Hawaiian Mason Ho and Portuguese surfer Vasco Ribeiro, who are both on the Qualifying Series (QS), will paddle out with the Championship Tour (CT) surfers next week as wildcards for the Moche Rip Curl Pro.
The contest's waiting period runs from Tuesday, October 20 - 31, and starts just days after the CT contests in France wrapped up. The Moche Rip Curl Pro will be the second CT event that Ho, age 27, will have competed in this season. He last surfed against the world's best at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in April, where he defeated current World No. 1 Mick Fanning (AUS) in Round 1. Ho's Bells Beach run ended in Round 3, when Gabriel Medina (BRA) defeated him.
"I just got news about the Portugal event and I'm amping," Ho said. "Dad [Michael Ho, Hawaiian icon and former WSL surfer] is super stoked as well. Hope we get some bombing swell and all that other good stuff down there."
Ribeiro, meanwhile, has been a standout surfer in a young but very full career. In 2014, he won the World Junior Championships, defeating a field of the best up-and-coming surf talents worldwide. More recently at the Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais, a top-tier QS contest, he impressed with a Round 4 performance that made the most of small-scale surf and earned a 9.73.
Along with the wildcards, the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal will include five replacement surfers who will compete for Taj Burrow (AUS) who's welcoming his first child; Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW), who's taking off the rest of the 2015 CT contests; plus Jordy Smith (ZAF), Matt Banting (AUS), and Dusty Payne (HAW), all of whom are out with injury.
The replacement surfers include Tomas Hermes (BRA) (WSL Replacement No. 2); Aritz Aranburu (ESP) (WSL Replacement #3); Caio Ibelli (BRA) (highest-ranked QS surfer not yet in the event); Frederico Morais (PRT) (highest-ranked QS surfer from Portugal not yet in the event); Tiago Pires (longtime Portuguese CT surfer).