Conditions with light winds and waves in the 4-6 foot range were on hand for the first day of competition at the left-hand point break at Itauna Beach, Rio de Janeiro, for the ASP 2013 Quiksilver Saquarema Prime.
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) received the day’s highest single wave score of a 9.80 and went on to score an 18.47 to secure the day’s highest heat-wave total as well.
“I’m so happy. It was really tough, but I was able to get two good waves and I want to thank my team for my conditioning because I needed all my energy to face these difficult conditions,” said Ramzi Boukhiam. “It’s my first time here and I caught some strong waves. It sounds like it will be even bigger tomorrow, so I’m happy to remain in the contest.”
Granger Larsen (HAW), also qualified into the Round of 48 alongside Boukhiam by defeating Brian Toth (PRI) and Torrey Meister (HAW) respectively.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), also stood out by taking advantage of the conditions to score an 18.36 (out of a possible 20) for his two-wave total.
“It’s good to start off such an important contest with good scores,” said Gabriel Medina. “It’s great to be back in Saquarema again where there are always good waves. I had a good result here last year and I want to do event better this time around.“
Local surfer Raoni Monteiro (BRA), confirmed his knowledge of the waves at Itauna Beach to win his heat and qualify into the next round together with Davey Cathels (AUS) in second, over Andrew Doheny (USA) and Hodei Collazo (EUK).
“The waves got a lot bigger overnight. Conditions weren’t perfect and the waves were tough to surf, but I did well enough to win my heat,” said Raoni Monteiro. “It’s important to do strong turns and big carves to get high scores here. I’m surfing at home, I feel confident and I have the entire crowd behind me, so I’ll take it step by step to see how far I can go.”
Defending champion of the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime, Matt Wilkinson (AUS), also began with a heat win and moved on to the Round of 48. Heath Joske (AUS) also advanced along with Wilkinson over Charles Martin (GLP) and Halley Batista (BRA).
“It was really hard and I spent a lot of time waiting for the good sets to come in,” said Matt Wilkinson. “You need a bit of luck to be in the right spot. When a good one finally came, I had to give it my all because you might not get another chance out there. My goal here is to win the contest again. I didn’t come to lose.”
In his rookie season on the WCT, Felipe Toledo (BRA) has been in the recent spotlight by obtaining good results with his aerial tactics. However, Toledo endured an early exit in his Heat 8 battle won by Nic Von Rupp (DEU) and Jesse Mendes (BRA) in second place.
“That was a very difficult heat against Felipe (Toledo) who has been surfing very well on the WCT, Jesse (Mendes) and Leonardo Neves, who is a local here and very experienced,” said Nic Von Rupp. “Conditions are tough but I was able to catch a really good wave for an 8 point ride and qualify into the next round. I’ve never been to Saquarema before and I like it a lot. It’s got a lot of power like the waves I surf at where I live in Portugal, so I kind of felt at home.”
The event winner of the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime receives 6,500 points towards their One World Ranking, where the top 10 surfers in the ranking qualify for the 2014 WCT. Evan Geiselman (USA) won his heat alongside Brett Simpson (USA) over Messias Felix (BRA) and Jano Belo (BRA).
“Conditions really changed since yesterday,” said Even Geiselman, ranked 54th on the ASP World Ranking. “The tide filled in during my heat but I did enough to get through to the next round. It was tough because Brett (Simpson) was on my back the whole time, but everything worked out and I’m happy that we’re supposed to get good waves for the rest of the week.”