THE Oi Rio Pro, stop number four, on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), gets underway on Friday, with a competitive window from May 11 through May 20, 2018.
(min cost $8)
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The Oi Rio Pro is known for drawing massive crowds to Itaúna Beach in Saquarema, one of the southern region's premier beach breaks, and the athletes are eager to perform for the Brazilian fans.
After the cancellation of the Margaret River Pro, Italo Ferreira (Brazil) and Julian Wilson (Australia) remain the Jeep Frontrunners heading into the Oi Rio Pro.
Both athletes are out to best each other, and their fellow competitors, to keep their world number one position when the event commences.
Defending men’s event winner Adriano de Souza (Brazil) will showcase his best surfing for all the Brazilian fans when he comes up against 2018 CT Rookies Griffin Colapinto (US) and Michael February (South Africa) in round one.
While Culburra Beach’s Tyler Wright, two-time WSL Champion, is ready to adapt to the trying conditions at Saquarema for her third-straight Oi Rio Pro victory after dominating this event for the past two years.
The crowd will cheer on the reigning world champion to see if she can bounce back into the World Title race at one of her most successful events.
“I am really excited to be back here in Brazil,” Wright said.
“You have to really adapt to the waves here at Saquarema because the conditions can change so quickly.
“I think that is part of the reason that makes surfing here so tricky, yet rewarding at the same time.”
Australian Joel Parkinson has also withdrawn from the event due to personal reasons.
He will be replaced by Mikey Wright, from Culburra Beach, who is currently ranked number two on the Qualifying Series (QS).
In round one, Wright will battle Hawaii’s John John Florence and France’s Joan Duru.
The pre-selected wildcard for the men's Oi Rio Pro will be QS rankings leader Alejo Muniz (BRA).
On the women's side, Courtney Conlogue (US) has withdrawn from the Oi Rio Women's Pro due to an injury she received on the Gold Coast prior to the start of the season.
She will be replaced by French surfer Pauline Ado.
The wildcard spot will also be allocated to the Trails winner, Taís Almeida (Brazil).
The South Coast will also be represented at this event by Culburra Beach’s Owen Wright, who will face countrymen Wade Carmichael and Brazil’s Wiggolly Dantas in round one, and Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons, who has been matched up with Australia’s Nikki Van Dijk and Hawaii’s Coco Ho.
Oi Rio Women’s Pro round one matchups:
Heat one: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat two: Tyler Wright (AUS), Caroline Marks (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat three: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Taís Almeida (BRA)
Heat four: Lakey Peterson (USA), Sage Erickson (USA), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat five: Carissa Moore (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat six: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Oi Rio Men’s Pro round one matchups:
Heat one: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat two: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat three: Owen Wright (AUS), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat four: John John Florence (HAW), Joan Duru (FRA), Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat five: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat six: Julian Wilson (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat seven: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat eight: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Michael February (ZAF)
Heat nine: Michel Bourez (PYF), Conner Coffin (USA), Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 11: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
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