To the delight of the crowds at Praia do Santinho, the rain subsided and the sun finally made its appearance at the Red Nose Pro Florianopolis SC presented by Costao do Santinho Resort. Despite sunny skies, the athletes were faced with waves in the 2-foot range (0.5 meter) and strong winds from the south at the World Surf League QS 6000 event in Brazil.
Deivid Silva (BRA) is part of the new crop of young Brazilian surfers that have been impressing judges and surf fans alike. His lightning quick turns and fiery air game earned him an 8.50 and a 7.87 for the highest heat total of the day, a 16.37 in Heat 1 of Round 4. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) advanced in 2nd place, eliminating Hiroto Ohhara (JAP) in the process.
"The swell has gotten really small, but I'm stoked that I found good enough waves to win the heat," declared Silva, who is a two-time WSL South America Pro Junior Champion (2014 and 2015). "The judges have been giving high scores to people that surf fast and throw big maneuvers. With the wind from the south today, it was perfect for launching airs on the lefts. I'm happy to be representing Red Nose here and I'm ready for the next round."
Heat 7 of Round 4 was a high scoring affair as former CT surfer Heitor Alves (BRA) earned the highest single wave score of the day, a 9.47 for throwing explosive turns. But with only a mid-range 6.50 backup, it was Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) who was victorious by obtaining a 7.50 and an 8.80 for a 16.30 total. Eliminated was Cory Arrambide (USA), who had looked strong throughout the Red Nose Pro at Praia do Santinho.
Paul Cesar Distinguin (FRA) had a last ditch effort to jump from last to first in the dying moments of Heat 4 in Round 4. Seconds before the horn blew, Distinguin blasted turns all the way to the sand for a victory alongside Marco Giorgi (URY), eliminating Jesse Mendes (BRA).
"It was a last second victory, it feels so good, especially here," said Distinguin. "It's very hard to find some good waves. I tried to get a bigger one, but it wasn't so good. So I paddled farther in and I got that one closer to the shore at the end of the heat and I did everything I could on that wave and I jumped from 3rd to 1st place. I hope my Brazilian mojo continues for the next heat."
The WSL QS rankings will definitely see some moving and shaking as several athletes within the Top-30 were eliminated, while other surfers are looking to take advantage of this opportunity to solidify their spot in the standings. Only the Top-10 surfers on the QS will qualify for the 2016 Championship Tour when the 2015 Surfing Season comes to a close.
Ryan Callinan (AUS - 10th), Maxime Huscenot (FRA - 12th), Joan Duru (FRA - 13th), Tanner Hendrickson (HAW - 15th), Davey Cathels (AUS - 16th), Nathan Yeomans (USA - 20th), Dion Atkinson (AUS - 24th), Hiroto Ohhara (JAP - 25th), Soli Bailey (AUS - 26th), Jesse Mendes (BRA - 27th) and Pedro Henrique (PRT - 29th) have all been ousted from competition at the Red Nose Pro.
One surfer to make up ground in the standings was Evan Geiselman (USA). In Heat 5 of Round 4, Geiselman advanced in 2nd place behind Bino Lopes (BRA). Geiselman will now face Michael Rodrigues (BRA) in Round 5. Whichever athlete makes it to the Quarterfinals will earn a spot in the Top-10.
"It was good to advance to the next round, even if it was in 2nd, stated Geiselman. "I think that any result I get here will be a keeper. I'm psyched. In these events you've got to make the Semis or the Finals if you want to make the Tour. I'm taking it one heat at a time, but I've got to win my next heat because it'll be man on man. I'm happy to advance."
In Heat 6 of Round 4, local surfer Michael Rodrigues (BRA), who is defending his title of the QS Event in Santa Catarina (held last year at Praia da Joaquina) took first place and looks determined for a repeat title. Stu Kennedy (AUS) who advanced in 2nd needs a Semifinal finish to make it into the Top-10 on the QS rankings.
"You don't want to lose a 3-man heat," said Kennedy. "I lost my last one in Cascais (Portugal) and it doesn't feel very nice. I had to redeem myself. Hopefully I can start getting some bigger scores and make it to the Finals. Things are tricky out there. I gave Michael (Rodrigues) the first wave and he got an 8.77 and it didn't look really good at the beginning, but he blew it up. I was kind of kicking myself. But luckily I got that 8.00, backed it up with a 6.00, and at the end of the day I was able to advance to the next round."
In Heat 8 of Round 4, former CT surfer Patrick Gudauskas (USA) took command of an early lead and never relinquished his grasp until the horn sounded. Looking to return to the elite tour, Gudauskas is after a solid result.
"That heat was really hard, but I just tried to keep it light and have fun," said Gudauskas. "It was kind of like being back at home on a bad day at T Street. It means a lot for me to get a good result here. We put on a grom event every year back home and it's going on right now, so it was a hard decision to come down here. I'm psyched to be moving on. I definitely feel like I belong on the CT and I'm trying really hard to get back, so that's the main reason I came down here. It's still a long ways away so I'm just taking it one wave at a time till the end of the year."
Sunday will be Finals Day at the WSL Men's QS 6000 Red Nose Pro Florianopolis SC presented by Costao do Santinho Resort. Heat 1 will see the two highest ranked surfers still in competition: Alex Ribeiro (BRA), currently ranked in 5th and Igarashi, who has already jumped one position to 6th place on the QS rankings.
The Red Nose Pro will distribute U$150,000 in prize money with U$25,000 going to the event winner in addition to 6,000 points valid towards the WSL Qualifying Series ranking.