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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Fri, 11 May 2018

We are back to real waves, swell windows and the business of surfing with the start of the Oi Rio Pro today, as the (BRA)s look to dominate, previews Spike.

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MOSTLY BRAZILIAN STORM: Gabriel Medina, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Australians Tyler Wright and Julian Wilson, Adriano de Souza, Silvana Lima and Italo Ferreira. Photo WSL / Poullenot

The Oi Rio Pro is known for massive crowds and small sloppy waves, but never before in its history will people be sighing salty relief about that, and no less than the many who have a (BRA) after their name. Itaúna Beach in Saquarema, one of the southern region's premier beach breaks, is the venue for the Oi Pro.

The largest telecomms company in South America, with annual revenues of US$7.2 billionIn case you don't know, the curious name Oi represents the largest telecomms company in South America, with annual revenues of US$7.2 billion. Backed by such big bucks, the (BRA)s form a formidable lineup. Caio Ibelli makes it one Brazilian less to worry about on home turf after he broke his foot training before the Margaret River Pro. No wait. We lose one but get three: Miguel Pupo and Wiggolly Dantas, who replace Ibelli and Kelly Slater, and the wildcard is QS leader Alejo Muniz. Slater is still out with his foot injury. Hang on. He was surfing pretty good in his wave pool last weekend? Ha ha. Kelly and Brazil. Aussie Joel Parkinson has withdrawn for personal reasons. He will be replaced like for like by Mikey Wright.


FAN-ATICAL: It's the busiest surf event on the calendar by far. Photo WSL

On the women's side, Courtney Conlogue has withdrawn due to injury from the Gold Coast prior to the start of the season. She will be replaced by French surfer Pauline Ado. The wildcard spot goes to Trails winner Taí­s Almeida, another (BRA).

After the Margaret River Pro was cancelled, Italo Ferreira - a (BRA) - and Julian Wilson (AUS) remain the Jeep Frontrunners. At his home event, Ferreira will undoubtedly be one to watch after the 24-year-old took the win at Bells Beach, a lot further away than the home comfort zone. Wilson hurt his shoulder but won on the Gold Coast and is loose and limber. The 29-year-old will be up against 2018 CT Rookie Jesse Mendes and event wildcard Alejo Muniz, another two (BRA)s.

Defending event winner Adriano de Souza - wait for it (BRA) - will do his thing before the legions of fans against rookies Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Michael February (ZAF) in Round 1. Jordy Smith takes on two more (BRA)s - Tomas Hermes and Miguel Pupo - in his round one heat. Jees, they're everywhere. Speaking of which, Gabriel Medina, 2014 WSL Champion, will no doubt feed off his massive fan base to improve on last year’s 9th.

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2020 DREAMING: Weston-Webb has changed her nationality to Brazilian. Photo WSL / Morigo

With moves to make the Olympics, Hawaiian Tatiana Weston-Webb, 22, recently announced her decision to represent - guess who - Brazil on the CT. This will be her first outing with the Brazilian flag on her jersey. She's surfing against Johanne Defay (FRA) and Keely Andrew (AUS) in Round 1.

Tyler Wright (AUS), two-time WSL Champion, will vie for her third-straight Oi Rio Pro victory to see if she can bounce back into the World Title race at one of her most successful events. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time WSL Champion and current World #1, will be up against Malia Manuel (HAW) and Almeida in Round . The 30-year-old has yet to win a CT in Brazil.

The Oi Rio Pro will be broadcast LIVE on the WSL's Facebook page, www.WorldSurfLeague.com, and the WSL app. Surfline calls for: small surf, barring a "fairly solid SSW swell" that is "possible for the end of next week".

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FUNKY COLD MEDINA: Gabby back in his element: the adoration of his fans. Photo WSL / Poullenot

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Round 1 Matchups
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Caroline Marks (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Taí­s Almeida (BRA)
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA), Sage Erickson (USA), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Keely Andrew (AUS)

Oi Rio Men’s Pro Round 1 Matchups
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW), Joan Duru (FRA), Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF), Conner Coffin (USA), Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 11: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Michael Rodrigues (BRA)

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