Italo Ferreira of Brazil
Italo Ferreira of Brazil Image Credit: Reuters

Brazil’s Italo Ferreira claimed Olympic surfing’s first-ever gold medal on Tuesday, beating Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the final.

Ferreira, who learned to surf standing on the foam box his father sold fish from, snapped his board on the first wave and had to wait in the sea for a replacement. But he recovered to score 15.14 to Igarashi’s 6.60 at Tsurigasaki Beach, around 100km east of Tokyo.

Igarashi had shocked world No. 1 Gabriel Medina in the semi-finals, landing a stunning aerial move late in the contest to beat the Brazilian.

But the Japanese rider, whose father grew up surfing at the same beach, could not find a way past an imperious Ferreira in the final, as the 2019 world champion added the first-ever Olympics surfing gold medal to his collection.

The medal events - originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday - were moved forward to Tuesday to take advantage of favourable wave conditions.