On Friday, waves in the 1-2 ft. range (0.5 meters) and strong onshore winds made things difficult for the athletes competing at the WSL Women's QS 1,500 Neutrox Weekend at Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After completing Round 1, the contest was put on hold for two hours to see if conditions would improve. But upon further analysis, event organizers chose to call off competition for the rest of the day with a new call for 8:00 am on Saturday.
In Heat 1 of Round 2, the newly crowned WSL South America Junior Tour Champion Sol Aguirre (PER) will be matched up against Marina Rezende (BRA), Luana dos Santos (BRA) and the only Brazilian surfer on the WSL Women's Championship Tour, Silvana Lima.
"I felt like it was the right decision to wait until tomorrow to see if the waves will get a little better to continue the QS competition," said Lima, who is currently in 1st place on the WSL Qualifying Series Rankings. "Jacqueline Silva came over and even suggested that we run the entire competition on Sunday, since it looks like the best day of the forecast. But I've never seen an entire contest run in one day! We'll see how it looks tomorrow. But regardless of how the waves are, I'm stoked to be competing at home, a bunch of the girls are staying at my place and the whole vibe at the contest is super fun."
True to her word, Silvana looked like she was having a blast as she played "altinha", a popular beach game in Brazil where you try not to let a soccer ball touch the ground. As she and her friends laughed it out on the sand, the 2017 Brazilian National Champion, Luana Coutinho, took first place in Heat 1 of Round 1 despite receiving an interference penalty.
"Earlier in the morning the waves were actually kind of fun, but the onshore wind really messed up the line-up and made things really difficult," said Coutinho. "It was a tough heat and there weren't many good waves to choose from. Luckily, I caught a good one right at the end and I went from last to first. Every heat here on out will be stacked with great surfers. There are no easy heats on the QS and getting the chance to surf against a legend like Silvana (Lima) will be an incredible experience."
In Heat 2 of Round 1, fourteen-year-old Julia Duarte (BRA) is one of the youngest athletes competing at the Neutrox Weekend. Growing up down the beach at Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Duarte looked right at home as she took first place over Luara Thompson (BRA), Alana Pacelli (BRA) and Isabela Saldanha (BRA).
"That was my first ever heat in a QS event and all I wanted to do was advance, so winning it was unbelievable," Duarte stated. "For me, it's a dream to be competing against all of these famous surfers. My goal here is just to get some experience and learn what I can from them."
After competition was called off, focus at the Neutrox Weekend shifted to the Women's Brazilian National Pro Junior, Longboard and SUP Championships. This weekend will determine the titles for all of the divisions listed above.