After six lengthy days of competition, the Semifinalists have been determined at the Saquarema Surf Festival in Memory of Leo Neves and presented by the City of Saquarema. On Thursday, Chloe Calmon (BRA) and Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) were crowned the WSL South America Longboard Champions. On Sunday, the Qualifying Series and Pro Junior regional champions will be decided as well as the winners at the Men's and Women's QS3000 Quiksilver Pro & Roxy Pro events as well.
Sophia Medina (BRA), younger sister of the 3x World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA), went on a rampage today, taking out some of the fiercest competitors in both the Qualifying Series and Pro Junior divisions, including a win over Laura Raupp (BRA) who won the first QS event of the Brazilian leg last week in Florianópolis.
"I'm still trying to wrap my head around it because that was such an important heat for me. Laura's been surfing incredibly and just won a QS event, so I knew it wouldn't be easy. But I was able to do my best and I'm glad I advanced," said Medina, younger sister of the reigning 3x WSL World Champion, Gabriel Medina (BRA). "I'm sure we'll be facing each other a lot in the future, we've grown up together and it's cool to see how her surfing has evolved. Knowing that she could get a high score at any time, I needed to use some strategy, but those are a secret," laughingly concluded Medina.
There will be friendly-fire at the Women's QS3000 Roxy Pro featuring Brazil vs Peru matchups, similar to the prior event held in Florianópolis, to see who will make it to the Final.
In Heat 1 of the Semifinal, 16-year-old Peruvian sensation Arena Rodriguez Vargas (PER) will face Daniella Rosas (PER), another dominant athlete atop the South American talent pool, who defeated Summer Macedo (BRA) in the Quarterfinals.
"Conditions are really difficult and I think that Summer was seen as the favorite to win this event," said Rosas. "I knew it would be a tough heat, but I caught some good waves and was able to win the heat. These are like the complete opposite of conditions in Peru for a contest, there's so much wind and rain, so it's good to know that I can adapt and still do my job in the water. Now I hope I can make it to the Final and win the event."
In Heat 2 of the Semifinals, Larissa Santos (BRA) will be facing Sophia Medina (BRA), who earned the highest heat score of the Women's QS with a 15.00-point total against 15-year-old Laura Raupp (BRA), who won the Qualifying Series event in Floripa last week.
At the Men's QS3000 Quiksilver Pro, Heat 1 of the Semifinals will be a Championship Tour level affair with standout surfer Yago Dora (BRA) faced up against Alex Ribeiro (BRA).
"The waves are really good out there. It's a little onshore, but there are good sets with size and strength, so for us it's great to surf," said Dora. "I've been starting all my heats feeling light and without any pressure. I've faced Alex a bunch of times on the CT and he's always a tough opponent. I got eliminated in the Semis in Floripa, so this time I want to make it to the Finals, that's my goal," finished Dora.
Heat 2 of the Semifinals will see local surfer João Chianca (BRA) matched up against Marco Fernandez (BRA). Chianca did well in the tricky conditions, earning the highest heat total of the day in the QS Men's division with a 14.04 total over Santiago Muniz (ARG) in the Quarterfinals.
"Today's conditions have been classic QS, with a lot of onshore wind, rain and waves breaking all along the bank," said Chianca. "I couldn't hear anything out in the lineup, so when I reached the shore and saw the everyone's faces on the beach, that's when I knew I made the heat. Having all this local energy and support makes such a difference. Everyone here has seen me grow up and the improvements I've made in my surfing and the results that have come from that. It's really gratifying to do well in front of them," said Chianca.
In the Men's Pro Junior division of the Saquarema Surf Festival, Ryan Kainalo (BRA), who has been ripping in recent WSL events will face Diego Aguiar (BRA), while Cauã Costa (BRA) will be up against local surfer Daniel Templar (BRA).
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.