A change in venue for the Oi Rio Pro kept the world's elite surfers on their toes for Round One at Saquarema's Itauna Beach. The new beach break location was a mish-mash of two different swells, backwash, and peaky rights and lefts on opening day.
Highlights from an explosive Day One included narrow victories for the world's top two surfers -- World No. 1 John John Florence and No. 2 Jordy Smith. Both Florence and Smith won their Round One heats by mere fractions of a point over event wildcards Yago Dora and Bino Lopes, respectively.
Round Two will feature a number of tasty match-ups, including No. 5 Kolohe Andino vs. wildcard Yago Dora in Heat 1, and lifelong rivals Gabriel Medina vs. Jesse Mendes in Heat 3. Medina and Mendes have been rivals since their amateur days, with Medina looking to continue his dominance over Mendes in the pro ranks after a slow start to Round One.
Over at the Oi Rio Women's Pro, two of the world's best female surfers -- Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright -- struggled in their Round One heats and will be forced to surf in Round Two's elimination heats. Both Coco Ho and Joanne Defay had outstanding Round One heat wins, capitalizing on strong surfing, homegrown insight and superior tactics to move through to Round Three's non-elimination heats.
Conditions for Day Two should be similar to opening day, with a good chance of running on back-to-back days to open the event window. Further down the line, forecasts are projecting a large swell for later in the window, May 15-17th.
Check back at 7:00 a.m. Rio local time, May 10, for more coverage from the Oi Rio Pro.