On the final day of competition at the ASP 4-Star Mahalo Surf Eco Festival presented by Skol, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) maintained his high-performance surfing to defeat Paul Cesar Distinguin (FRA) by a score of 11.25 to 8.90, respectively. With his win today, Ribeiro earned US$15,000 in prize money and 1,000 points, which places him at 37th on the ASP Qualification Series rankings.
"It was a low-scoring heat, but I was able to find two waves with scoring potential while Paul couldn't really get into rhythm," said Ribeiro. "I'm so proud to represent Brazil with this victory here in Itacare. It's my second victory this year, so I'm stoked. My board has been feeling great for these kinds of waves, so everything's been working out well for me.
"Next up is the Prime event in Maresias where I hope to claim the South American title. But before that I want to go home to celebrate this victory with my friends and family. It wasn't easy at all. Conditions have been tough all week, but I was lucky enough to find the right waves to win."
Prior to the start of the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival, Ribeiro was leading the rankings for the ASP South America title. After his victory in Itacare, he has seized control for the continental championship. The final event of the ASP South America Series will occur at the O'Neill SP Prime at Maresias Beach from November 3-9. Jesse Mendes (BRA) and Michael Rodrigues (BRA) are the only other athletes that are in contention for the Title.
Distinguin earned a 9.25 for a deep barrel ride in the Quarterfinals for the highest single-wave score of the Festival on Friday. He also displayed an impressive aerial attack throughout the event but was unable to repeat his performance during the Final against Alex Ribeiro.
"It feels amazing to reach the Finals here," said Distinguin. "It's a shame that the waves didn't help out. Conditions got very difficult during the last heat, but I'm still stoked with the result. Last year in this event I was eliminated right away. So I'm satisfied with my result and Alex got the best waves in the Final, so he deserved the victory."
In the Women's division, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) defeated Alessa Quizon (HAW) by a score of 14.70 to 13.60 in an all-Hawaiian heat at Praia da Tiririca. Both surfers will be part of the 2015 World Championship Tour and have further solidified their classification with their results at the ASP 4-Star Mahalo Surf Eco Festival presented by Skol.
"I'm really happy to have come here to Itacare for my last QS event. The place is beautiful and it's been an amazing event," said Weston-Webb. "Alessa and I are good friends and we've been fighting for 6th place on the QS rankings, so we just wanted to surf and have fun.
"I think I got luckier with wave selection in the Final and I'm stoked with the win. Now I need to start thinking about the WCT next year and I hope it's an amazing year for me. All I can say now is that I'll give it my best in each heat and in each event to try to get good results on my first year on tour."
Jacqueline Silva (BRA) lost in the Semifinals to Weston-Webb but with her result today, she has practically guaranteed her title as the 2014 ASP South America champion. Despite having one event left on the calendar (Maui and Sons Pichilemu Pro from November 13-16 in Chile), neither Silva nor the remaining athletes in contention (Silvana Lima and Suelen Naraisa) will be participating in the event.
"I knew that it was going to be a difficult heat and I was kind of nervous because I really wanted to make the Final," said Silva. "I ended up falling on a few waves, but I'm still happy with a third-place finish."
In response to her ASP South America title, she added, "Unfortunately, I don't have a major sponsor. So it's been hard for me to travel and I'm not going to be able to go to Chile. But the other girls aren't going either, so I think that signifies that I'll win the Title this year.
"The Title means a lot to me because without a sponsor, I haven't been able to participate in all the events. I didn't know if I'd have enough money to get to the next contest, so it messes with you psychologically. That's why the South American title means so much. I've never won it before, so I'm very proud of this achievement."