is the Big Wave Surfer Now?