THE Oi Rio Men’s Pro kicked-off on Monday in four-to-six foot (1.2-1.8 metre) waves at Barrinha, the event’s backup location famous for its hollow tubes and powerful waves.
The fourth stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Oi Rio Pro, witnessed a strong showing from the Brazilians in men's round one.
Out of the 14 Brazilian men in the draw, seven will advance to round three after the completion of round one and the first six heats of round two.
Reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (Hawaii) looked in incredible form to take his second heat win of the season but was stopped by injury replacement Mikey Wright, from Culburra Beach.
The two-time WSL Champion charged out of a huge barrel and hit an unruly closeout section, landing miraculously on his feet for a 9.10 (out of a possible 10).
Despite being awarded the near-perfect score, Florence could not find a second wave to defeat Wright.
“This definitely makes me want to be on the tour more,” Wright said.
“This makes me want to keep doing and getting results on the QS, and getting these spots as a replacement.
“I am trying to make the most out of these opportunities."
Wright’s 14.83 total saw him to progress to round three, while both Florence (13.93) and France’s Joan Duru (10.93) were forced to surf in round two.
Unfortunately, Mikey’s brother Owen didn’t follow the same path as his brother, losing his round one heat to Wade Carmichael (12.60), only managing 11.26.
This pitted Wright, the current world number four, against Brazil’s Alejo Muniz in a do or die round two match-up.
Muniz took an aggressive approach to oust the top seed by 0.17 points (10.57 to 10.40) – leaving Wright with his first 25th place result of the year.
Oi Rio Men’s Pro round one results:
Heat one: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.70, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.07, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 9.73
Heat two: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.10, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.66, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 8.23
Heat three: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 12.60, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.26, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.17
Heat four: Mikey Wright (AUS) 14.83, John John Florence (HAW) 13.93, Joan Duru (FRA) 10.93
Heat five: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.43, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.86
Heat six: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.93, Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.30, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.83
Heat seven: Italo Ferreira (BRA 10.64, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.47, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.36
Heat eight: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.60, Michael February (ZAF) 11.47, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.00
Heat nine: Yago Dora (BRA) 12.13, Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.67, Conner Coffin (USA) 2.87
Heat 10: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.60, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.30, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.57
Heat 11: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.16, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 9.60, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.30
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.40, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.76, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 7.00
Oi Rio Men's Pro round two results (Heats 1-6):
Heat one: John John Florence (HAW) 12.24 def. Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.94
Heat two: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.57 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.40
Heat three: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.70 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 9.94
Heat four: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.53 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.83
Heat five: Keanu Asing (HAW) 9.77 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.66
Heat six: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.63 def. Michael February (ZAF) 3.96
Oi Rio Men's Pro remaining round two match-ups (Heats 6-12):
Heat seven: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Heat eight: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat nine: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Heat 12: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)