Currently competing in the Challenger Series and mentoring girlfriend Tatiana Weston-Webb, Jesse accepted the Italian challenge.
World surfing has been lavish in nationality changes in recent years, especially since it became an Olympic sport. The most recent case is that of Jesse Mendes, a former world top who accepted to represent Italy, thus ceasing to compete with the Brazilian flag. All with the aim of getting to Paris’2024.
Jesse, 29, will thus join Leonardo Fioravanti, another surfer who has already been to CT, as the great bets of the Italian Federation to win spots for the next Olympic Games. This is when on the female side, the transalpine team has also had the former world and Australian top Claire Bevilacqua for some time.
Jesse Mendes’ flag change took place during the current season and the surfer from Guarujá, in São Paulo, has already emerged with the flag of Italy in the latest WSL event, the Gold Coast Pro, the inaugural stage of the Challenger circuit. Series, where Italy now has two surfers in the fight for access to CT 2023.
The surfer himself had already granted an interview to the main Italian sports newspaper, “Gazzetta dello Sport”, confirming that he wanted to represent the transalpine team, with that ambition to be present at Paris’2024. This was after the Italian Federation discovered that Jesse Mendes had an Italian passport and sent him the invitation.
This is just one of the novelties in the Italian team, which already had the services of former world champion Adriano de Souza, the latter only as a technical advisor. Now, Jesse reinforces the Italian contingent and will be another opponent for European surfers in the fight for the European spot that will be up for grabs at the 2023 ISA World Cup.
In the last Olympic cycle, world surfing saw several changes of nationality in order to facilitate this Olympic path. Interestingly, one of these changes was Jesse’s girlfriend, world runner-up Tatiana Weston-Webb, who went the other way, leaving the Hawaiian flag, as she would have to compete for qualification with the North American surfers, and going on to represent the Brazil.
Now, it’s Jesse Mendes’ turn to try his luck in another nationality, who in addition to still competing is also Weston-Webb’s coach. With Brazil closing its two spots for the CT in a fight that is expected to be super balanced and that in 2020 left, for example, Filipe Toledo out of the Olympics, with Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina going to Japan, it remains for Jesse to try to compete with the Europeans for a place in Paris.