On Friday, the first Finalists of the 2019 Heroes de Mayo Iquique Pro were decided at Playa Cavancha, Chile. A full day of competition was dedicated to the Pro Junior divisions in 2-3 foot waves at the La Punta reefbreak. Leo Casal (BRA) displayed a vicious backhand attack, earning an excellent-scoring 8.17 on his way to a 14.84 for the highest heat total of the event. This is Casal's first competition in two months after being sidelined by a severe foot injury.
"It feels great to be back competing after spending so much time away from the water," Casal said. "The waves are amazing here and the entire event has been so much fun. I've been feeling more confident after each heat and I really want to let loose in the Final on Sunday."
The young surfer from Santa Catarina, Brazil will be faced up against another local hailing from Florianópolis, Lucas Vicente (BRA), who can mathematically come out of Iquique as rankings leader of both the WSL South America Qualifying Series and Pro Junior divisions.
"It's been a great day. A little exhausting, but I came here focused on winning the Pro Junior in Chile after getting a bad result in Rio de Janeiro," said Vicente. "The swell has definitely gotten smaller, so there were a lot of tactics and patience involved today. It's going to be great having a Final with Leo since we're from the same town. We've competed a lot against each other, but I really want to leave here as the rankings leader."
Despite the decrease in swell, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) has been on a rampage in the Women's division in Iquique. The Hawaiian has won all of her heats and upped her highest heat score to a 13.43 on her way to the Final, taking down the two-time WSL South America Pro Junior Champion Sol Aguirre (PER) in the Semis.
"It's been a lot of heats surfed and I feel like I've been doing my best in every heat, so to be in the Final is really cool, but now I really want to win it, so I'm going to have to surf extra hard," said Bryan after her Semifinal victory. "It's gotten a lot smaller compared to the last few days. It was especially big during the free surf sessions, so it's a big change. But I'm happy I got a few practice heats under my belt on the QS, so I'll be ready. To win the Final would be cool, I mean that was my goal coming here all the way from Hawaii and just super happy to be in the Final."
Her opponent will be Daniela Rosas (PER), who reached the Final after defeating Tainá Hinckel (BRA) in a wave-starved heat. If Rosas beats Bryan on Finals Sunday, she will be tied for first place on the WSL South America Pro Junior rankings alongside Hinckel.
"I'm stoked because my goal was to make it to the Final, but I'm going to do everything possible to win now that I've made it," said Rosas. "I'm going to be super focused and hope to leave here as the rankings leader. After this contest, I'll be going to Ceará, Brazil for the Pro Junior there because I want to qualify for the WSL World Junior Championships by any means necessary," declared Rosas.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow for continuation of the Heroes de Mayo Iquique Pro.