Despite a small decrease in swell, another day of high-scores and emotional victories is in the books as the Semifinalists have been determined at the Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest pres. by Eletron Energy. The QS5000 rated event saw big names like Filipe Toledo (BRA), Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Samuel Pupo (BRA) bow out of the competition, while Jadson Andre (BRA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and the Brazilian Dantas brothers - Wiggolly and Weslley found their way to the final day of the contest.
Jadson Andre has been a standout this week, consistently displaying the fastest, most explosive surfing at Cacimba do Padre. After winning the same event last year, he has been on a mission to become the first two-time winner in Fernando de Noronha. After beginning the day with a victory over the 15-year old from Florianopolis, Leo Casal (BRA), by a score of 12.34 to 7.94 respectively, Jadson added a commanding performance over one Brazil's best emerging athletes, Samuel Pupo (BRA), defeating him 15.00 to 13.07. The veteran has kept his poise throughout the week and has his eye set on the winner's podium.
"I've stayed pretty calm and focused all week long. I've been using the same board, but it's got two big creases going down the middle. As long as it doesn't break, I'll keep using it," said Andre. "The waves are breaking down the line really quickly today, so it was all about staying in the flow and surfing with what was in front of me and not necessarily what I wanted to do."
Andre shared his thoughts regarding the talent level of the latest crop of Brazilian surfers - and how they kept him on his toes on Saturday.
"I knew it was going to be a tight battle with Samuel (Pupo) because he's been on point all event long and he's got enough talent to go up against anyone on the CT. Same thing with Leo (Casal), he's just a kid and surfed amazing, so I knew I couldn't underestimate him either. I'm just stoked to be surfing on Finals day and hopefully it'll end with me on top again," concluded Andre.
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) has been grabbing attention in his free-surfs in Noronha by catching some amazing barrels and using his large frame to throw buckets of spray after every big turn. After losing early at the QS5000 in his home country of Morocco, Boukhiam knocked out event favorite Ian Gouveia in Heat 4 of the Quarterfinals.
"I've been behind in all of my heats, but I've had my eye on the lefts all week long and I just keep patrolling the lineup, going back and forth, waiting for my opportunity," explained Boukhiam. "It really was about rhythm, keeping busy and taking advantage of the sections to throw up big maneuvers when they appeared because I know that's what the judges like to see."
Boukhiam empathized with Gouveia's loss after suffering a similar outcome at his homebreak in Morocco.
"Ian (Gouveia) had a chance on his last wave, it was a good left and I think he could have gotten the score, but he fell on his last turn. Last week in Morocco, I lost in the early rounds, so I feel for Ian because I know he's surfing at home and this is his sponsor's event. I was bummed with my loss, so I just wanted to hop back on the horse at another contest. That's why I was so excited to come to Noronha," concluded Boukhiam.
In surfing, fans have always loved a good sibling rivalry. There have been plenty of cases in the past including the Irons (HAW), Hobgood (USA), Lopez (USA), Ho (HAW), Padaratz (BRA), Malloy (USA) and Wright (AUS) families to name a few…but the list goes on and on.
When you pair Wiggolly and Weslley Dantas (BRA), there are certain similarities such as their skills in heavy water barrels and lethal backhand attacks. But while older brother Wiggolly has spent time on the Championship Tour and has an advantage in his overall heat strategies, younger brother Weslley has an explosive air game and carries a few extra pounds that help displace more water out the back.
Weslley began the Quarterfinals by taking out the human highlight film himself, Filipe Toledo (BRA), in a wave starved heat by a score of 10.23 to 8.47. Wiggolly, on the other hand, experienced a back-and-forth match that went to the wire with Wiggolly beating Ian Gentil (HAW) on his final wave with a score of 11.43 to 11.23. Both Dantas brothers will now face each other in Heat 1 of the Semifinals.
Weslley provided a few words following his victory of CT surfer Filipe Toledo.
"It feels great to be in the Semis. Filipe (Toledo) is one of the best surfers in the world, he's amazing, he's like a magician," said Weslley Dantas. "I knew he was one of the favorites to win, so beating him shows me that I can win too. My strategy worked out to perfection and I feel like I'm talented enough to be competing on the CT and not just the QS."
When asked about facing up against his older brother, Weslley said:
"Yeah, he's coming off a victory at Pipe and he's beaten me the other times we matched up in events, but I think this time it's my turn."
Wiggolly, in contrast, took a more diplomatic approach to the upcoming heat against his younger brother.
"It's pretty special to have a Semifinal heat against my brother at a QS5000. It's his first event of the year and it's the kind of match up he's always dreamed about," chuckled Wiggolly Dantas. "I feel good and what's most important is that there's going to be a Dantas in the Final, so I'm stoked regardless of the outcome. We're family on land, but in the water he's just another competitor, so there won't be any freebies," ended Dantas.
A call is set for 9:00 am local time for conclusion of the 2020 QS5000 Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest pres. by Eletron Energy.