Local surfers took command of the 4-6 foot waves at Prainha in Rio de Janeiro for Day 2 of the World Surf League (WSL) LayBack Pro Men's and Women's QS 1000. The crowds took advantage of the holiday in Brazil to venture out to the environmental reserve on the southern edge of the capital of Rio to watch all the action in the water. The fans were awarded with phenomenal performances by Anderson da Silva (BRA), João Chianca (BRA) and Cauã Costa (BRA) who all reside in the area.
Anderson da Silva, who grew up surfing the waves at Arpoador with the support of the Favela Surf Club and Arpoador Surf Club was the standout surfer of the day. He began by destroying a lefthander on his backside with three powerful hacks in critical sections to earn a 9.50 from the judges. He followed with a 7.43 on his forehand for a 16.93 heat total, the highest of the event so far.
"The wave I got the high score on was a perfect left. I feel like my backside is my strongest characteristic, so I was looking for the lefts and I was lucky enough to find the best one of the day. I was in the right spot and was able to surf to the best of my ability," said Da Silva. "I just feel blessed because it was a stacked heat against Leandro Bastos (BRA) and João Chianca (BRA), so I knew I had to give it my all."
Both Bastos and Chianca have had prior wins on the Qualifying Series. Chianca competed on the first half of the 2022 WSL Championship Tour prior to the mid-season cut and had outstanding performances, including top notch clashes against John John Florence (HAW) at Pipeline and Bells Beach. Chianca advanced in 2nd place behind Da Silva with a 14.23 total.
"This has been a weird year for me. It's like the hardest heats have been targeting me. I only come up against the best surfers in the event on their best days, so today wasn't any different," said Chianca. "Anderson (Da Silva) caught the best wave of the day and I saw it from out the back, so congrats to him. I feel like this event is going to be a lot of fun, Prainha has a magical vibe to it and it feels incredible to be able to compete at home once again."
Another local surfer that felt right at home in Rio de Janeiro was Cauã Costa, the reigning WSL South America Pro Junior Champion. Costa earned a 15.00 heat total, the second highest of the day.
"The waves were pumping in my heat and I was able to catch two good ones at the end to advance in first place with high sevens," said Costa, who received a 7.60 and a 7.40 on his best rides. "It was an amazing day at Prainha, with great waves since early in the morning and I'm stoked to advance into the next round."
Thursday also saw the start to the Women's QS 1000 at the LayBack Pro. The two-time WSL South America regional champion Daniella Rosas (PER) was in Heat 1 of the Round of 24 and won the first ever Women's QS heat at Prainha.
"It's my first time here to Prainha and you can tell that the waves are really good here and the place is beautiful," said Rosas, who competed at the first two 2022 Challenger Series events in Australia. "I'm happy I won my heat, but there's still a long road ahead. I get really inspired surfing in places like this where nature and the beauty of the location are really stunning," completed Rosas.
Other standouts in the Women's division were Larissa Santos (BRA), Melanie Giunta (PER), Isabelle Nalu (BRA) and Julia Santos (BRA). In addition to all the action in the water, the LayBack Pro has a wide array of activities scheduled for the event window including Jiu-Jitsu sessions, skateboard demos, a local beach market and a variety of educational and environmental preservation activations throughout the week at Prainha.
The LayBack Pro Rio is produced by Agência Esporte & Arte (AEA) and is sanctioned by WSL Latin America to run this stage of the WSL Qualifying Series. The event is approved by the FESERJ (Rio de Janeiro State Surfing Federation), and is presented by Bar 399 and sponsored by the City of Rio de Janeiro, Corona and Metha Energia; with additional support from ASAP (Association of Surfers and Friends of Prainha), BOLD Snacks, Orla Rio, Monster Energy, RIOZEN Toyota and Waves.com.br. The event is broadcast by FIRMA and can be seen on all WorldSurfLeague.com platforms.