Written by Willy Correa
Two world surfing championships will be held during the last week of August in Salvador, the capital of Bahia, Brazilian’s North-Eastern state. The last global event in Brazil for the 2012 year, the WST (World Star Tour) but known as the WQS (World Qualifying Series) is almost ready to kick off competition for some of the best surfers in the world at the Surf Eco Festival, on the Jaguaribe Beach. The warm waters of Bahia have seen massive swells over the past weeks up to three meters (10 ft) guaranteeing a great event with solid conditions.
Surf Eco Festival begins with the professional category on the 27th of August, with the ASP 1-Star with $ 15,000 prize in the same week on the 30th. The men’s and women’s junior events will begin with the decision of the ASP South America Pro Junior Series, finalizing the results for South America’s under-20 male and female category with waiting period until Saturday, September 1st, 2012.
The Billabong Surf Eco Festival is a celebration of surf culture and nature. The festival hosts surf contests, parties, demos, raffles and many other interesting events. It also incorporates eco awareness activities. One of the most important competitions hosted by the Surf Eco Festival is a 3-Star ASP Junior competition. This event gathers some of the best young riders that compete for ranking points and a $15,000 cash prize.
Inviting visitors of all ages with a complete program of daily activities, the Surf Eco Festivalwill also welcome about 500 children daily from public schools and social projects supported by Petrobras in Salvador to attend the championship and participate in the activities of the Environmental Program. Educational initiatives during the event include: selective recycling of the waste generated at the event with members of the cooperative partner, Friends of the Planet; an eco mural activity of painting with students welcomed in many areas during the event, educational science materials and panels; and Exposition Horta and Garden Vertical, with film screenings with educational activities related to biodiversity conservation.
Unfortunately, the two ASP World Tour stops programmed for October in Brazil were canceled, and the traditional “Brazilian leg” of the end of the year by ASP South America will not happen this year at the famous waves of Imbituba, in Santa Catarina. In past years, this event awarded several important world titles for legendary surfers, like Andy Irons, who celebrated his third championship in 2004 in the same waves that Kelly Slater celebrated his seventh world title in 2005. Soon after in 2007, Australian Mick Fanning won his first world title at Ibituba. Most recently, with the 6,500 points gained by a victory in the ASP Prime Imbituba, Brazilian Gabriel Medina was able to gain ranking in the group to shine with the world’s best surfers in the WT.
The organizers responsible for ASP Prime Imbituba, Santa Cantarina, and the ASP 6-Star Rio de Janeiro, could not get the sponsorship needed to confirm the events, held so successfully last year in Praia da Vila and Arpoador, respectively. Thus, the Surf Eco Festival will be the last international event of the 2012 season in Brazil.
With the cancellation of the “last leg” of the year, the Surf Eco Festival will be the third and final stage of ASP South America in Brazil valid for unified ASP world rankings, which ranks ten elite surfers for the top-32 of the World Tour.
Even after losing two more events, the hard work by ASP South America still maintains Brazil as the leading country in the history of the division with access to the ASP Tour, started in 1992 with the creation of the World Championship Tour and World Qualifying Series.
With 21 seasons on the world circuit completed by 2012, a total of $9 million were distributed in Brazil, and 226,500 points in 122 steps of the WQS, or Prime Star. The United States comes in second with $8 million, and 218,750 points from the 172 competition stops completed in Brazil.
Last year, the ASP Billabong Surf Eco Festival event title was claimed by Bernardo “Bino” Lopes (BRA), his victory shown in the video below on the sands of Jaguaribe:
Italo Ferreira (BRA) is the current leader in South America and could be crowned at this final event.
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