Itauna Beach, Saquarema City, Rio de Janeiro State / Brazil (Tuesday, May, 20, 2014) – Sunny skies, light winds, warm water and waves in the 3-4 foot range (1 meter) greeted the assembly of 96 international surfers competing at the iconic pointbreak in Itauna, Brazil for the 2014 ASP Quiksilver Saquarema Prime presented by Powerade. By implementing an inaugural 4-man priority system during heats, the tendency for hassling for waves was eliminated and the first 17 heats of Round 1 were completed. Filipe Toledo (BRA) scored the day’s highest single wave of an 8.77 (out of a possible 10 points) in the opening heat of the event.
“It feels so different to be surfing in the first heat of the event,” said Filipe Toledo. “I started off feeling sleepy and kept falling off my board. But afterwards I felt more in sync and things started flowing.”
Toledo commented on the wave that provided him with the day’s high score. “It’s funny because I was the only one that wanted it. David do Carmo (BRA) and Keanu Asing (HAW) both had priority over me. They took a look at it and let it pass. I was relieved that they didn’t paddle for it and it really stood up for me. All I had to do was complete my turns.”
Filipe Toledo is included in the group of fifteen members of the Top 34 surfers on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour that are participating in the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime. In addition to Toledo, the other WCT surfers present that qualified directly into Round 2 are fellow Brazilians: Adriano de Souza, Alejo Muniz and Jadson Andre, along with Dion Atkinson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Tiago Pires (PRT).
“The waves here are really good, but I think the tide changes a lot throughout the day,” stated Tiago Pires. “I was ready to surf one type of wave and I ended up surfing conditions that were completely different in my heat. I also felt like the board I was riding was a little small and I needed a little bit more drive to make my carves more drawn out. Luckily, I got through that first heat and I can reflect on my performance tonight and try to do better tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Adriano de Souza (BRA) who sits in 6th place in the 2014 WCT rankings is currently in the top position on the ASP Qualifying Series. After winning the 6-Star Australian Open of Surfing in Sydney, he placed 3rd at the 6-Star event in Newcastle, Australia and fortified his results with a 5th place finish at the ASP 5-Star event at Pipeline, Hawaii. After a decent 9th place result at the Billabong Rio Pro WCT, he hopes to continue his consistency at the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime.
“I’m just happy to be able to be here competing, because last week was very difficult for me after I suffered an injury to my thigh” said Adriano de Souza. “I dedicated all my time between events doing physiotherapy and I’d like to thank everyone that did so much work for me to be here at this event. Actually, I’m not even thinking much about my injury and just being in the water and surfing great waves here at Itauna is a victory for me. But I’m up for the challenge and I’m focused on doing my best.”
Only the top 10 ranked surfers on the ASP Qualifying Series will be entitled to compete on the 2015 WCT Dream Tour. Competition is grueling and traveling worldwide from event to event can be demanding, but the prestige of reaching the elite class of surfers is a dream for every professional on tour.
Nathan Hedge (AUS) and David do Carmo (BRA), who occupied 3rd place and 13th place respectively on the ASP Qualifying Series were both defeated in Round 1 and will lose ground. Yet others like Tomas Hermes (BRA), Charles Martin (GLP), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Peterson Crisanto (BRA) all remain in competition and are looking to make up ground in the rankings.
“I’m really impressed with how warm the water is today (Tuesday). It’s never been like this in past years and I’m definitely going to surf in boardshorts for me next heats to feel a little looser,” claimed Patrick Gudauskas. “This contest is very important for everybody since it’s the first Prime event of the year. So I’m stoked to have won my first heat. Although the sets take a while to come in, there are good waves around and I’m looking for some good lefts that open up to keep on making it into the next rounds.”
Another ex-WCT surfer on the comeback trail is Dusty Payne (HAW) who also qualified into Round 2 alongside Tomas Hermes (BRA).
“Today was typical Itauna. There were heats with incredible waves followed by some slower heats without many sets. It’s kind of similar to Haleiwa, so you need some patience because the waves here in Saquarema are great,” stated Tomas Hermes.
The 2014 ASP Quiksilver Saquarema Prime presented by Powerade is brought to you by the Brazilian Association of Surfing Professionals (ABRASP) and sponsored by the State of Rio de Janeiro, the City of Saquarema, Powerade, Quiksilver, Peugeot and Barra GR Hygiene and Cleaning and is supported by CCR Via Lagos, the Rio de Janeiro Surf Federation (FESERJ) and the Saquarema Surf Association (ASS). The event is organized by the ASP South America as the first 2014 ASP World Prime event and offers U$ 250,000 in prize money and 6,500 points towards the ASP Qualifying Series ranking. The Quiksilver Saquarema Prime is broadcast live via: www.aspworldtour.com