Last year, during the final three events of the Qualifying Series, Frederico Morais came out of nowhere to nab back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Vans Triple Crown. He jumping 35 spots up the QS ladder as a result, finishing No. 3 on the year, and earning his spot as a rookie on the 2017 Championship Tour. This year, he's made good on that effort. He backed up his 5th-place finish at Bells Beach with a 2nd-place finish at Jeffreys Bay, and he's been on a tear at Lower Trestles, too.
On Wednesday afternoon, he earned a pivotal Round Four win over Jordy Smith and Adrian Buchan, which shot Morais directly into the Quarterfinals. As a result, he's now gaining serious ground on fellow rookie Connor O'Leary, who lost early at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. Morais entered this event ranked No. 14, while O'Leary was in the No. 10 spot, roughly 5,000 points ahead.
Morais is heading home to Europe next, which on paper should give him an edge in this fight, and he's proven he's no slouch in Hawaii, too.