Beautiful conditions with sunny skies and high-performance waves in the 3-4 foot range (1 meter) greeted the competitors on Saturday for Day 1 of the WSL Women's QS 1,000 Neutrox Weekend at Praia da Tiririca in Itacaré, Bahia. Intense action in Round 1determined the Quarterfinalists at the WSL South America sanctioned event.
Dominic Barona (ECU) is on another level this year. She currently sits in 18th place on the Qualifying Series rankings after winning events in Argentina and Peru in addition to two runner-up results in Chile and South Africa. Barona continued her torrid pace by guaranteeing a spot in the Quarterfinals by winning Heat 1 of Round 1. Advancing along with Barona was Karol Ribeiro (BRA) in 2nd place.
"I'm so happy to be here, it's my first time in Itacaré. I'd like to thank the organizers for putting on such a great event. The waves were incredible in my heat and after I got that 7-point ride, I was able to relax a little more and surf without putting pressure on myself," said Barona. "With these types of waves, the girls are gonna rip and the contest will be super fun," said the WSL South America rankings leader.
Barona will now face Lucia Indurain (ARG) in Heat 1 of the Quarterfinals. Indurain and Evelyn Gontier (ARG) are the only two athletes from Argentina left in the competition. Gontier will face Taís Almeida (BRA), who had a chance to compete at the Championship Tour event in Saquarema earlier this year as a wildcard.
Another athlete that has spent time competing against seasoned CT athletes this year is the 15-year old wunderkind from Guarda do Embaú, Tainá Hinckel (BRA). Although accustomed to the peeling lefts at her local break, Hinckel took advantage of the steep righthanders on offer at Praia de Tiririca to take first place in Heat 4 of Round 1.
"I was at this event last year and got a 3rd place result at the QS contest and I won the Pro Junior event. It's great to see Neutrox returning this year as a sponsor, especially with two events this year. The waves are fun and it's always a pleasure coming to Itacaré, this place is beautiful and the weather is great," said Hinckel, who is leading the charge in the next generation of women's surfing in Brazil.
Tainá will now face Camila Cassia (BRA) in their Quarterfinal matchup, while Karol Ribeiro (BRA) will face up against Monik Santos (BRA) in the remaining heat on the final day of competition on Sunday.
This is the first of two confirmed Neutrox Weekend Women's QS 1,000 events. The following will take place at Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro in September. Both events are valid towards the 2018 WSL South America Title with the winner receiving automatic entry into all QS 10,000 and QS 6,000 rated events in 2019.
A call is set for 9:30 am local time on Sunday.