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Big upsets on Day 1 of South American Longboard Series

Piccolo Clemente © Susu Nasser/WSL




Repalsa Longboard Pro

WSL South America Longboard Series
Huanchaco, La Libertad Peru
13 - 16 February 2015

Check the Live Action

Peruvians Take Command as Event Kicks Off at Huanchaco

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 February, 2015 - Huanchaco, La Libertad Peru - After an initial lay day in the waiting period, quality waves in the 3-4 foot range (1 meter) were on hand for the first day of competition at the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Men’s and Women’s Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro presented by Claro and Samsung at Playa El Elio, Peru.

In the Men’s division, local surfer and the 2013 WSL Longboard Tour (LT) world champion, Piccolo Clemente (PER) lived up to expectations as he plowed through competition after earning the highest scores in Round 1 and Round 2 (15.50 followed by 16.00 respectively) and has guaranteed a spot in the Quarterfinals.

"I’m very happy with the conditions today and I’m stoked that the waves came my way," said Clemente. "Tomorrow the man-on-man phase begins and we’ll see how things will turn out. I want to maintain the same strategy and keep increasing my scores little by little. This is my beach and it feels amazing to have all the support from the crowd behind me." Clemente, who has already won the WSL South America Longboard title twice, will face fellow two-time continental champion, Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA), in Heat 1 of the Quarterfinals.

"It feels great to back here for another year in such a beautiful place and surrounded by great friends," declared Sphaier. "I didn’t feel like I had the best wave selection during my heats, but I’m happy that I’ve made it this far. Clemente and I have both won this event twice, so we’re both going for the tiebreaker. In the water, we both want to win, but on land we’re very close friends."

Huge upsets took place today as respected surfers Tony Silvagni (USA) and Phil Rajzman (BRA) were eliminated from competition at the Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro. Lucas Garrido Lecca (PER) channeled some historic soul by repeatedly "hanging-five" to score the day’s second highest heat total (15.75) to eliminate Silvagni.

"I was analyzing the conditions with my coach, Renato Quezada, and we’ve been obtaining some good results so far," claimed Lecca. I think that the waves were better in the morning, but Huanchaco always provides great waves. My goal has been to start strong in each heat against my opponents so I can build up my confidence for a solid finish."

Rajzman, who claimed the 2007 WSL LT title, has made it to the Finals for the past two years at Huanchaco, and also made it to the Finals at the 2014 world championship in China. However, Rajzman was not able to summon a set with enough scoring potential and was subsequently eliminated by fellow-Brazilian, Matheus Cunha (BRA).

"This is my fifth time to Peru and it always feels exciting to be here," remarked Cunha. "I couldn’t make it to the event last year, so there was no way I was missing it again this year. I’ve gotten close to winning it in the past, so reaching 1st place is definitely something I hope to achieve. The waves here are very similar to my home break in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro. The long lefts here make me feel completely at home."

In the Women’s division, the defending 2014 WSL South America Longboard champion, Atalanta Batista left no doubt about her determination to claim the title once again as she stomped her way to the Semifinals. She will now face Cristina Pires (BRA) in Heat 1. In Heat 2 of the Semifinals, it will be youth matched up against experience, as Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) will face Karina Abras (BRA) in a highly anticipated matchup.

"This is the first time I ever competed in a woman-on-woman heat, so I’m still trying to figure out my strategy when it comes to priority," stated Reyes. "On my best wave, I didn’t know if I should’ve gone for it or not. I wanted to pull a "hang-ten", but the wave has a really fast section here that makes it hard to handle the board once it hits the sandbar. I was nervous before, but I’m stoked to make it to the Semifinals."

Competition will continue tomorrow (Saturday) for completion of the 2015 WSL Men’s and Women’s Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro presented by Claro and Samsung at Playa El Elio, Peru. 

Gabriel Gontijo

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