The World Surf League (WSL) Saquarema Surf Festival in Memory of Leo Neves and presented by Prefeitura de Saquarema finished off in spectacular fashion on Sunday with two Peruvian and four Brazilian victories at Praia de Itaúna. Daniella Rosas (PER) and Miguel Tudela (PER) won the QS 5000 category, Chloe Calmon (BRA) and Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) took home the Longboard categories and Laura Raupp (BRA) and Cauã Costa (BRA) were victorious in the Pro Junior division.
The Saquarema Surf Festival was the largest WSL Latin America regional competition of the season with 188 athletes competing in the six categories and a full continental representation of surfers from countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile and Peru.
Men's and Women's QS 5000
The Peruvians earned the highest laurels with victories in the only combined Men's and Women's QS 5000 event of the season. Tudela has been on a scorcher, winning four out of four Qualifying Series (QS) events he has competed in during the 2022/23 season. On Sunday, Tudela defeated local surfer João Chianca (BRA) by pulling off an air-reverse in the final minutes to take home the event win.
"It's unbelievable and honestly, I'm speechless right now. I just want to thank everyone in Peru, my family and everyone around the world that has been giving me support. I didn't think I'd be able to win another event this year, but this season has been a dream come true," said Tudela after being chaired up the beach. "I think these results come from a lot of hard work and I hope to continue with this kind of success on the Challenger Series and qualify for the Championship Tour. I think João Chianca is one of the best surfers in the world, he proved that on the CT, so to have this Final with him at his home break was incredible."
With his result today, Tudela has guaranteed a spot as part of the 2023 Challenger Series season. Tudela also commented on his relationship with Leo Neves.
"Leo was a very special person. I met him when I was younger in Peru. Every time I saw him, he was ripping. He gave me a lot of advice as a youngster. I think I faced him in the Semifinals of the first QS event I ever won, so that was a special moment and it's an honor to be at this event that is held in his memory," concluded Tudela.
In the Women's division, Rosas had to overcome Sophia Medina (BRA) in the Semifinals before facing an in-form Luana Silva (BRA) in the Final. Silva had earned the event's highest scores but was penalized with an interference penalty, reducing her 2nd score to zero. Rosas took advantage and surfed two waves for mid-range scores and won the Final with a total of 13.10 to 6.33 (out of a possible 20 points) respectively.
"I'm so happy right now. Honestly, all the girls are surfing incredibly well, especially Luana (Silva). So it was really hard to make it to the Finals, but super rewarding," said Rosas, who has jumped into the WSL South America rankings lead with her victory today. "I've had a lot of good results in Brazil and this event means a lot to me by representing Peru. Now that I've gotten this result, I'm extremely happy."
PRO JUNIOR JQS 1000
16-year-old Laura Raupp (BRA) faced an onslaught of talent in the Pro Junior category, overcoming Tainá Hinckel (BRA), Luana Silva (BRA) and Sol Aguirre (PER) on her way to the event victory. Hinckel now jumps into 3rd place on the overall rankings with the title to be decided at the Punta Rocas Pro, to be held from November 15 -20 in Peru.
"I needed a good result here to see if I would go to Peru for the final stop or not. But after winning today, I'm definitely going ," declared Raupp. "I'm really excited because I knew since yesterday that today was going to be daunting. The girls I faced today are the best in South America, so I'm just thankful for everything."
In the Men's division, Cauã Costa was able to defend his title, becoming consecutive Saquarema Surf Festival event winner in the Pro Junior category. Costa had a decisive victory on Sunday by defeating Gabriel Klaussner (BRA), Franco Radziunas (ARG) and Diego Aguiar (BRA) in the Final.
"I'm stoked to win this event for the second straight time, especially here in Saquarema where I feel completely at home," said Costa. "Thankfully all my training has been paying off, I feel like I surfed well in every heat and I'm so glad I won. Now the next stop is Peru for the final event of the season and hopefully I can qualify for the World Junior Championships and maybe another WSL South America title."
LONGBOARD LQS 1000
The Cariocas ran the table in the Longboard category with event wins by Chloe Calmon and local surfer Rodrigo Sphaier. Calmon became a two-time Saquarema Surf Festival event winner, defeating Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER), Atalanta Batista (BRA) and Luana Soares (BRA) in the Final.
"The Final is always the hardest heat of an event because you only have the best athletes competing, and each year the talent level keeps rising," said Calmon. "This event is one of my favorites of the season and having a WSL event in Brazil is great to provide opportunities to new talent in the region. I'm happy that we have an increasing number of female athletes in Longboarding, and I'm stoked to have won here again."
In the Men's division, Sphaier got some payback in a reversal of fortune by defeating Tony Silvagni (USA) in the Final. Silvagni was hit with an interference penalty, leaving him with a 4th place result. Sebastian Cardenas Aguirre (PER) earned 2nd place and saw Jeferson Silva (BRA) ending in 3rd place in the Final.
"I feel like I got the job done today. All the hard work you put in eventually pays off in the end, so I'm incredibly happy," said Sphaier. "I want to thank so many people including my friends, family and especially my wife who is watching from Portugal. It's amazing to have all this support here on the beach. Now it's time to celebrate!"
51 ICE EXPRESSION SESSION
A special prize of $2,500 reais provided by 51 Ice was given to the best maneuver in a 30-minute session. During Saturday's session, Julia Santos (BRA) was awarded the prize and on Sunday, Leo Casal (BRA) earned the award after sticking a tweaked-out fronthand air-reverse at Praia de Itaúna.
The Saquarema Surf Festival in memory of Leo Neves is licensed by WSL Latin America to 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 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 partnerships from Ricosurf.com, Waves, Lance!, Rádio Cidade, the Rio de Janeiro Surf Federation (FESERJ) and the Saquarema Surf Association. The event is broadcast live on WorldSurfLeague.com.