The Women athletes finally got the chance to hit the water on Day 4 of the Heroes de Mayo Iquique Pro on Thursday. The surfers were greeted with rippable waves in the 2-3 foot range that still provided some extra punch over the shallow reef at La Punta. In these types of conditions, the young Hawaiian Gabriela Bryan (HAW) stood out amongst the rest by earning the highest scores of the day in both the QS 1500 and the Pro Junior divisions. Throughout the day, Bryan surfed in four heats - winning all of them and increasing her heat score each time.
"The waves are actually really fun. It's so good to be able to surf with just a few other girls out and I'm really happy there are good waves," said Bryan after her Round 2 victory. "I'm just trying to be really selective on my waves and not really let them go to waste. I did get some opportunities, so you really have to capitalize on them. The city is so cool and this is my first time to South America, it's really awesome. The waves here are kind of like Hawaii, powerful and with a lot of reefs all around."
Another surfer that is competing in both the Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior divisions is Daniela Rosas (PER), who currently leads the WSL South America QS rankings. The 17-year old showed some pizazz on her forehand with some serious carves on the steeper faced waves. However, her road to the podium will be contested in her Round 3 heat which will include the two-time WSL South America Champion, Dominic Barona (ECU) and last year's event winner, Autumn Hays (USA).
"It's such a good feeling to begin a contest with a win," said Rosas. "The waves are a little smaller than the last few days, but it's still super fun out there. It's extra special for me to be here defending my lead in the rankings. I'm trying to build experience every time I compete and being here is a good opportunity to increase my points on both the QS and the Pro Junior. The waves here are so good and as athletes, that's exactly what we want at a contest."
The current WSL South America Pro Junior rankings leader, Tainá Hinckel (BRA) went through quite an emotional roller-coaster on Thursday. After suffering from a stomach virus the last few days, the Brazilian wasn't even able to get some practice time in the water. But when the horn sounded to start competition, Hinckel was able to advance in both her QS and Pro Junior heats. The young surfer hailing from Guarda do Embaú confessed that she gave added effort today since it was the birthday of her home break's local legend, the heavy-wave charger Ricardo dos Santos (BRA), who was tragically murdered in 2015.
"Without a doubt today was an extremely difficult day for me. I was vomiting 5 minutes before my heat started. I haven't been able to eat for the past two days and to add to that, I lost my contact lenses, so my vision is all messed up," Hinckel confessed. "This morning I woke up and felt like I wasn't going to be able to compete. But today is Ricardinho's birthday, so I knew I could use his memory as an added motive to try my hardest."
A call is set for 8:00 am local time for continuation of the 2019 Heroes de Mayo Iquique Pro.