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Rain, chop and high scores Day 5 of Oi HD Sao Paulo Open

Gabriel Medina © WSL/Smorigo




Oi HD Sao Paulo Open of Surfing

World Surf Legue QS 10,000 Men's Event
Sao Sebastiao, Maresias, Sao Paulo Brazil
2 - 8 November 2015

Brazilians lead charge through rain and bumpy surf

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 6 November, 2015 - Consistent rain, waves in the 4-6 foot range (1.5-2 meters) and moderate onshore winds from the southeast were on hand at Praia de Maresias as competition steamrolled through Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday at the Oi HD São Paulo Open of Surfing presented by Banco do Brasil.

Despite conditions not being ideal, the day was riddled with big scores and high-octane action in the water. Heat 12 of Round 2 was particularly noteworthy and lived up to expectations as No. 2 ranked surfer on the CT Filipe Toledo (BRA) prepared to defend his event title against 2016 CT rookie Alex Ribeiro (BRA, high-flying Michael Rodrigues (BRA) and the veteran powerhouse Nathan Yeomans (USA).

Ribeiro started off with a 7.67 then quickly backed it up with a 6.27 for a 13.94 total. Yeomans countered with a 9.43 after obliterating a hefty lefthander with a series of monstrous hacks and added a 4.60 to take a slim lead over Ribeiro with a 14.03 total. But it was Rodrigues who took a commanding lead after scoring a 9.97 after blasting two critical backside gouges on a left, for the highest single wave score of the SP Open.

Toledo was left in combination and had trouble finding his rhythm and only obtained a 7.73 on his seventh ride of the heat. But after climbing back into contention, Rodrigues slammed the door shut after earning another excellent score of an 8.03 for an 18-point total, also the highest heat total of the event. To the dismay of the fans, both Ribeiro and Toledo were eliminated from competition.

Michael Rodriguez © WSL/Smorigo

"The wave came and I didn’t have priority," stated Rodrigues. "I was in between Toledo and Yeomans and saw that they weren’t going for it, so I paddled hard, made the drop, did a big carve and saw this big section coming. I knew it was going to be a tough one, but I was able to land it. I knew it was going to be a good score because of my final maneuver and the wave size, but I didn’t know it was going to be that big."

The young surfer currently residing in Florianopolis went into the Oi HD São Paulo Open sitting in 16th on the QS ranking and expressed his opinion in regards to his future.

"I’ve been saying since Portugal that I’m not thinking about results at these events. I believe that results come from all the hard work you put in. I feel like I’ve been very dedicated and I’m doing my best to make it onto the CT. If it doesn’t happen this year, it’ll happen next year, or whenever God says the right time is."

In contrast to Rodrigues, Miguel Pupo (BRA) has already made the leap onto the elite division, but is looking for a considerable result at the QS 10,000 in Maresias to maintain his status on the CT through requalification on the WSL Qualifying Series. Growing up surfing the beachbreaks in São Sebastião, Pupo’s local knowledge came into play as he scored a 9.70 on a huge air reverse after getting a 7.00 ride earlier for a 16.70 total in Heat 11 of Round 2.

Messias Felix (BRA) advanced in 2nd place with a 15.83 total, eliminating Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI).

Adriano de Souza © WSL/Smorigo

"I didn’t have priority and Messias (Felix) got two good scores on the airs, so I thought I could do the same, said Pupo. "On that wave I kind of went too big, but I still landed it, so I was stoked. Every heat I make is a huge step for me in the rankings. I need to get to the Quarters or better, so let’s do it. I’m at home, I’m ready, I feel good, I’m sleeping in my own bed and my Mom’s cooking for me everyday, so I just have to go out there and have fun and do my best."

Pupo is excited to be competing in Maresias, especially after his younger brother, Samuel Pupo, won the Trials and made it into the main event.

"It’s amazing being here. If it weren’t for this event, I wouldn’t be here. I would’ve been in Hawaii already. I’d like to thank all the sponsors for running the event here," continued Pupo. "It’s definitely helped me out a lot to come here, take a rest, but still compete. I was super stoked that Samuel won the Trials. We were trying to get him in as a wildcard, but he was too young. He went for it, got his waves and had some close calls. Then he had a hard first heat, but I think he did well to handle the pressure. And that got me so psyched for the event and I’m happy that I’ve got my family with me."

Another local surfer that performed well on Friday was current World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA). In Heat 3 of Round 3, Medina started off slow but once he took to the air, he obtained a 17.67 total (8.67 + 9.00) on his two best rides. Thomas Woods (AUS) also advanced into Round 4, defeating Willian Cardoso (BRA) in the process.

"Yeah that was fun. I’ve been training my airs and in that heat I found some good ramps to try them," said Medina, who tried a variety of airs including a straight air, an air reverse and a rodeo clown. "I’m stoked that I got two high scores and made it through, especially surfing like this with airs and turns. I was watching the heat before and it was hard to find good ones. So I went out there looking for the lefts. I wanted to keep busy and it worked. A lot of waves came through so it helps."

When asked about his recent aerial performances: "I lost a little weight," said Medina. "I think it’s because of all these heats recently. The European leg was good for me, I had a lot of heats there, but now I need to get strong for Hawaii."

Adriano de Souza (BRA) rounded off the list of top-ranked CT surfers competing at the Oi HD São Paulo Open of Surfing with a solid performance. De Souza has guaranteed a spot into Round 4 and is looking to keep his pace throughout the weekend at Maresias.

"My strategy was to get two waves with good scoring potential right at the start," De Souza said. "I knew the tide was changing so each wave was crucial. I’m glad that I made it to tomorrow, the forecast looks good, so I can’t wait."

De Souza commented on his recent work with a new coaching staff and his connection with Ricardo dos Santos, who passed away in the beginning of 2015:

"I’ve been working with Aprimore Surf since July. It’s been very helpful. Ricardo (Dos Santos) worked with the same coach. It’s like a family and it’s been working out well. Ricardo is my guardian angel. We were very close friends. I remember going to Tahiti when I was 18 and he was 15. I was already on Tour and was in Tahiti to practice and he was charging like crazy at 15, so he really pushed me a lot.

That year really stuck with me. We stayed at a house together there and we both got magazine covers when we got back to Brazil. After that he became one of the best surfers in those kinds of waves. I saw the whole process and we always supported each other. It was a really sad day when he passed away. It’s been tough for us to get past, but I’m sure he’s happy and smiling with the success we’ve been having."

A call is set for 8:00 am local time on Saturday for continuation of the WSL Men’s QS 10,000 Oi HD São Paulo Open of Surfing. The man-on-man matchups will begin in Round 4 with Keanu Asing (HAW) facing up against Conner Coffin (USA), who moved up into the Top 10 on the QS rankings in Heat 1 of the day.

Oi HD Sao Paulo Open of Surfing, World Surf Legue QS 10, 000 Men's Event, Sao Sebastiao, Maresias, Sao Paulo Brazil
Gabriel Gontijo

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