Eighty feet!

That is the height of a recent wave off of the coast of Nazaré, Portugal that professional big wave surfer Rodrigo Koxa successfully surfed to earn himself the Guinness Book World Record for largest wave ever surfed.

In an interview at the World Surf League award presentation, Koxa put his accomplishment in some perspective: "I've tried to surf big waves all my life and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré…Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically."

He obviously recovered. Check out the insane footage of his record breaking ride here. Eighty feet! That is a beast of a wave.

Another big wave that doesn't seem to break is populist movements that have been sweeping the global geopolitical system since mid-2016. What is populism? The best definition we’ve heard is from a political-minded colleague: the movement organized and energized by "the people" against the "corrupt and privileged elites" who represent the political order of things. The goal of the people is to overturn political and economic institutions to better society.

Starting with "Brexit" in June of 2016, the wave rolled through political elections in the U.S. (the election of President Donald Trump, a noted outsider) and Germany (Merkel's coalition government includes a populist party), while France and the Netherlands had serious populist challenges. Elections that will be held later this year in Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines will all incorporate well-polling populist challengers.

Up until recently, capital markets have been sanguine in response to the wave. That changed recently with the latest political turbulence in Italy, which sent European equity markets lower and bond yields higher.

The Italian political crisis was stirred up by European Union-imposed austerity, lackluster economic growth, an unstable banking system, migrant hysteria and a particularly contagious strain of European populism. The initial catalyst was when the Five Star party (an anti-establishment, Eurosceptic movement led by former clown comedian Beppe Grillo that has been gaining popularity mainly over the past five years) received a plurality of the votes in the parliamentary election held on March 4th.

However, the party did not receive a simple majority, so Five Star has been attempting to form a coalition government with the League Party (a right-wing party whose anti-globalist and anti-immigration stances are well aligned with Five Star) for some time. A central tenet of their attempted alliance was the installment of Eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona as Finance Minister. However, Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed his nomination, stalling the formation of the coalition government; hostility between the tentative coalition and the president soon led to further political discord, and the process to remove the pro-Eurozone prime minister ensued.

Fortunately, the political hostility appears to have been tempered, calming European capital markets. A slightly more open-minded economist, Giovanni Tria, was selected for finance minister, satisfying both the coalition government and the president. Five Star has walked back the scope of their anti-EU demands. The two coalition parties again appear to be committed to hashing out an alliance, which would likely bring some stability back to the Italian government. Concerningly, though, Italy’s upcoming election in July may reverse any near-term progress.

Good news for investors, equity markets tend to "discount" bad news ahead of actual events in a classic "shoot first, ask questions later" approach. As a result, further bad news—if it may come—may not cause severe capital market disruption in the future.

Surf’s up!

Contact Russell Moenich to learn more about this topic.
330.255.4330 | rmoenich@sequoia-financial.com


This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation of any particular security, strategy or investment product.  The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of author and are subject to change without notice.  Diversification cannot assure profit or guarantee against loss. There is no guarantee that any investment will achieve its objectives, generate positive returns, or avoid losses. Sequoia Financial Advisors, LLC makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy, reliability, or utility of information obtained from third-parties. Certain assumptions may have been made by these sources in compiling such information, and changes to assumptions may have material impact on the information presented in these materials.  Investment advisory services offered through Sequoia Financial Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Registration as an investment advisor does not imply a certain level of skill or training.


The views expressed represent the opinion of Sequoia Financial Group. The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While Sequoia believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and Sequoia’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Investing in equity securities involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. While equities may offer the potential for greater long-term growth than most debt securities, they generally have higher volatility. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Investment advisory services offered through Sequoia Financial Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Registration as an investment advisor does not imply a certain level of skill or training.

Sequoia Financial

Talk to an Advisor

We would love to chat with you about how Sequoia can help you achieve your financial goals.

  • Akron, OH - Headquarters
  • Tampa, FL
  • St. Clair Shores, MI
  • Troy, MI
  • Beachwood, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Mayfield Heights, OH
  • Hilton Head, SC

© 2022 Sequoia Financial Advisors, LLC

Investment advisory services offered through Sequoia Financial Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Registration as an investment advisor does not imply a certain level of skill or training.

On Big Wave Surfing With Rodrigo Koxa & Italian Populism | Sequoia Financial Group


The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.