- WSL / Marcio David

The 2015 WSL World Champion, Adriano de Souza (BRA), was the standout surfer of the day for the opening rounds of the LayBack Pro presented by Prefeitura de Florianópolis in punchy 2-3 foot waves at Praia Mole. "Mineirinho" set the highest scores of the day with a 14.84 total which included an excellent 8.17 scoring ride.

"Conditions are pretty tough out there, but I've got a great board under my feet, I feel super good physically and when you combine the two, good things usually happen," said De Souza. "Last year was hard for me because I retired, I completely turned off that competitive mindset, but now I'm back in competition mode, but just at a less intense rate. Now I have to surf against the latest generation of athletes and they are on a completely different level. But honestly, it's really not about them. I'm up against Adriano in my mind and I just want to perform well. So for now, I'm happy with today's performance and getting a heat win under my belt."

De Souza matched up against three young surfers in Heat 9 of Round 2. Despite the age gap, De Souza displayed his experience with strong backside surfing on a lefthander, belting three consecutive vertical hacks to earn the day's highest single wave score of an 8.17 from the judges, as well as a 6.67 for the day's highest heat total of 14.84. Local surfer Julio Telles (BRA) advanced in 2nd place, eliminating Guilherme Carvalho (BRA) and Matheus Paula (BRA).

Adriano de Souza The 2015 World Champion, Adriano de Souza (BRA), after his heat win today at Praia Mole. - WSL / Marcio David

Yagê Araujo (BRA) also provided fireworks earlier in the day and earned a 14.64 heat total, which included the first excellent score of the day, by scoring an 8.00 on a spectacular fronthand air-reverse at Praia Mole. Araujo has recently moved to Florianopolis and his local knowledge paid off with a commanding heat win.

"I've been living here for a year now and Praia Mole is where I surf every day. I really enjoy these conditions and with the wind blowing from the south, it's good for surfing quickly and doing airs," said Araujo. "I'm stoked because I felt like I surfed well during both my heats and my goal is to keep this pace, get even higher scores and make it to the Finals."

Yage Araujo Yage Araujo (BRA) showing his flair at the LayBack Pro at Praia Mole. - WSL / Marcio David

Out of the 136 athletes entered into the event, 72 have already taken to the water in the 20 initial heats of Rounds 1 and 2 of the Men's QS 1000. Although the heat draw is heavily Brazilian, athletes from Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Hawaii and Argentina are also present, including the 2016 WSL South America Champion, Leandro Usuna (ARG).

"It's always good coming back to Brazil to compete. I remember my first international competitions were here when I was 15 or 16 for Pro Junior events, then later on with QS events, so it's always fun being here," said Usuna. "I just became a father for the first time recently, so I've been spending a lot of time chilling at home with my family, but I want to keep surfing at some specific events that I find interesting. So I came here, I'd like to compete in Saquarema and Iquique as well. It's so good that events are back on because it's what we live for - surfing and competing," declared Usuna.

Leandro Usuna Leandro Usuna (ARG) at Praia Mole. - WSL / Marcio David

Women's action is set to begin on Thursday at 8:00 am local time. The LayBack Pro presented by Prefeitura de Florianópolis is the final event of the 2021/22 WSL South America Qualifying Series circuit and will crown regional champions this Sunday and will also determine the list of regional athletes that will qualify for the 2022 Challenger Series.

The LayBack Pro presented by Prefeitura de Florianópolis presents is brought to you by the Santa Catarina Surf Federation (FECASURF), Agência Esporte & Arte (AEA) as co-organizer and is licensed by WSL Latin America as part of the WSL Qualifying Series. The event is sponsored by Metha Energia, with support from BOLD, SIBON Charters, Goedert Group, Hotel Selina, The Search House, the Florianopolis Municipal Sports Foundation and the City of Florianópolis, through the Department of Culture, Sports and Leisure, in addition to the Praia Mole Surf Association (ASPM) and website Waves. The broadcast is produced by FIRMA and can be watched LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com

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