- WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Sunny skies, offshore winds and waves in the 3-5 foot range were on hand Thursday for the start to the inaugural World Surf League (WSL) Men's and Women's QS 1000 Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe at Praia da Ferrugem, in Garopaba Brazil. The surf series is part of a three-event circuit, beginning in Garopaba and followed by a stop in Salvador, Bahia, before concluding in Ubatuba, São Paulo. As an added bonus, the Men's and Women's rankings leaders upon conclusion of the series will receive automatic Wildcard spots for the Corona Saquarema Pro presented by Banco do Brasil Challenger Series (CS) event held in November.

Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

On Day 1 of the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe at Praia da Ferrugem, a total of 24 heats were carried out in Rounds 112 and 96 of the Men's division. One of the main objectives of the new circuit is to provide opportunities to new, young talent throughout the surf-rich coastline of Brazil.

17-year-old Heitor Mueller (BRA) was given the chance to compete in the first heat of the day, after the current WSL South America regional rankings leader, Alejo Muniz (BRA), was forced to withdraw from the contest after injuring his knee in the prior event held in Argentina. Being the first alternate in the heat draw, Mueller took full advantage of the opportunity, winning the first heat of the event in Garopaba.

"I really wanted to compete at this event, but I went through some unforeseen difficulties, and I wasn't able to register in time. Luckily, I got in as an alternate and I'm over the moon to have won that heat," said Mueller. "I found a good righthander and got a good score. The waves here at Ferrugem are incredible, especially coming off a shocker in Argentina, where the water was really cold. It was still a good experience for me there and I hope to continue doing well here."

Heitor Mueller Heitor Mueller (BRA) at the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe in Garopaba. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Lucas Silveira (BRA) is coming off a spectacular win at the Qualifying Series (QS) event held last week in Portugal and continued his explosive approach in Garopaba. In Heat 3 of the Round of 112, Silveira ripped apart a lefthander to earn an 8.50 (out of a possible 10 points) and added a 7.33 as his back-up score to earn a 15.83 heat total, the highest of the day.

"It's pumping out there! Ferrugem never let's you down and that reflected in my scores," remarked Silveira. "I started out with a 4, then a couple of 7's before getting that 8, so it was a super fun heat. When the pandemic started, I was in Europe, so I ended up staying there for a while before coming back for the birth of my first child, but since I wasn't competing here, I had a super low seed, that's why I was in the first round here. But I think it's great because it gives me more reps in the water and better preparation for the Challenger Series event in Australia," added Silveira.

Lucas Silveira Lucas Silveira (BRA) at the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe in Garopaba. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Later in the day, 19-year-old Kainan Meira (BRA), another young talent out of Ilha do Mel in Brazil, surpassed Silveira's high score by taking apart a long lefthander with consecutive backside hacks to earn an 8.83, the highest score of the day.

"I'm really happy that I got to really let loose and do some power turns in that heat. I haven't advanced in any heats in the past three QS events I've surfed in, so it was exciting, but a relief at the same time," said Meira. "I feel really connected to the waves here and I just wanted to wait for the set waves during the heat. They're really opening up and I knew it was going to be a good one as soon as I saw it," said Meira in regards to his high score.

Kainan Meira Kainan Meira (BRA) during his high score at the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe in Garopaba. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

The Women's division is scheduled to begin on Friday at 8:00 a.m. (GMT-3) and will see the event's top seeds hit the water. In addition to all the action in the ocean, several activations provided by Banco do Brasil have been set up along the beach at Ferrugem that include free surf lessons, yoga, beach tennis, artwork, a kid's area and local shops that are run by Banco do Brasil clients. For more information, please got to WorldSurfLeague.com

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