Who knows what Rio will deliver? It’s like one huge Jack in the box. Like playing Russian roulette. Like sitting around a huge poker table, with all your buddies, sipping on a couple of semi-warm SAB castle lagers cause yo poor ass homies couldn’t afford any craft beers while waiting for the dealer to flip the flop. And only once the flop has been flipped, only then can you sorta get an idea of who could rip in the given conditions. But to be honest, we’re frothing for Rio. After having to endure the GOAT’s controlled wave project termed the ‘Founders Cup’, where the audience had to loiter around like clowns for an entire wave to witness somebody maybe, perhaps, consider taking to the air, Saquarema’s wave chaos will be a welcomed treat.
Here are the odds we favour given the chaos. Use em, don’t use em. We don’t care, but here they are anyway.
The Italian Ferrari’s (fairly) fresh off a win. Fresh off a win at a spot that didn’t favour him much. And we’re pretty certain not many people other than Italo’s parents and Jadson Andre would’ve put their chips behind the bar fridge shaped Brazilian to ring the Bell. But the Italian Ferrari emerged victorious against the odds. Now imagine what the bar fridge shaped Brazilian could do on a wave that suits him a touch better? A beach break allowing for quick whippy turns and airs. He’s gonna go far.
Gabby hates losing. And yeah, I’m sure you’re thinking everyone on the world tour hates losing, but many people fear to lose. Gabby don’t fear to lose. He detests it. Gabby’s surfing suits Saquarema pretty good. Last year, went it was small, Gabby went H.A.M on the lefts, busting big rotations and keeping his turns fast and loose. When the swell jacked, Gabby drew out his surfing, big open face carves and layback jams. We’re giving Gabby the green light.
The wildest of the wildcards as Potts loves to say. With the GOAT, Joel and Caio pulling out of Brazil, Kelly citing his old foot injury, a foot that seemed in good health at Lemoore, Joel ‘personal reasons’ and Caio with a real injury, it has opened up one of three spots for Mikey Wright. Mikey kinda surfs with a similar approach to when Dane was on tour. If the section presents itself, he ain’t holding back. Are you looking for a nurse? There’s none here. At Saquarema, you don’t wanna get called a nurse with your pants down. Rather go big straight off the bat then end up in a combo situation needing to do a backflip.
John John Florence
John John’s had a lacklustre year thus far. He’s currently lying 26th on the WSL rankings, with a 13th, 25th courtesy of Zeke, and another 13th courtesy of sharks, John’s probably the lowest on the rankings we’ve ever seen him. Even at Lemoore, he was looking a little off-keel, a little rattled. Perhaps tremors of Zeke’s paddle battle lurk beneath the surface. But for a man of such great calibre, the pendulum has to swing sometime. And when it swings, (hopefully) it goes all the way to the other side, wouldn’t Brazil be the perfect place for that? The location where John acquired his first Championship Tour win so many years back.
Patty G. Ah, it feels so risky putting him here. But you know what, Patty G’s been on a tear of late. He’s spent the past decade or so tryna make this tour, and he sure as hell ain’t getting knocked off surfing conservatively. So Patty’s going big. His surfing looked a bit jittery and jerky between turns at Bells, but the judges honed in on turns as opposed to flow between turns. Given that Saquarema doesn’t offer as much open face as Bells, and that the cuisine served at Saquarema’s kinda similar to the diet Postman Pat enjoys in California, we’re hoping he goes far.
Kolohe surfs fast, whippy, he fits his turns into tight arcs, his backhand is superb and he can bust big rotations on command. He holds all the characteristics of a man that’ll do well at a fun little rippable beach break. And after he surfed so well at Lemoore, we reckon he’s running high on confidence.
On small days at Saquarema, which is pretty much what we’re in for the first couple days of the waiting period, reminds one of Longbeach rights. Gently running into the cobblestones on the inside. And if Mikey shreds on any wave, it’s the right at Longbeach. Every time you see him out there, he’s flying down the line, through the flats winding up for some sort of wild rotation. Black fro elevated mid 360 as German tourists on mini-mals look on in wonder. We’re frothing to see Mr Stylish at Saquarema, the whole nation’s probably speaking Portuguese to him already anyway.
This may seem like an odd pick, but last year we distinctly remember witnessing Connor going absolutely ballistic on a wedgey right-hander for a 9.00 against Stuart Kennedy in round 2. Lightening fast snaps. Connor loves going straight up and down, tight transitions in the pocket, and the wave at Saquarema requires you to surf it tight and fast. When a wave has downtime, Connor seems to lose his way, his GPS runs out of battery, but when the wave comes at him, oh how Connor lights it up. Big pocket blasts. No thinking, just reacting.