Rip Curl Pro Argentina
World Surf League QS1500 Men's Event
Mar del Plata, Argentina
25 - 28 March 2016
Action Intensifies as the Rip Curl Pro Argentina Returns
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 March, 2016 - The QS 1500 in Mar del Plata is underway at the first event of the 2016 WSL South America Surf Season. On Thursday, intense winds throughout the night provided an increase in swell, which brought on captivating surfing at Playa Grande, Mar del Plata on Day 2 of the QS 1500 Rip Curl Pro Argentina.
Sixteen heats were completed in waves in the 2-3 foot range (1 meter) as the competition moved into Round 2, where the top seeds took to the water at the World Surf League event in Argentina.
The audience on the beach witnessed an action-packed day of competition including several come-from-behind victories, last second heroics and major upsets as 82 surfers from ten different countries began the race to take home a share of U$ 25,000 in prize money and vital WSL Qualifying Series ranking points.
However today, no one was hotter in the water than Flavio Nakagima (BRA), who dominated the line-up and earned the day’s highest single-wave score of a 9.00 after throwing several airs on the lefthanders at Biologia, then backed it up with some wicked hacks for a 7.50 and a total of 16.50, the event’s highest heat score.
"I’m so happy to be here once again," Nakagima said. "It’s really beautiful here and I was able to find some great waves that let me show my ability. This is the fourth time that I’m competing at this event. I got a 5th in 2013, but I was injured for the past two editions. Now I feel like I’m at 100% physically and I’m looking for another good result again. I’d like to thank all my friends and family that are watching the webcast and stay tuned because there’s more tomorrow."
Argentinean surfers felt the support from the local crowd in each of their heats. Not known as a powerhouse in the surfing world, Argentina has been steadily producing quality athletes from within. Six hometown athletes who advanced in competition were Maximiliano Siri (ARG), Joaquin Juarez (ARG), Mariano Arreyes (ARG), Brian Masmut, Martin Passeri (ARG) and Sebastian Ventura (ARG).
"I’m so stoked that I won that heat. It’s good to build confidence for the rest of the event," said Ventura, a local surfer from Mar del Plata. "My entire family is here rooting for me, as well as for all the other Argentineans, so it’s awesome to have such a good start. Thanks to that’s everyone supporting me and I hope to keep it up for the following days because this is such an important event for our city, so I hope I keep advancing."
Jacob Wilcox (AUS) opened up Round 2 with a solid victory in Heat 1 by scoring a 7.15 followed by a 7.00 for a 14.15 total to take first place. Jeronimo Vargas (BRA), who achieved recent internet recognition for coming out of a super-deep Backdoor pit behind Koa Smith (HAW), advanced in 2nd place while Tales Araujo (BRA) and Joao Chianca (BRA) were eliminated from competition.
"I was just trying to catch as many waves as I could. I couldn’t really hear much out there because of the wind, and when I could, it was in a different language, so it was kind of confusing," declared an amused Wilcox.
"I was happy with the few waves I got, but hopefully I’ll just keep building throughout my next heats. I arrived here about 3 or 4 days ago, so it’s been really good to get a feel for the waves. It’s very cool, pretty different to the places I’ve been going to lately. Everyone’s really friendly and although the waves are kind of hard, I think they’re going to get better in the next few days. I’ve been riding Darren Handley’s boards lately on the Australian QS events and they’ve been working well here. I love working with him because he’s a nice bloke and really puts a lot of effort into his boards."
Along with Wilcox and Nakagima, the other top seeded surfers that advanced into Round 3 were: Facundo Arreyes (ARG), Caetano Vargas (BRA), Hizunome Bettero (BRA), Weslley Dantas (BRA), Wesley Santos (BRA), Yage Araujo (BRA), Raphael Seixas (BRA), Victor Mendes, Alonso Correa (PER), Sebastian Correa, Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF), Manuel Selman (CHL) and Yago Dora (BRA), who remained in last place in his heat until the final minute where his stylish and progressive surfing catapulted him into first place in Heat 6 of Round 2.
Competition at the WSL QS 1500 Rip Curl Pro Argentina continues on Friday with a call set for 8:00 am local time. Watch all the action live at: www.worldsurfleague.com