Day 3 of the Saquarema Surf Festival in memory of Leo Neves and presented by the City of Saquarema was capped off in dramatic fashion in the last heat of the day as local surfer and Leo Neves disciple Arthur Maximo (BRA) secured an inspiring win with the highest scores of the day over Yago Dora (BRA), Mateus Herdy (BRA) and Krystian Kymerson (BRA) at the Men's Quiksilver Pro QS3000 in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd at Praia de Itaúna, in Saquarema, Brazil.
The local surfer Maximo was awarded entry into the main draw of the Quiksilver Pro after winning the Event Trials earlier in the week, then today, reinforced his strong emotional attachment to the Leo Neves legacy.
"I grew up surfing as a member of the Leo Neves project and we used to surf in conditions like these all the time, especially on these long lefts, where I learned how to sharpen my backhand surfing and where I got that 8.75," claimed Maximo ecstatically. "I don't even know what to say, that was like a Final and I was super tense before the heat because I had won the Trials and I knew I was going to face Yago as the top seed, but I had no idea I'd be up against Herdy and Kymerson as well."
Surrounded by images of Neves that cover the entire event site at the Saquarema Surf Festival, Maximo succumbed to his emotions after being chaired up the beach by the Saquarema faithful on the shore.
"While I was still in the lineup, after everyone had left the water in my heat, I just kept thinking that this win was for Leo," Maximo continued in between tears. "He was my idol and this event is in his honor and I'm going to surf every heat for him. Only the people that were here when he had his accident know how hard it was on everyone. It was the worst scene I ever witnessed. He was my hero and it's difficult to even talk about that moment."
Herdy, who couldn't be stopped yesterday, opted to stick to the righthanders, as did Kymerson. Dora and Maximo however, chose the longer lefthanders with Yago exhibiting a strong frontside attack while Maximo displayed his local knowledge in the 3-to-4 foot waves at Praia de Itaúna. Maximo ripped apart a set wave with consecutive backside snaps to earn an 8.75 from the judges, the highest single wave score of the event so far.
Another Saquarema local that has been on fire is former Championship Tour competitor, Raoni Monteiro (BRA). The veteran surfer was an extremely close friend and protégé of Leo Neves as well and also could not help expressing his gratitude towards Neves.
"I'm surfing at home, but I've been super nervous as well. I just came off a good result in Florianópolis and I've put this pressure on myself to do well here," stated Monteiro. "Everything's been so emotional here, and everywhere we look we're reminded of Leo and I just feel like his presence is all around us. I just want to thank the WSL and event organizers for putting this together and for honoring Leo. He was an extremely important person in the surf community and it's so cool to see his son Valentim following in his footsteps and for having that same personality his dad had," added Monteiro.
There will be an earlier start to Day 4 tomorrow with the Men's QS3000 Quiksilver Pro beginning at 7:00 am and will feature the 2015 WSL World Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA). Adding to the excitement of the heat will be local Big Wave phenom Lucas Chianca (BRA) as well as QS warriors Caetano Vargas (BRA) and Mateus Sena (BRA).
During the Women's QS3000 Roxy Pro, the three Olympic surfers, Daniella Rosas (PER), Dominic Barona (ECU) and Silvana Lima (BRA) all advanced in first place with Lima being the standout surfer of the day.
"I'm really happy getting off to a good start here in Saquarema because I had a quick exit at the event in Floripa. It kind of caught me off guard and it felt great arriving at a place I love so much to get back into the groove," expressed Lima. "I have so many good memories here and I feel like this is just the beginning. I know I'm surfing well and I'm always trying to improve my surfing. I'm not planning on retiring any time soon and I intend on competing in Hawaii, as long as my visa gets approved (laughs)," concluded Lima.
The Saquarema Surf Festival will be decisive in crowning the WSL Latin America Longboard and Pro Junior Champions at Praia de Itaúna as well. In the Longboard category, Chloe Calmon (BRA) and Piccolo Clemente (PER) will try to defend their titles, while the Pro Junior division is still up in the air as to who will become the best Under-20 athletes in the region.
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.