After first standing up on a surfboard in 1989 in Praia Grande, Sintra, João went on to become one of Portugal's top young surfers, traveling and competing around the world while still keeping an active academic life. In 2000, João finished his degree in economics. While taking time off from professional surfing, he also obtained his surf coaching credentials in Australia, and founded the Sintra-based surf school, Surf Academia, as well as worked as the Portuguese National Coach in 2002 and 2004. In addition, João authored the surf instruction manual, “How to be a Surfer,” which was published in Portugal and the U.S in 2006.
As a Save The Waves program manager, inspired by a quote from Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wondering why great surf spots weren't designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, João led the development and launch of STW's groundbreaking World Surfing Reserves program. He now continues as a global ambassador for the program, including serving on the WSR Vision Council.
João lives with his girlfriend Shelly in San Francisco, is sponsored by Reef, Von Zipper, and X-Cult Surfboards, and is working on new literary projects for the U.S. and Portugal. Northern California winters opened a new phase in his surfing career, and during the wintertime João can often be found chasing down large swells at Mavericks and other big-wave breaks on the west coast.