WSL Oi Rio Pro 2019

Well that went by pretty quickly, if you blinked you missed it! The Oi Rio Pro finished with a win from Toledo and Fitzgibbons in fun 3-4ft surf. The bank down the south end of Saquarema, which saw Toledo take the win last year, came back with the goods again this year for the finals day.

To be honest the WSL should have just stayed down this side of the beach because the North ends left hander, sorry straight hander, was just awful! If you watched the second to last day every so often the camera would pan around and give a view of the full length of the beach and down in the far end you could just make out a heavy right barrel draining off in the distance. But for some reason they held the men’s and women’s early rounds in double over head wobbly closeouts!?!? Maybe it’s because there aren’t many rippable lefts on the tour and some competitors have brought that to the attention of the WSL... who knows... but when there’s waves around a venue that are better surely they should put the best surfers in the world on the best waves...!?

Just another reason to hold the comp at the North end of Saquarema!

It was frustrating on the second to last day because the conditions finally cleaned up and instead of setting up down the south end of Saquarema at the right hand bank the day started with the women’s round of 16 in double overhead close outs at the north end and when it was time for the men’s round of 16 to begin there was a 4 hour delay so they could move the event down the beach, during that time the right hand bank of Saquarema was PUMPING. But as soon as they started the men’s round of 16 the wind had come up and messed up the swell a little so the men’s competitors had to make do with a tricky and unpredictable semi close out. 

Andino was ripping!

There was only a few waves scored in the excellent range and the match up between Toledo and Slater was the 1st heat in and they utilised the change to the heavy right and cleaner conditions to get a couple of amazing waves! Toledo did what he does best and did a full rotation front side air reverse to get a 9.17 and Slater did what he does best and got barrelled to get a 9.50, although he struggled to find a decent wave to back it up. Toledo got a good barrel on a heavy looking wave and got the heat win with an 8.67. The other heats didn’t quite match up to the 1st heat because the conditions were pretty tricky, so the term “should’ve been here earlier” was definitely in the thoughts of the competitors and the crowd. The only other significant thing to happen during the round of 16 was that John John re injured his knee with 10 minutes to go in his heat with Wade Carmichael while doing a fly away kick out. John John went in early but still won the heat to go through to the quarters. It wasn’t until the finals day John John announced he was withdrawing from the contest to rest his knee ready for Jefferys Bay in a couple of weeks. This shows us his competitive intelligence, he knew he’d come away with a 5th place and the yellow jersey so he’s looking to get his knee better for the next event. 

Slater on a bomb! 

The finals day delivered much smaller but fun waves, although it was a little slow compared to the early rounds. Kolohe Andino silenced the Brazilian crowd by taking down Medina but couldn’t carry it on past the semis when he was taken down by an in form Jordy Smith. Andino maintains his second spot on the WSL rankings with Jordy sitting in fourth. Fredarico Morais took full advantage of his injury replacement slot in the Oi Rio Pro and went all the way to semi finals but wasn’t able to get past Toledo who just looked unstoppable. Morais put on his usual display of powerful on rail surfing but wasn’t able to find the waves in his heat to get him the scores he needed. Toledo carried on his charge finding the best waves and surfing them with speed and flare to beat Jordy Smith in a very one sided final. The waves just came Toledo’s way, whereas Jordy was catching everything he could with little or no affect. 

Toledo flying high!

The next stop is Jefferys Bay in a couple of weeks, Toledo won there last year so he’s looking to defend his title and close the gap to John John on the WSL rankings. Fingers crossed John John’s knee is ok and ready for Jefferys so he can maintain his lead and make it harder for the other competitors to catch him in the race for the 2019 title. 

Matz Ginman-Trout

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