Italo Ferreira, the reigning champion of the World Surf League, continued his show-stopping, point-piling ways for Brazil on Tuesday in the men's shortboard semifinals at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach.

In holding off a spirited challenge from Australia's Owen Wright, Ferriera earned a shot at the first-ever Olympic gold medal in the sport's history.

Countryman Gabriel Medina had a shot at guaranteeing the gold for Brazil, but he suffered a heartbreaking loss to Kanoa Igarashi of Japan in the best match of the semis.

Medina started the heat with an 8.33 wave, but Igarashi scored a 9.33 to pull ahead and won by less than a quarter-point.

He'll next square off with Wright for the bronze, with Ferreira and Igarashi going head to head for that historic gold.