The first edition of the RDS Pro Jr. is on! The only South American selective for the Pro Junior World Championship final started this friday honoring the biggest name the region has ever produced in the sport: the eternal Ricardinho dos Santos.
The emotion took over the event on the first day: all of Ricardinho's friends and family were present. The highlight was the surprise presence of the surfer's younger brother, Martin, with 12 years old, on the 15th heat.
Martin's presence was a tribute to his brother, with no commitment to results. Even so, he set out to make a good effort: "I remembered some tips that my brother gave me and I'm very happy to see this place full of people who liked him," says Martin. Ricardinho and Martin's mother, Luciene, were just smiles. "It's all very special, the way he wants it to be," he said.
Talking about the competition itself, organizers tried to make the most of heats on this first day, as the weather forecast indicates rain for Saturday: the boys completed the first round while the girls completed the round of 16.
Among the first heat winners, no surprise. On the boys site, Samuel Pupo owned the best wave (8.75) and average (15.50) of the day. "It's good to start like this, which gives us more confidence for the rest of the championship. My surfing is good and the judges are enjoying it", says Samuel.
On the foreigners side, Nacho Gundesen was the main competitor. Despite being an Argentine, Nacho speaks fluent Portuguese and felt at home in Guarda. "I have not been surfing here for five years, the wave is strength and it will give all athletes the condition to develop their surfing. I am happy to have passed my heat and now it is time to focus on the next one," he says. Besides him, fellow countryman Juan Ruggiero and Peruvian Jhonny Guerrero Yuri are still alive.
Other surfers have also done well: Brazilians Mateus Herdy, Ryan Kainalo, Pedro Dib, Leo Casal, Lucas Vicente, Kauê Germano, Leonardo Barcelos, Cauã Costa, Vitor Ferreira, João Chianca and Wallace Vasco (in a fierce dispute with Daniel Templar) won their batteries.
From the girls competition, six brazilians qualified for the quarterfinals: Tainá Hinckel, Rafaela Coelho, Yanca Costa, Luara Thompson, Louisie Frumento and Carol Bonelli. Accompanying them in the quarters are Argentina's Catalina Mercere and Peruvian Sol Aguirre. "We got very good waves in the afternoon and it was great to run the event as much as we could on this first day", says Tainá.
38 surfers are still in the competition that continues on Saturday with the first call at 7:30 am (from Brasilia).