Despite a slight decrease in swell size, rippable waves in the 3-4 foot range (1 metre) continued to materialize at the ASP 2014 Quiksilver Saquarema Prime presented by Powerade in Itauna Beach, Saquarema, Brazil. Keanu Asing (HAW) had a standout performance by once again posting the day's highest scores. In Round 4, Asing scored a 9.50 on a single wave and finished with a heat total of 17.50 to defeat Beyrick de Vries (ZAF).
Alex Ribeiro (BRA), who currently leads the 2014 ASP South America Series, has been impressing the judges throughout the event with flawless carves and pinpoint precision.
"It's really similar to 2012 for me, where my opponent had the lead, but I was able to get the victory in the final minutes of the heat," said Ribeiro, who is scheduled to face Gonzalo Zubizarreta (ESP) in Heat 1 of the Round of 16. "The sets took longer today to come in, but when they did, the waves were perfect."
Fellow Brazilian and ex-World Championship Tour (WCT) competitor, Heitor Alves, has been in top form and has also secured himself a spot into Round of 16.
"Last year wasn't easy for me. I had two injuries that brought me down in the rankings, but I've been using it as motivation for this year," said Alves. "I've never been as focused as I am now and my only goal is to get back onto the WCT."
"It felt incredible to win the heat over those guys," said Christie. "Matt (Banting) has been surfing great and is second on the QS rankings, and I've been watching Chris Ward surf since I was kid. He's definitely one of my idols."
Perth Standlick (AUS) also had an eye-opener when he was informed that he was the lone remaining Australian surfer at the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime. The last three event winners have been Australian: Kai Otton in 2011, Matt Wilkninson in 2012 and Mitch Coleborn in 2013.
"I've been keeping my eye on conditions before my heats and I try to form a strategy in my head," stated Standlick. "I received some tips about the lefts here at Saquarema, but with this swell direction the rights have been pretty good as well."
A call is set for 7:30am (local time) on Friday for an assessment of conditions.
The 2014 ASP Quiksilver Saquarema Prime presented by Powerade is brought to you by the Brazilian Association of Surfing Professionals (ABRASP) and sponsored by the State of Rio de Janeiro, the City of Saquarema, Powerade, Quiksilver, Peugeot and Barra GR Hygiene and Cleaning and is supported by CCR Via Lagos, the Rio de Janeiro Surf Federation (FESERJ) and the Saquarema Surf Association (ASS). The event is organized by the ASP South America as the first 2014 ASP World Prime event and offers U$ 250,000 in prize money and 6,500 points towards the ASP Qualifying Series ranking. The Quiksilver Saquarema Prime is broadcast live via www.aspworldtour.com