Sunny skies, light winds and rippable waves in the 2-3 foot range greeted a packed beach to the World Surf League (WSL) Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe on Saturday at Praia de Itamambuca in Ubatuba, Brazil. 17-year-old Gabriel Klaussner (BRA) clinched the CBBS title with his 3-event point total in front of his hometown crowd. The feat earned him a wildcard spot at the Corona Saquarema Pro presented by Banco do Brasil Challenger Series event in November.
Klaussner has been a shining example of the Series' focus of providing opportunities to rising talent. His consistency at the events in Garopaba, Salvador and Ubatuba led to his early victory on Saturday after advancing into the Round of 16.
"It feels great to finally surf and show what I can do. This is my first WSL title as a professional and I'm just over the moon," said an ecstatic Klaussner. "The first heat win that I had was at the first stop of the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe in Garopaba. Coincidentally, it was also my 17th birthday. Three events later and I've got my first title and a chance to compete at the Challenger Series event in Saquarema. I believe in my surfing and I'm going to do my best in Saquarema."
The 2019 World Junior Champion, Lucas Vicente (BRA) was another standout on Saturday at Praia de Itamambuca after winning a stacked heat featuring the aforementioned Klaussner and two former Championship Tour athletes in Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Alejo Muniz (BRA), who advanced in 2nd place.
"I'm really happy because I knew it was a super heavy heat," said Vicente after his heat win. "I've faced Alejo (Muniz) before and he has a few wins up on me, and Gabriel (Klaussner) and Wiggolly (Dantas) surf amazing too. The waves were a little soft, but I felt confident and found some good lefts for the win. My goal here is to win the contest and fight for a spot in the rankings to qualify for the Challenger Series."
Earlier in the event at Praia de Itamambuca, Silvana Lima (BRA) was crowned the Circuito Banco do Brasil Series champion and was also given a wildcard spot at the Challenger Series event in Saquarema. On Saturday, Lima advanced into the Semifinals with a win over Banco do Brasil teammate Juliana dos Santos (BRA).
"Thankfully after my injury, I've been 20 days pain-free. This is my third straight event without feeling any pain, so that's what I'm personally thankful for," said Lima. "I'm stoked to see so many contests back in Brazil after such a long pause in events. The Series this year has been amazing with so much new talent at each stop. I'm a veteran now, but I've still got a lot in my tank and I'm ready for another Finals Day tomorrow."
Lima will now face Peruvian Melanie Giunta (PER) in the Semifinals, while on the other side of the draw, Daniella Rosas (PER) will face surprise event athlete Sophie Fletcher (AUS), who hails from Phillip Island, Australia. Fletcher has been visiting South America and her trip coincided with the event in Ubatuba.
In addition to the competition, the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe Series promotes several cost-free activations that are open to the public on the beach. All three stops have provided a Kids Area for children to have fun, art workshops by the graphic artist Tom Veiga and free surfing lessons, workouts, beach tennis and yoga classes. Another attraction is the "Beach Market", featuring Banco do Brasil clients presenting their products at stands set up in the event area. To round out the activities at Praia de Itamambuca are environmental preservation activations carried out with Grupo Tamoio de Ubatuba and SAI (Sociedade Amigos de Itamambuca).
A call is set for 8:00 AM (GMT-3) for continuation of the Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe. Finals Day will begin with the Men's Quarterfinals and will see José Gundesen (ARG) matchup against Eric Bahia (BRA) in Heat 1.