An uptick in the swell provided heaving 4-6 foot waves with plenty of tuberides and high-scoring opportunities on Day 4 of the World Surf League (WSL) Quiksilver/Roxy Iquique Pro Men's and Women's QS 3000 and Pro Junior at Playa Cavancha, Chile. Rafael Teixeira (BRA) set the highest heat total record of the event with an astonishing 18.53 total and Dominic Barona (ECU) also set the record in the women's division with the single highest scoring ride of a 9.17 in pumping conditions at the slabby point known as La Punta.
For the first time all week, all four of the event divisions saw action on Friday, beginning with the Quiksilver Iquique Pro Junior, followed by the Men's QS 3000 Quiksilver Iquique Pro, where Teixeira hit the high water mark in Heat 6 of the Round of 32.
"I'm super happy, but I really couldn't hear anything out there. I only found out my scores when I came out of the water. It was definitely the best heat I've had in the past few years. I wasn't having the best season so far, but I've reset and am on a new path and it's given me a new perspective on my goals," said a poignant Teixeira. "This was the first heat I've won here and I hope that many more are on the way. It feels good to be back in the rhythm of things and surfing well."
Following the Men's division, the Women's QS 3000 Roxy Iquique Pro took to the water and saw Ecuador's Olympic representative, Dominic Barona (ECU) light up La Punta. Barona only surfed two waves in her heat and completely destroyed her second ride attacking a set wave with a flurry of powerful maneuvers to earn a 9.17 from the judges, the highest in the history of the Women's QS 3000 Roxy Iquique Pro.
"I'm super stoked with that win. The waves are a lot bigger than yesterday and I had some tough competitors in my heat, but it feels great to catch the best waves and get the high score," said Barona. "The water is really cold here and it never gets like this in Ecuador. But the waves are what counts and it's pumping. I really like the strength and shape of the waves here and it kind of reminds me of my homebreak at Montañita, so it gives me that extra confidence to surf well."
With Tainá Hinckel's (BRA) early exit in Chile, the rankings lead is up in the air as to who can take control, with Barona and stylish Peruvian Sol Aguirre (PER) in the mix for the top position. Only the top 4 surfers in the women's division will qualify for the 2023 WSL Challenger Series from the WSL South America rankings. Aguirre earned the second-highest heat total of the day with a 14.60 score.
"It was a hard heat, and it only gets harder at these comps because you always end up facing the best competitors," said Aguirre. "But that's just the way it is, so it makes it even more special to advance in 1st place. I'm still in the Pro Junior as well, so I'm going to give it my best because the waves are great, I feel like I'm surfing well and I always try to represent my country in the best way possible," said an exuberant Aguirre.
17-year-old Heitor Mueller (BRA) currently leads the WSL South America rankings with consistent performances throughout the season. Mueller is also still in the mix in the Pro Junior event, finishing the day with victories in both divisions.
A sequence of high scores were earned throughout the day with the likes of Rafael Teixeira (BRA), Caio Costa (BRA), Weslley Dantas (BRA) and Ryan Kainalo (BRA) all receiving rides with scores in the excellent range. However, no one could surpass Valentin Neves (BRA), the son of the late CT athlete Leo Neves (BRA), who thread the needle on a long tuberide on the biggest wave of the day, and still blasted the inside section with a heavy turn to earn a 9.67, even receiving two 10-point scores from the judging panel.
"I had paddled into a good barrel earlier, but I didn't come out, so I knew there would be another chance, and that's exactly what happened," said Neves. "I tried to be patient and wait for the right one to come and luckily it hit perfectly on the bank and opened up wide. I feel confident with my tuberiding, I think it's one of my strong points and I practice a lot in waves similar to these at my homebreak in Saquarema. I want to give a special thanks to my good friend João Chianca (BRA), who called me yesterday and gave me some good advice," commented Neves.
A call is set for 8:00 a.m. (GMT-4) for continuation of the Men's and Women's QS 3000 and Pro Junior Quiksilver/Roxy Iquique Pro. Watch all the action LIVE on the WSL Brasil channel on YouTube, WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app.