A solid uptick in swell brought pristine barrels to Cacimba do Padre for Day 2 of the World Surf League (WSL) Men's QS 5000 Hang Loose Pro Contest pres. by Eletron Energy in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. With consistent waves in the 6-foot range, the field of competitors excelled in the spectacular conditions and were scored accordingly by the judges with a slew of high scoring rides throughout the day.
The Round of 64 began with former Championship Tour athlete Paulo Moura (BRA) earning a 9.67 in the first heat of the day. In the following heat, Igor Moraes (BRA) paddled into a larger, throatier barrel and received a 9.80 from the judges. However, in Heat 10, the young surfer from São Paulo, Kaue Germano (BRA), caught one of the largest waves of the day, dropped into a heaving barrel, completely disappeared and was shot out after the spray, raising his arms in glory after finishing the ride. Three out of the five judges deemed it a perfect 10-point ride, but it averaged out to a 9.93, the highest single scoring wave so far of the 2023 Hang Loose Pro Contest.
A recent tragedy caused by heavy rainfall and landslides on the São Paulo coastline, affected several cities in the northern region, including the hometowns of several prominent CT athletes Gabriel Medina (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Miguel and Samuel Pupo (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA) and others.
Germano who also resides in the region was overcome with emotion during his post heat interview.
"With everything that's been happening in my region, I didn't think should have come. The situation is critical back home, but my friends and family insisted that I should come and compete and try to do some good," Germano struggled to say, fighting back tears. "I hadn't surfed in ten days and I didn't want to come, but God has a greater plan and I think that wave had a deeper connection with me spiritually. I didn't even think it had that kind of scoring potential, but it sped down the line and kept opening up. I don't even know what to say, it was an incredible feeling," concluded Germano.
High Scoring Rides Heat 1 opened the day with clean, offshore winds and speedy barrels at the event site at Cacimba do Padre. On his first wave of the day, Paulo Moura (BRA) got spat out of a solid barrel to earn a 9.63 and guaranteed a spot in the Round of 32. Alan Jhones (BRA) advanced in 2nd place, eliminating former CT athlete Deivid Silva (BRA) from the competition.
"I'm super stoked I made it through that heat, especially since I felt a connection with Cacimba and that amazing wave," said Moura. "I've always felt great here in Noronha and it seems like the waves decides who will get the best opportunities, not the other way around. I'm glad I have another chance to surf here. My first contest here was in 2000, now it's over twenty years later and I'm still trying to get another great result here."
In Heat 2, Igor Moraes (BRA) caught a larger, cleaner barrel in comparison with Moura's and scored a near-perfect 9.80 from his accomplishment. His score was only superseded by Germano's 9.93 later in the day.
"I'm speechless, this is only my second time in Noronha and without a doubt, that was the best wave I've ever caught here," said Moraes. "I've been staying with some locals here and the vibe has been great. I knew that wave was going to be special, so I paddled extra hard for it, made that tough drop, made the tube and still got to blast a section coming out, but I ended up falling. I guess that's why I didn't get a 10," said an upbeat Moraes.
Regional Title Race Heats Up
The Hang Loose Pro Contest is the second-to-last event of the 2022/23 WSL South America season and spots are still up for grabs in the rankings as only the Top 8 surfers will qualify for the 2023 WSL Challenger Series.
Miguel Tudela (PER) has a commanding lead atop the rankings, but a knee injury has sidelined him and is not in Fernando de Noronha for the QS 5000, nor will he complete at the final stop at the QS 3000 in Florianópolis, Brazil next week.
Currently sitting in 3rd on the rankings is Rafael Teixeira (BRA) and has his eye on guaranteeing a spot on this year's Challenger Series. He got off to a good start by winning Heat 3.
"For sure, my main goal since last year was qualifying for the Challenger Series. I'm in a good spot right now on the rankings, but there's still a lot of work to do, so it felt great to win my first heat. Now it's on to the next round and hope to get a good result so I won't have to depend on the last event of the season to guarantee my spot. This is my third time here and I didn't do well in either of the first two events here, so I'm already off to a good start."
Ian Gouveia (BRA) is the only athlete that can overtake Tudela in the rankings but needs to win in Noronha and in Florianópolis to make that happen.
"Expectations are high for this event because of the rankings and because it's also run by my sponsor," said Gouveia. "Noronha is an amazing place and very dear to me. This is the first event of the year since the break, so it was great to advance in my first heat. I know it won't be easy to pass Tudela in the rankings, but it's always been a dream of mine to win here."
A call is set for 9:30 AM (GMT-2) and will see Matheus Navarro (BRA), Leo Casal (BRA), Pedro Neves (BRA) and Vinicius Parra (BRA) face off in Heat 13 of the Round of 64. More information available at WorldSurfLeague.com The Hang Loose Pro Contest presented by Eletron Energy in Fernando de Noronha is sponsored by Hang Loose, Eletron Energy, the State of Pernambuco and is supported by Waves.com.