The event's top seeds at the World Surf League (WSL) Claro Open Pro - Copa Tubos hit the water on Day 3 of the competition and they left their mark as they reached the highest scores of the event so far. The consistent swell at the lefthand pointbreak of Señoritas in Punta Hermosa, Peru has delivered waves in the 6-foot range (2 meters) and long walls where the athletes can let loose on a series of major maneuvers down the line.
Former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Alex Ribeiro (BRA) currently sits in 5th place on the Qualifying Series (QS) rankings after winning the Burton Automotive Pro in Australia. He has maintained his form in Peru and scored a 15.04 (out of a possible 20 points) for the highest heat total of the day in Heat 4 of Round 5. Ricardo Cruzado (PER) advanced in 2nd place, eliminating Jake Elkington (ZAF) and Brian Perez (SLV) from the competition.
"Oh man, I've been waiting all day to hit the water," said a jubilant Ribeiro. "It's tough to be in the last heat of the day with great waves right in front of you all day long. It feels amazing to surf these lefts, my boards feel really good and the waves have been way better than most contests on the QS."
After his victory at the QS 6,000 in Australia, Ribeiro is on pace to return to the elite tour in 2020. He commented on his time on the CT and expectations regarding the possibility of getting back on Tour.
"It was kind of tough because just a few days before the event on the Gold Coast, I got finned on my tendon which left a nasty cut. I surfed that year in a lot of pain and arrived at some events on crutches. It was still an amazing experience being on tour with the best surfers in the world and even though I know there's still a long year ahead of me, I can't wait to get back on," Ribeiro said.
The Peruvian surfers had the full support from the crowd on the grandstands who cheered them on after each huge turn. The athletes in turn showed off their local knowledge as they picked apart the best waves of the largest sets. Today's standouts were Miguel Tudela, Carlo Zapata, Ricardo Cruzado and Cristobal de Col, who scored an 8.00 from the judges on his best ride.
"I feel kind of relieved to make it past that heat. It was my first of the contest and you're always a little nervous before you get in the water," said De Col. "It was a tough heat with a lot of scores going back and forth, but I'm stoked that I got the win at such a special event here in Peru."
When asked about his excellent scoring ride, Cristobal said, "I knew it was a good one as soon as it rolled in. It hit the reef perfectly and built a steep wall down the line. When you get a wave that good, you really want to rip into it and show some power. I think that's a trait that a lot of the Peruvian surfers have."
Yet some of the most explosive surfing has come from the newest generation of surfers. Barely out of their Pro Junior careers, surfers like João Chianca (BRA), Lucas Silveira (BRA) and Samuel Pupo (BRA) have put on some incredible surfing while having a blast doing it. Pupo's blend of rail-to-rail surfing and a complete aerial game have him on everyone's radar at the Claro Pro Open.
"There were definitely some tide changes during the last few heats with some low scores, so I knew I had to get at least a 6 or 7 to make sure that I'd advance," Pupo said. "It took me a while to get into the groove, but I started off with that 7.5 then after that I just relaxed and looked for a good backup."
A call is set for 7:30 am local time on Saturday for continuation of the WSL QS 3,000 Claro Open Pro - Copa Tubos in Punta Hermosa, Peru. The contest will begin with Peruvians Jhonny Guerrero and local surfer Joaquin Del Castillo matching up against the high-flying Costa Rican Carlos Muñoz and the French powerhouse, Marc Lacomare.