Opening day at the Oi Rio Pro

Form Guide

SAQUAREMA, Rio de Janeiro/Brasil (Thursday, June 20, 2019) - The opening day of the Oi Rio Pro saw the world’s best surfers greeted by thousands of cheering fans on the beach during the opening Seeding Rounds in three-to-five foot (0.9 - 1.5 metre) waves at Itaúna. The Oi Rio Pro is the fifth stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) and today’s opening heats will play an important role in the athlete’s seedings as they move into the elimination rounds. 

The Brasilians competing at the Oi Rio Pro make up one-third of the represented athletes and the largest national contingent in this event. Today marked a strong start for the Brasilians in their home country with 13 out of 17 competitors advancing to Round 3. Silvana Lima, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Gabriel Medina, Yago Dora, Jadson Andre, Adriano de Souza, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, Deivid Silva, Caio Ibelli, Willian Cardoso, Michael Rodrigues, and Jesse Mendes will all advance to Round 3. Peterson Crisanto, Mateus Herdy, Alex Ribeiro, and Taina Hinckel will have to battle out of the Elimination Round to avoid an early exit. 

Brasilians Silvana Lima and Tatiana Weston-Webb matched-up with Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in their opening heat (Round 1, Heat 5). Fitzgibbons recently defeated Lima in the Quarterfinals at the Corona Bali Protected. Today, Lima got the edge over the Australian in Heat 5 of Round 1. Lima won the heat with a buzzer-beater 13.20 two-wave score (out of a possible 20) to Weston-Webb’s 13.10 and Fitzgibbons' 9.93.

“There were a lot of nerves for me and I’m sure for everyone that was watching," said Lima. "You get those butterflies in your stomach and you hear that voice in your head saying ‘Go Silvana.’ Everyone feels pressure, so it’s important to stay calm, focused, and when the opportunity shows up, you need to give it your all. I’m stoked to advance in first place and I’m thankful to everyone for all the energy and support.”

Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time WSL Champion, celebrated her 250th heat win with a dominating performance against Keely Andrew (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA) with an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) and a 7.50 in Heat 2 of the Seeding Round. The Itaúna beach break provided Moore an opportunity to showcase her backhand surfing. Moore and Andrew advance through to the Round of 16 (Round 3). Defay will surf again in the Elimination Round (Round 2) against Malia Manuel (HAW) and rookie Brisa Hennessy (CRI). 

“It’s great to get that one out of the way, there are always some first-heat jitters, especially out here where the waves were breaking all over the place,” said Moore. “I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I’m happy everything worked out. It feels super good to get some good scores because I’ve actually struggled these past two years, so it was nice to start off really strong. I made a podium finish a while ago at Barra, so it would be great to make the Final here this year.”  

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) comes into the Oi Rio Pro ranked No. 1 in the world, as the defending event winner, and the reigning World Champion. With all of this momentum, Gilmore is undoubtedly an event favorite but fell just 1.6 points short of the win to good-friend Coco Ho (HAW) in Heat 3 of Round 1. Despite the second-place finish, Gilmore will still skip the Elimination Round and advance to Round 3 with Ho. Event wildcard Taina Hinckel (BRA) will be against Fitzgibbons and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round. 

“I am stoked to get that one,” said Ho. “These rounds are to be able to feel your board and see how you are surfing and I knew I was surfing alright, so I just wanted to get a good wave and had to be calm. It feels good here in Saqurema. There is a lot of ocean and you can ride board, you know you can ride a round-tail, and feel really good. I love it here.”

Brasil’s World Champions Gabriel Medina (2014, 2018) and Adriano de Souza (2015) now advance into the Round of 32. Medina captured the win with a 12.10 heat total over rookie Soli Bailey (AUS) and veteran Adrian Buchan (AUS). In his first heat since October 2018, De Souza’s second-place finish felt like a win for him after returning from a sidelining knee injury. De Souza marches into the Round of 32 where his opponent will be determined following the men’s Elimination Round. 

