Rio Pro welcomes the world’s best surfers to Brazil

Published on 15/06/2024

The WSL Championship Tour (CT) will continue with Stop No. 8, the VIVO Rio Pro Presented by Corona, during its competition window from June 22 – 30, 2024. As the final event prior to the pause for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, and the second-to-last of the CT’s regular-season events, it will have a huge impact on which athletes confirm their spots for the Lexus WSL Finals in September.
 
Reaching the final stages of the 2024 CT Season, all athletes on Tour are seeking to make that final push before the break in July prior to returning for the final event of the calendar at the return of the Corona Fiji Pro in late August.

Praia de Itaúna to Host Second-to-Last Regular-Season CT Event

Known as the Mecca of Brazilian surfing, Praia de Itaúna is set to host the world’s best athletes as the CT heads to Brazilian soil. Known for its beach packed with fervent and passionate fans, 10-point rides, and a week-long schedule of events for the entire family, Saquarema has always been circled on the calendar for the WSL audience.
 
The main break at Praia de Itaúna has consistently proven to be a highlight-worthy locale. It has powerful rights and lengthy lefts, both ending in punchy sections that give ample scoring opportunities and air sections that have rewarded the athletes and fans alike with some amazing maneuvers.
 
Caitlin Simmers (USA) and Yago Dora (BRA) return as defending event winners from 2023 and look to repeat their success in 2024. Both are coming in hot to Brazil following brilliant performances at the Surf City El Salvador Pro. Simmers, the 18-year-old phenom from California, sits atop the CT rankings and has her eyes set on maintaining her position in the Top 5. Dora, whose only CT event victory came in Saquarema, knows he has full support from the Brazilian fans as the world’s top surfers return to Praia de Itaúna.

Crucial Rankings Points Up for Grabs for the Lexus WSL Finals

Upon conclusion of Stop No. 7 of the Championship Tour in El Salvador, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) lost possession of the yellow Leader jersey, which will be worn by Simmers in Brazil. The young Californian has taken the CT by storm with two victories during the 2024 season, including wins at Pipeline and Bells Beach.
 
On the men’s side, the yellow Leader jersey remains with two-time WSL World Champion John John Florence (HAW). Despite not winning any events in over three years, the Hawaiian earned a massive victory at the Surf City El Salvador Pro, with his consistency throughout the year keeping him in front of the CT field. Florence has already reached the winner’s podium in Brazil, and his free-flowing style and powerful form match well with the punchy beach break at Praia de Itaúna.
 
Other names to keep in mind include three-time WSL World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA), who, despite his success at a variety of CT locations, has yet to win on home soil in front of the fiery Brazilian fans. Another surfer who knows the ins and outs of Saquarema better than anyone else on Tour is local surfer João Chianca (BRA), who recently returned to competition in El Salvador, earning a Quarterfinal finish against Medina. Chianca has been named the event wildcard for this year’s competition.
 
At the same time, powerful surfers Molly Picklum (AUS), Johanne Defay(FRA), and reigning 2023 WSL World Champion Caroline Marks (USA) all intend to maintain a spot within the Top 5 of the rankings and will use the VIVO Rio Pro as their stepping stone prior to the pause in action due to the Olympic Games in July. Marks is also coming off a spectacular victory in El Salvador and is seeking another solid result in Brazil.

Event Wildcards and Injury Replacements Announced

The VIVO Rio Pro WSL wildcards have been chosen and will be represented by Luana Silva (BRA) and Samuel Pupo (BRA) as the highest-ranked Brazilian surfers on the Challenger Series, not on the Championship Tour. In addition, the event wildcards have been awarded to Brazilian Olympic Surfing Team member Tainá Hinckel (BRA) as well as Saquarema local and No. 4 ranked surfer in 2023, João Chianca (BRA).

VIVO Rio Pro Presented by Corona Women’s Opening Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
HEAT 2: Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Taina Hinckel (BRA)
HEAT 3: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) vs. Luana Silva (BRA)
HEAT 4: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW) vs. Sawyer Lindblad (USA)

VIVO Rio Pro Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Opening Round Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Cole Houshmand (USA) vs. Connor O’Leary (JPN)
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 4: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) vs. Joao Chianca (BRA)
HEAT 5: Jordy Smith (RSA) vs. Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW)
HEAT 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Rio Waida (INA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA) vs. Liam O’Brien (AUS)
HEAT 8: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (RSA)

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

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