- WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Day 2 of the World Surf League (WSL) Saquarema Surf Festival in Memory of Leo Neves presented by the City of Saquarema saw another full day of action with the opening rounds of the Women's QS 5000 and the Men's/Women's Longboard LQS 1000 both hitting the water on Tuesday.

The day began with exciting performances at the Women's QS 5000, spearheaded by Luana Silva (BRA) who scored an 8.00 and a 7.00 on her two best rides for a 15.00 heat total, the highest of the event so far.

"It feels really great to be here in Saquarema for the first time and being able to catch two good waves in my heat," Silva said. "This is my first time competing in Brazil and I want to surf as much as I can during my time here and also get a good result at the Challenger Series in a few weeks."

Luana Silva Luana Silva - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Silva, who now represents Brazil as her country (with the full support of the BOC - Brazilian Olympic Committee), is the daughter of Brazilian parents who have lived in Hawaii for many years and was where Silva was born. Silva began the year as part of the 2022 Championship Tour (CT) before succumbing to the mid-year cut, but is now fighting for requalification as part of the Challenger Series.

Another former Championship Tour competitor that also saw action today was veteran surfer Silvana Lima (BRA), who currently sits in 4th place on the WSL South America regional rankings. Only the Top 4 Women athletes will qualify for the 2023 Challenger Series.

"The first heat of an event is always a little nerve-racking, but I'm happy to be back in Saquarema and that I advanced, especially alongside Mimi," said Lima, who cited her good friend Dominic Barona (ECU), who sits in 3rd place on the regional rankings. "This is the best contest of the year for us because it offers the most points. We've had five QS1000s and this is the first QS5000 of the season, so I'm super focused on getting a good result here and qualifying for the Challenger Series," completed Lima.

Silvana Lima Silvana Lima (BRA) advanced at the Saquarema Surf Festival at Praia de Itaúna. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Sol Aguirre (PER) is no stranger to the waves in Saquarema where she clinched her 3rd WSL South America Pro Junior Title as well as competing as a Wildcard at the 2022 Oi Rio Pro, stop no. 8 of the Championship Tour. Aguirre arrived at the Saquarema Surf Festival leading the regional Qualifying Series and Pro Junior rankings and took another step towards her Challenger Series qualification with a heat win today.

"I have great memories of competing here in Saquarema. I feel like I've been surfing really well and I hope to continue being in sync with the waves and getting a good result here," said Aguirre. "It feels great to be leading both rankings, but I'm just trying to remain focused and doing the best I can in each heat. I'm also here to enjoy myself and take advantage of everything that Saquarema has to offer."

Sol Aguirre Sol Aguirre (PER) on Day 2 of the Saquarema Surf Festival at Praia de Itaúna. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Following the Women's QS 5000, the Men's and Women's Longboard LQS 1000 took to the water in the afternoon. In one of the earliest heats of the Men's division, both Finalists from last year's Saquarema Surf Festival, event winner Tony Silvagni (USA) and runner-up Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) met up in a rematch. This time however, local Saquarema surfer Sphaier advanced in 1st place with Silvagni in 2nd.

"Competing at home is any athlete's dream, especially when the waves are good, it makes it even better," declared Sphaier. "As a local, we know the ins-and-outs of the wind, the backwash and the tides. I've basically spent my entire life surfing here, so I knew the waves would improve throughout the day. And I feel like we're going to have good waves for the remainder of the contest."

Rodrigo Sphaier Local surfer Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) at the Saquarema Surf Festival at Praia de Itaúna. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

In the Women's division, the Semifinalists have been determined and all of the event favorites have made it, including the defending event winner, Chloe Calmon (BRA).

"It's always a great vibe competing in Saquarema. I've been here all week and the waves have been great, the water has been warm, sunny and it's great to be back here at the Festival that brings shortboarding and longboarding together," said Calmon. "I really like surfing here, the waves take me out of my comfort zone because it can be two feet or ten feet out there, so you have to be ready for anything. This is one of my favorite events of the year, so it feels great to make it to the Semis."

Chloé Calmon Chloe Calmon (BRA) guaranteed a spot in the Semifinals at the Saquarema Surf Festival at Praia de Itaúna. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

A call is set for 8:00 AM (GMT-3) on Wednesday and competition will commence with the Men's QS 5000 Round of 64. In the first heat of the day, WSL South America QS rankings leader Miguel Tudela (PER) will face a trio of Brazilians in Hizunomê Bettero (BRA), Igor Moraes (BRA) and Douglas Silva (BRA).

The Saquarema Surf Festival in memory of Leo Neves is licensed by WSL Latin America for 213 Sports as a Qualifying Series event and includes WSL South America regional qualifiers for the Junior and Longboard World Championships. The event is presented by the City of Saquarema City and is sponsored by 51 ICE, Stanley, Surf Trip, Quiksilver, ROXY, Oakley, Layback Beer; in addition to the support of Monster Energy, New Era, Australian Gold, Bold Snacks, Castelhana Praia Hotel; with media partnership from Ricosurf.com, Waves, Lance!, Rádio Cidade, the Rio de Janeiro Surf Federation (FESERJ) and the Saquarema Surf Association. The competition is broadcast live on WorldSurfLeague.com.

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