The fourth stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Oi Rio Pro, witnessed a strong showing from the Brazilians in men’s Round 1. Out of the 14 Brazilian men in the draw today, seven will advance to Round 3 after the completion of Round 1 and the first six heats of Round 2.
Jeep Frontrunners Italo Ferreira and Julian Wilson both advanced to Round 3 after winning their opening heats. The two competitors, who are equally ranked World No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard, earned just enough to progress, with Wilson capturing a 12.93 and Ferreria a 10.64.
“I feel so good and confident, especially here in Brazil, I missed this event last year because I was injured, but now I am just enjoying all the fans and my home. The fans in Brazil are the best part. I am just trying to feel this feeling and leave the pressure in the water,” said Ferreira
“There is so much excitement from the local people and it is hard to not get caught up in all of that. We’ve been waiting a few days, so that energy also builds up. I think WSLmade a great decision to come up to this end of the beach. There are a lot of quality waves here and it is exciting,” said Wilson
In a major upset, Adriano de Souza, the defending event winner and 2015 WSLChampion, was eliminated by Ian Gouveia in Round 2 Heat 4. Gouveia left no room for the CT veteran by earning the highest two-wave total of the men’s event so far, a commanding 15.53. Gouveia’s victory marks his first heat win of the 2018 season.
“I am stoked, but at the same time I am kind of bummed, we’ve been competing on only right-handers and this morning I was really bummed because I want to surf lefts too. I thought we could beat Itaúna. We had three events right and the next two events are rights. I did not want to surf right again. This morning my mind wasn’t there, but this got me fired up. It is really good to have everyone here, all the family and friends. Just yeah, sometimes we want to go left,” said Gouveia.
Reigning WSL Champion John John Florence looked in incredible form to take his second heat win of the season but was stopped by injury replacement Mikey Wright. The two-time WSL Champion charged out of a huge barrel and hit an unruly closeout section, landing miraculously on his feet for a 9.10 (out of a possible 10). Despite being awarded the near-perfect score, Florence could not find a second wave to defeat Wright.
“This definitely makes me want to be on the tour more, this makes me want to keep doing and getting results on the QS, and getting these spots as a replacement. I am trying to make the most out of these opportunities,” said Wright
Florence was forced to surf again in elimination Round 2 against event wildcard Deivid Silva. The 2016 event winner was on the ropes toward the end of the heat but surpassed the needed score with a 5.07 on his final ride.
“I was stoked to get through that heat the waves are really fun, but it is definitely difficult. It is just a matter of being in the right spot. Everyone keeps saying that I’ve had a super slow start, but I feel really good. I’ve only lost two events, and they cancelled Margarets, so I am where I was at any other year. I’ve lost two events every year so I feel good. Hopefully, I can do the same that I did in 2016 and win here and be back in the World Title race,” said Florence
Miguel Pupo, an injury replacement for Caio Ibelli, will also advance after defeating Jordy Smith and Tomas Hermes in Round 1 Heat 2. The 2018 CT Rookie class delivered strong performances today with wins by Griffin Colapinto, Yago Dora, Wade Carmichael, and Willian Cardoso.
At Margaret River, Colapinto was eliminated in last place, but his aerial rotation today made it clear that he is back in business and ready to go big at this event. The 19-year-old explained that he did not feel confident in the heat but was able to reach into his progressive repertoire to take down the defending event winner De Souza and fellow rookie Michael February.
“I know Adriano has huge fan support in Brazil, and I just knew that our heat was probably going to have a lot of people on the beach and it did. I surfed that heat pretty poorly; I was scrambling all over the place and never really got a set wave. That air really did it for me, and I just safety surfed it so hard, but I got the score and I am stoked to make it,” said Colapinto.
Dora, who was the 2017 event stand out, made his intentions clear with his early win against Michel Bourez and Conner Coffin. Later in the afternoon, Bourez was eliminated by Keanu Asing in Round 2 Heat 5. Coffin will face rookie Hermes in the upcoming Round 2 Heat 11.
Smith survived his Round 2 heat against Wiggolly Dantas, in addition to 2017 event runner-up Adrian Buchan who dispatched February.
The competition resumes today under the following conditions:
Strong SSW swell continues Tuesday morning with a favourable wind, with the surf easing through the day. The swell mix trends down on Wednesday but still offers fun/rippable waves during the morning. The next run of SSW/S swells shows on Friday and likely continues over the weekend, with the most favourable wind currently expected for Fri-Sat.
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.70, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.07, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 9.73
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.10, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.66, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 8.23
Heat 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 12.60, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.26, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.17
Heat 4: Mikey Wright (AUS) 14.83, John John Florence (HAW) 13.93, Joan Duru (FRA) 10.93
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.43, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.86
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.93, Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.30, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.83
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA 10.64, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.47, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.36
Heat 8: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.60, Michael February (ZAF) 11.47, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.00
Heat 9: Yago Dora (BRA) 12.13, Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.67, Conner Coffin (USA) 2.87
Heat 10: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.60, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.30, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.57
Heat 11: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.16, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 9.60, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.30
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.40, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.76, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 7.00
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Round 2 Results (H1-6):
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 12.24 def. Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.94
Heat 2: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.57 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.40
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.70 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 9.94
Heat 4: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.53 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.83
Heat 5: Keanu Asing (HAW) 9.77 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.66
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.63 def. Michael February (ZAF) 3.96
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Remaining Round 2 Matchups (H6-12):
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Heat 8: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Heat 12: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Oi Rio Women’s Pro Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Caroline Marks (USA)
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Silvana Lima (BRA)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Sage Erickson (USA)