A promising swell is expected to land later this week at Barra da Tijuca for the start of the 2019 Oi Pro Junior Series from May 10 - 12 in Rio de Janeiro. This will be the first of four events that will contribute to determining the 2019 WSL South America Pro Junior Champions. In addition to the under-18 Men's and Women's Combined Events, the Oi Longboard Pro will also be run at Barra da Tijuca and in Maresias, São Paulo to determine the Men's and Women's Regional Champions as well.
The talent-level of the athletes coming up the ranks are off the charts, led by Tainá Hinckel (BRA), winner of the WSL South America Pro Junior Title in 2016, and the current forerunner, Sol Aguirre (PER), who is a two-time WSL South America Pro Junior Champion, winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
"My goal this year on the Pro Juniors is to compete at the highest level possible and qualify for a spot at the WSL World Junior Championships in Taiwan," said Aguirre. "If I can get there and become the South America Champion in the process, it'd be even better. But I'm not trying to add any unnecessary pressure or freak myself out in winning a third title. Actually, winning twice has already given me a peace of mind and an inner self confidence to compete without any pressure."
The Peruvian continued by talking about the importance of an increased calendar of events in the region.
"I'd like to thank Oi and WSL South America for all the hard work they've been doing to add all these events to our category. It's important to have contests in different types of waves to give us athletes more experience. I enjoy going to Brazil and the Brazilians have always made me feel completely at home. At the same time, competing far from home is tough because I end up missing a lot of classes and international flights are more expensive. Hopefully, some events will also be confirmed in Peru to keep the series balanced out," concluded Aguirre.
Both Aguirre and Hinckel were born in 2003. Reaching 16-years of age in 2019, they still have two seasons left to compete on the WSL Junior Tour. Hinckel turns 16 on May 8th, while Aguirre celebrates her birthday on July 18th, right after the 2nd event of the Oi Pro Junior Series set for July 12 - 14 at Stella Maris, in Salvador, Bahia. The remaining events will take place in Florianopolis from October 11 - 13 and Maresias, São Paulo on November 8 - 10.
"It's amazing that Oi is supporting the future of surfing in Brazil by throwing four contests this year," declared Hinckel, who is sponsored by Oi, as well as WSL World Champions Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Adriano de Souza (BRA). "The more opportunities we get to compete, the better chance we have of qualifying for the Championships in Taiwan. I have no doubt that the competition will be intense, but I've been preparing myself mentally and physically to be at 100% and compete to the best of my abilities. I hope to win another WSL South America Title this year and I'm ready for a good start in Rio de Janeiro," Hinckel finished off.
On the subject of title winners, Phil Rajzman (BRA) and Piccolo Clemente (PER), both 2-time WSL World Longboard Tour Champions, will be competing at the Oi Longboard Pro at Barra da Tijuca this weekend. Both have also clinched WSL South America Titles, Rajzman being the current belt-holder after winning in 2018.
In the Women's division, the carioca Chloé Calmon (BRA), is the current 2019 WSL Longboard Tour rankings leader and is the local favorite to win in Rio. However, she will have stiff competition with the likes of 3-time WSL South America Longboard Champion, Atalanta Batista (BRA) in her way.
The Oi Pro Junior Series and the Oi Longboard Pro are sanctioned by WSL South America and are sponsored by Oi with the support of Subway, the City of Rio de Janeiro and the Rio de Janeiro Surfing Federation. All events of the Oi Pro Junior Series have as media partners Waves.com and will be broadcast live via www.worldsurfleague.com and www.waves.com.br
List of WSL South America Pro Junior Champions:
2018: Samuel Pupo (BRA) and Sol Aguirre (PER) 2017: Mateus Herdy (BRA) and Sol Aguirre (PER) 2016: Weslley Dantas (BRA) and Tainá Hinckel (BRA) 2015 - Deivid Silva (BRA) and Miluska Tello (PER) 2014 - Deivid Silva (BRA) and Miluska Tello (PER) 2013 - Luan Wood (BRA) and Melanie Giunta (PER) 2012 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Rosanny Alvarez (VEN) 2011 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Gabriela Leite (BRA) 2010 - Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Diana Cristina (BRA) 2009 - Alejo Muniz (BRA) and Diana Cristina (BRA) 2008 - Alex Ribeiro (BRA) and Diana Cristina (BRA) 2007 - Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Marina Werneck (BRA) 2006 - Heitor Pereira (BRA) and Anali Gomez (PER) 2005 - Thiago Camarão (BRA) and Taís de Almeida (BRA)
List of WSL South America Longboard Tour Champions:
2018 - No Events 2017 - Phil Rajzman (BRA) and Atalanta Batista (BRA) 2016 - No Events 2015 - Piccolo Clemente (PER) and Atalanta Batista (BRA) 2014 - Piccolo Clemente (PER) and Atalanta Batista (BRA) 2013 - Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 2012 - Jeferson da Silva (BRA) 2011 - Piccolo Clemente (PER) 2010 - Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 2009 - André Luiz Deca (BRA)