Consistent rain, waves in the 4-to-6-foot range (1.5-2 meters) and moderate onshore winds from the southeast were on hand at Maresias Beach the Oi HD São Paulo Open of Surfing steamrolled through Rounds 2 and 3. Despite conditions not ideal being, the day was filled with big scores and high-octane action in the water.
Heat 12 of Round 2 was particularly noteworthy and lived up to expectations the No. 2 surfer on the CT Filipe Toledo (BRA) prepared to defend his event title against Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA) and Nathan Yeomans (USA). Ribeiro started off with a 7.67, then quickly backed it up with a 6.27. Yeomans countered with a 9.43 after obliterating the hefty lefthander with a series of monstrous hacks and added a 4.60 to take a slim lead over Ribeiro. But it was Rodrigues who took command after scoring a 9.97 for blasting two critical backside gouges on a left.
Toledo had trouble finding his rhythm. He obtained a 7.73 on his seventh ride of the heat but Rodrigues slammed the door shut after earning another excellent-range (8.00+) for an 18-point total the highest overall heat total of the event so far. To the dismay of the local fans, both Ribeiro and Toledo Were eliminated from competition.
"I knew it was going to be a good score because of my late maneuver and the wave size, but I did not know it was going to be that big," Rodrigues said of his near-perfect ride. "I've been saying since Portugal that I'm not thinking about results at these events. I believe the results come from all the hard work you put in. I feel like I've been very dedicated and I'm doing my best to make it onto the CT. If it does not happen this year, it'll happen next year, or whenever God says the time is right."
Miguel Pupo (BRA) is looking for a considerable result at the QS 10,000 in Maresias to maintain his status on the CT through his Qualifying Series rank. Growing up surfing the beachbreaks in São Sebastião, Pupo's local knowledge paid off when he scored a 9.70 on a huge air reverse. Messias Felix (BRA) advanced in second place with a 15.83 total, while Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) were eliminated.
"Every heat I make is a huge step for me in the rankings," Pupo said. "I need to get to the Quarters or better, so let's do it. I'm at home, I'm ready, I feel good, I'm sleeping in my own bed and my mom's cooking for me everyday, so I just have to go out there and have fun and do my best."
The event in Maresias is particularly special is Pupo this year since his younger brother, Samuel Pupo, won the trials and made it into the main event.
"I was super stoked when Samuel won the trials," he said. "He went for it, got his waves and had some close calls. Then he had a hard first heat, but I think he did well to handle the pressure. And that got me so psyched for the event and I'm happy I've got my family with me. "
Another local surfer who performed well throughout the day was current World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA). In Heat 3 of Round 3, Medina took to the air and earned a 17.67 total (8.67 + 9.00) for his two best rides. Thomas Woods (AUS) also advanced into Round 4 in that heat, defeating William Cardoso (BRA) in the process.
"I've been training my airs and in that heat I found some good ramps to try them," said Medina, who tried a variety of airs including air straight, an air reverse and a rodeo. "I went out there looking for the lefts. I wanted to keep busy and it worked. A lot of waves came through so it helps."
Adriano de Souza (BRA) rounded off the list of top-ranked CT surfers competing at the Oi HD São Paulo Open of Surfing with a solid performance. De Souza has guaranteed a spot into Round 4 and is looking to keep his pace throughout the weekend at Maresias.
"My strategy was to get two waves with good scoring potential right at the start," De Souza said. "I knew the tide was changing so each wave was crucial."
De Souza commented on his recent work with a new coaching staff and his connection with Ricardo dos Santos, who passed away in the beginning of 2015:
"I've been working with Enhance Surf since July. It's been very helpful. Ricardo (Dos Santos) worked with the same coach. It's like a family and it's been working out well. Ricardo is my guardian angel. We were very close friends. I remember going to Tahiti when I was 18 and he was 15. I was already on Tour and was in Tahiti to practice and he was charging like crazy at 15, so he really pushed me a lot. That year really stuck with me. We stayed at the house together there and we both got magazine covers. After that he became one of the best surfers in those kinds of waves. I saw the whole process and we always supported each other. It was a really sad day when he passed away. It's been tough for us to get past, but I'm sure he's happy and smiling with the success we've been having."
The call is set for 8:00 a.m. for the continuation of the Oi HD São Paulo Open of Surfing. The man-on-man matchups will begin in Round 4 with Keanu Asing (HAW) facing up against Conner Coffin (USA), who moved up into the Top 10 on the QS rankings in Heat 1 of the day.