“It feels great to surf a left, just to break the monotony of only surfing rights on Tour,” said Medina. “We don’t really have any lefts, just Teahupo’o, but that’s a barreling wave, so as high-performance goes, it’s really only Saquarema. I love surfing when there are a lot of people watching. Surfing has grown so popular in our country these last few years and I feel blessed to have so much support and feel loved by so many fans. It’s so gratifying.”  

Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time WSL Champion, returned to the Brasilian CT for the first time since 2015. The Brasilian crowd roared as Slater entered the water and even more so when he secured a come-from-behind victory in the dying minutes of the heat to take down rookie Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Conner Coffin (USA) in Heat 9. Slater will advance to Round 3, while Coffin is relegated to the Elimination Round (Round 2) for the first time this season. 

“It is tough out there,” said Slater. “It is so bumpy and backwashy because the current is going one way and the chop is going the other way and there is a rip that’s going out to sea and the whole energy of the ocean is going down the beach, so it was tricky. You can’t take the first wave of the set and wait for the whitewash to clean up the set. It feels good to be back in Brasil, but it’s a little intimidating, there are some crazy crowds here, but I had some fun.” 

Jeep Frontrunner John John Florence (HAW) will also advance straight to the Round of 32 after sending wildcard Alex Ribeiro (BRA) to the Elimination Round and beating injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA). Florence posted a 7.50 and a 6.17 and is off to a good start for a third event win in Brasil. 

Lakey Peterson (USA) earned a runner-up finish at this event last year in Saquarema but fell short to Gilmore for the win. After her big victory in Western Australia last month, Peterson has resurged her World Title campaign into 2019 and today’s early win keeps her on track. 

Filipe Toledo (BRA), defending event winner, had the chance to showcase his big backside carves in the beach break conditions. His efforts earned him an excellent 8.00 with a 5.97 back-up to advance ahead of injury replacement Frederico Morais (PRT) and World No. 31 Sebastian Zietz (HAW). 

“While Brasil is where we most want to compete, it’s also where we have the most obligations out of the water,” Toledo said. “But that’s normal, we’re only here for one week out of the year and we want to give back as much as we can to our fans, the media and everything else. But we try to do everything before the event so we can be one-hundred percent focused during the competition.” 

In a rare draw, the only three French male surfers on Tour - Jeremy Flores, Michel Bourez, and Joan Duru - were all seeded into the same heat to close out men’s Round 1. Bourez captured the win with Duru in second. Flores will face 2018 event runner-up Wade Carmichael (AUS) and Jack Freestone (AUS) in the next elimination round. 

Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), current World No. 4, will also move into the Round of 32 after defeating Brasilians Jadson Andre and Peterson Crisanto in the opening heat of the the men’s Seeding Round. Current World No. 5 Jordy Smith (ZAF) will have an opportunity to battle back when he surfs again in the Elimination Round 2 (Heat 2) against Buchan and wildcard Herdy. 

World No. 3 Italo Ferreira (BRA) also found his rhythm in his opening heat and will move into the Round of 32, but No. 2 Kolohe Andino (USA) will come up against Zietz and Ribeiro in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round after losing in Round 1. 

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Seeding Round (Round 1) Results:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 8.90 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.10, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 6.17
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.50 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.23, Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.20
Heat 3: Coco Ho (HAW) 11.60 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.00, Taina Hinckel (BRA) 8.63
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.83 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.87, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 6.37
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.20 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.10, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 9.93
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.77 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 12.40, Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.00

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Seeding Round (Round 1) Results:
Heat 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.17 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.60, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 7.83
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.10 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 8.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.93 | Heat 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.33 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.27, Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.16
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.97 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.60, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.30
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.17 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.07, Mateus Herdy (BRA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 13.67 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.53, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.60
Heat 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.47 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 9.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6.30
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.67 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.06, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 6.00
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.87 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.80, Conner Coffin (USA) 9.93
Heat 10: Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.77 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.90, Jack Freestone (AUS) 7.43
Heat 11: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.17 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.53, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.74
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) 11.13 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 10.76, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.23


Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 9:42am

Watching the relplay now.

