- WSL / Mariano Antunez

The World Surf League (WSL) Men's and Women's QS 1000 Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande began today in clean conditions in Mar del Plata, Argentina with completion of the first two Rounds of the Men's division. This is the first of a full calendar of events as part of the 2022/23 WSL South America Regional Series.

Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande - WSL / Mariano Antunez

The hometown athletes were the standout surfers of the day, using their local knowledge to their advantage to earn some of the highest scores of the day. Juan Ruggiero (ARG) led the way for the Argentinians, earning an 8.25 (out of a possible ten points) for the first excellent scoring ride of the day.

"I was a little nervous because it was my first heat. But I'm happy that I caught a good one and was able to showcase my surfing. It's a beautiful day, the waves are great, and I hope it remains like this for the rest of the contest," said Ruggiero.

Juan Cruz Ruggiero Juan Ruggiero - WSL / Mariano Antunez

However, Cauã Costa (BRA), the reigning 2021 WSL South America Junior Champion used his backside air-game on a set of lefthanders to up the ante, earning a 15.90 heat total to set the day's record.

"I'm really stoked that I advanced in my first heat," said Costa. "Thankfully I was able to land those two airs towards the end of the heat because it was slim pickings prior to that. But those waves were really perfect and completing those airs guaranteed the heat win. This is my first time to Mar del Plata and I'm having a great time," added Costa.

Cauã Costa Cauã Costa foi o recordista de pontos da quarta-feira na Playa Grande - WSL / Mariano Antunez

Roberto Araki (CHL) was another standout surfer on Day 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande, scoring a 14.25 heat total on the second-to-last heat of the day in the Round of 48. Luan Carvalho (BRA) advanced alongside Araki, eliminating Radziunas Franco (ARG) and Nicolas Hermida (ARG), who could not advance despite receiving an 8.60, the highest single wave score of the event so far.

"Losing in your first heat is a horrible feeling, and I know because it happened to me last week at the contest in Brazil. Luckily, I got off to a good start here and I hope I can continue to advance in the next few rounds," declared Araki. "I had a good start, but I fell on my second-best wave, so I know there's still room for improvement. The last time I competed at this event was in 2019 and I got an equal 3rd place when I lost in the Semifinals. Hopefully I can do even better this year."

Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande - WSL / Mariano Antunez

Araki will now face the reigning 2019 WSL World Junior Champion, Lucas Vicente (BRA) in the Round of 32. Vicente was also the surfer that took out Araki in the 2019 Semifinals he referred to earlier. Also included in the stacked heat is former Championship Tour (CT) athlete Alejo Muniz (BRA) and explosive youngster Daniel Adisaka (BRA).

A call is set for 8:00 AM (GMT-3) for continuation of the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande and will see the commencement of the Women's QS 1000. Heat 1 will see the newly crowned 2021/22 WSL South America Champion, Sophia Medina (BRA) match up against Nairê Marquez (BRA) and Pamella Mel (BRA). An additional 27 surfers from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile and Ecuador are also scheduled to compete on Thursday. Watch all the action LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com

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