- WSL / Tony Dandrea

The Saquarema Surf Festival Quiksilver Pro QS in memory of Leo Neves and presented by the City of Saquarema began on Tuesday morning with the initial rounds of the Men's Quiksilver Pro QS3000 with waves in the 3-to-4 foot range (1 meter), strong offshore winds and frigid water temperatures. In the final heat of the day, Mateus Herdy (BRA) set his high-flying skills to new heights by earning the day's highest heat total of a 16.00 with his two best scores of an 8.50 and a 7.50, surpassing the efforts of veteran local surfer Raoni Monteiro (BRA).

Herdy got off to a quick start with some setup carving turns before letting loose on a frontside full rotation air for a 7.50. He then took the same approach, but landed an even loftier air for an 8.50 and a stronghold on the heat lead.

"I haven't even been in the water since I got eliminated at the last event in Floripa," said Herdy. "But it wasn't that bad because I finally had some time to hang out at the event and spend time with my friends and family. It'd been so long since the last contest in Brazil, so it was great to see everybody. Then I decided to arrive a little early here in Saquarema, but my boards and luggage never made it. Actually, my boards only arrived today and I didn't get a chance to do any freesurfing, but it's cool because I know my boards are working great, so I wasn't worried about that."

Saquarema Surf Festival Mateus Herdy - WSL / Tony Dandrea

Herdy has been on quite a tear since his Semifinal finish at the Championship Tour event in Mexico, with added appearances at all of the Challenger Series events in the USA and Europe, including another Semifinal result at the Quiksilver Pro in France. After losing out quickly at the recent Qualifying Series event in Florianópolis, Herdy is looking for another solid result in Saquarema.

"When I got down to the event site and saw the waves, I knew we'd be in for a good day. These conditions are exactly what I imagine when I think about Itaúna: lefts and rights with the wind blowing into the rights for airs, so I'm stoked I got to compete today. I'm also glad that Miguel (Tudela) advanced. We compete a lot together on the QS and I know he puts a lot of work in, so it's cool we both made it."

Saquarema Surf Festival Mateus Herdy (BRA) prior to his heat at the Saquarema Surf Festival. - WSL / Thiago Diz

24 heats were completed today with the Round of 128 in the books and half of the Round of 96 as well. Out of the 80 surfers that competed today, the only surfers that won both of their heats were the flashy newcomer Heitor Mueller (BRA), Felipe Alves (BRA), Gabriel André (BRA) and the former CT surfer from Saquarema, Raoni Monteiro (BRA).

Monteiro was extremely close friends with the former CT surfer and two-time Brazilian national champion Leo Neves (BRA), whom the Saquarema Surf Festival is honoring. Neves passed away tragically during a surf contest held at Praia de Itaúna in 2019, the same location of the current competition. Monteiro is coming off a strong performance in Florianópolis which resulted in a Quarterfinal finish. He now hopes to do even better in front of his hometown crowd.

"The conditions at Itaúna were kind of tough during my heat. The tide was high and the wind was really strong, so I tried to stick to the rights," said Monteiro. "The wave breaks quickly during the steeper sections, then kind of backs off during others, so you need to know when you can really go for a big turn. It wasn't easy winning both of my heats, but I got the job done and now I can rest up and get ready for tomorrow."

Saquarema Surf Festival Local legend Raoni Monteiro (BRA) at the Saquarema Surf Festival. - WSL / Tony Dandrea

The schedule set by event organizers will begin with conclusion of the Round of 96 in the Men's Quiksilver Pro QS3000 before transitioning to the start of the Women's Roxy Pro QS3000. The 32 competitors will feature the best South American female athletes including several Olympic athletes in the opening round such as Daniella Rosas (PER), Dominic Barona (ECU) and Silvana Lima (BRA).

However, they will have to face a strong contingency of up-and-comers like Laura Raupp (BRA), who recently won the QS event in Floripa, as well as South American stalwarts such as Sol Aguirre (PER), Summer Macedo (BRA), Sophia Medina (BRA) and Melanie Giunta (PER).

Saquarema Surf Festival Olympic surfers Dominic Barona (ECU) and Silvana Lima (BRA) at the Saquarema Surf Festival. - WSL / Thiago Diz

Continuation of the Saquarema Surf Festival is scheduled to begin on Wednesday at 8:00 am local time. For more information and live coverage, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

The Saquarema Surf Festival presented by the City of Saquarema is licensed by WSL Latin America for 213 Sports as part of the WSL Qualifying Series and South American regional qualifiers for the World Pro Junior and Longboard Men's and Women's categories at Praia de Itaúna. The event is sponsored by Quiksilver, ROXY, 51 ICE, Corona, and has the support of Orthopride, Stanley Brasil, Monster Energy and the Rio de Janeiro State Surfing Federation (FESERJ), the Saquarema Surf Association (ASS), MegAçaí and the Ricosurf and Waves websites. The event will be broadcast live on WorldSurfLeague.com.

ABOUT 213 SPORTS - Founded by Pedro Dau, Yuri Binder, Bernardo Montenegro and Marcelo Montenegro, 213 Sports was born in 2012. In 2021, the agency was acquired by V3A and, since then, it has been responsible for the Sporting division, which integrates the pillar of the company's Ventures. Focused on sports marketing, 213 Sports has carried out more than 50 projects for global and local brands, impacting more than 20 million people in Brazil and worldwide. The essence of 213 Sports sees sports as engagement, entertainment and, above all, an outlet for brands seeking attention from the consumers. Strategic insights aligned with the brand's positioning, excellence in execution and measurable results with social returns, whenever possible, are the foundations that sustain 213 Sports. Responsible for numerous cases, the agency stands out for accomplishments such as CamelBak Race, Casa ON Running, the Oi Rio Pro, Pelé Academia, Praia Para Todos, Sephora Beauty Run, WSL House, among others.

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