Following two consecutive lay days due to extreme weather and huge waves, competition returned to the World Surf League (WSL) Maui and Sons Arica Pro Tour 2022 QS 5000 at El Gringo in Arica, Chile. Pumping conditions were present on Thursday, with barreling waves in the 6-to-8 ft range. Although there was the potential for an epic day of surfing, competition had to be shortened due to a national tsunami evacuation drill. Only three heats remain in the Round of 64 and a call has been set for 7:00 AM (GMT-4) on Friday for continuation of the event.
"The three remaining heats will be run tomorrow (Friday) to start the day. Unfortunately, we had to cut the competition short today because of a national evacuation training drill that simulated a tsunami or seismic activity in the region," stated Roberto Perdigão, WSL LATAM Tour Manager. "Everyone will have to head for higher ground during the drill, so we had to call off competition for the day and will return tomorrow."
Despite only five heats being carried out, there was still plenty of action in the line-up with big barrels and heavy wipe-outs being witnessed by the crowds on the rocky outcrop at El Gringo. Samuel Igo (BRA) dropped into a bomb and got a lengthy barrel for the best score of the day and advanced into the Round of 32 and has jumped into 13th on the WSL South America rankings.
"The waves are incredible today and El Gringo is a place I really enjoy," said Igo. "This is my fifth time down here and each year I feel like I learn more about the waves and my experiences here. It's kind of hard to find two good ones today, but I felt like I got the job done, I found one great barrel and it's great to win my heat. I've got a great board and it gives me the added confidence to charge as hard as I can, especially at such a dangerous break like El Gringo."
Challenger Series Qualification
Only the top 10 athletes on the WSL South America regional rankings will qualify for the 2023 World Surf League Challenger Series. In addition to Igo's jump near the qualification bubble, other athletes have also moved up such as Gabriel Klaussner (BRA), who now sits at 11th and Guillermo Satt (CHL) who is now in 12th and Manuel Selman (CHL) who is currently in 15th. All of the aforementioned athletes advanced into the Round of 32 on Thursday.
Other notable athletes who advanced on Thursday were Douglas Silva (BRA), Philippe Neves (BRA), Cristobal de Col (PER), Krystian Kymerson (BRA) and Marco Giorgi (URY). Giorgi is the only athlete in the history of the Arica Pro to earn two perfect 10-point rides at El Gringo; both earned at the event in 2014.
A call has been set for 7:00 AM (GMT-4) on Friday for continuation of the event and will see Matheus Navarro (BRA) face up against Mateus Sena (BRA), Joaquin del Castillo (PER) and Nicolas Falcon (CHL). For more information and to watch the Maui and Sons Arica Pro Tour LIVE, go to WorldSurfLeague.com