I’m really enjoying watching a beltable Left. Everyone’s ripping.

Notice that the embargo on filming the girl’s arses as they paddle around has been lifted, for which I’m grateful.

Tatiana smashing it . So good watching the goofy ‘s unleashed on their forehands. Page Hareb goes better in lefts than right’s. Suprised me.

Yago just went nuts.

The location looks almost Australian. Can’t even begin to imagine what I’d be like being a tourist and trying to catch waves amongst a hometown crowd of frothing Brazzos . Pretty spot.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 9:46am

Kelly made it!

belly's picture
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belly commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 9:47am

I'm regretting not putting Yago in my fantasy team, early days though..

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 9:50am

Seemed the judges lifted the scale ever so slightly....and in some cases a fair fucken bit.

Sixes and sevens being awarded for trumped up floaters.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 9:59am

I’m suprised the sponsors haven’t inserted a clause and a sunbed allowance stating those surfers from cold climates have to tan up before events where they’ll be wearing boardies.

As if it’s not bad enough that Filipe makes his surfing look decades out of date , Frederico’s legs look like white sticks on an albino marionette hanging out the bottom of those Bllabongs.

mg7's picture
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mg7 commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 12:40pm

Shit waves, bloody 2ft onshore crap. We want to see the best surfers in the world tackle some of the best and gnarliest waves in the world. Need Cloudbreak back for a start. Rio, Keramas and Kelly's wavepool are pretty lame spots in my opinion. Surely theres a better break in Brazil. I'd honestly rather a classic clean autumn/winter swell at Manly than Rio. Also need more Lefts on tour. Right now there's just Teahupoo and Pipes compared to five other Right handers (Jbay, Bali, Margs, Bells, Snapper). A wave like Pasta Point or Chickens in the Maldives, Uluwatu in Bali instead of Keramas, a wave in Japan, Africa (think Morocco), East Coast USA, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico and somewhere Wintery like Iceland, Russia, Canada or Chile are all potential options. I mean imagine JJF and Slater ripping in pumping surf in Iceland when its snowing. The online audience could be huge and possibilities endless.

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Island Bay commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 2:58pm

Overhead is not 2ft, not even in Hawaii.

Watch the earlier heats; waves weren't bad. And Brazilians are pretty much caning the rest of us on the WCT, so to not have a comp there would just be unrealistic.

mg7's picture
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mg7 commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 3:59pm

Agree WSL need a comp in Brazil. Just saying waves aren't great (they are around 3-4ft which is like 2ft Hawaiian?) A lot of the waves surfed today were honestly just head high mush. Also just annoyed they removed Cloudbreak. There's not one longish left hander on the CT. As a goofy footer its just frustrating.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Saturday, 22 Jun 2019 at 8:08am

It seems like the Hawaiians call everything up to triple overhead 2ft. Farken stupid system, but there it is.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 12:45pm

Last year Iceland played host to 2.5M tourists despite having a population less than 340K people.

Don’t think they need the WSL circus in their backyard.

mg7's picture
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mg7 commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 2:17pm

There's other cold water spots with good surf. Iceland was just an example.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 3:09pm

Fair enough, mg7.

I thought those lefts in the morning looked like great fun. Very similar to a backbeach up the coast from here.

Not G land , but good to see an opportunity for the goofys to belt a couple forehand.

I caught myself manoeuvring my body and parroting the movements of a few lip smashes. That’s a good result from televised surfing.

mg7's picture
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mg7 commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 4:03pm

Get what youre saying but honestly just reminds me of the Dbah comp. Just 3-4ft messy beach break bashing. Need more left hand pointbreaks and reefs. Where are Cloudbreak, Uluwatu, Peru, Pavones, Raglan, Pasta, etc?? Many of them would be just as marketable and are better waves than the current ones on tour.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 4:06pm

Agree with Ulu’s.

It’s done , may as well put the old girl to good use.

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bipola commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 5:05pm

yes, i am a goofy, so more left handers would be unreal
no more pool comps.