The a-frame peak of Tiririca is a gem. It’s hard to get to from the city, about four hours from a decent hospital, and during the rainy months, good luck trying to get cell service or enough wifi to watch a YouTube video in town. Yet, after one day in Itacaré, Bahia (located on the northeast coastline of Brazil) you won’t have any more cares in the world due to the good vibes, and you’ll be saying “mahalo” and “belleza” with a giant shaka to all the kind locals.
The waves are pumping, the water is warm and fruit hangs off the trees amidst the Atlantic Rainforest. Itacaré is considered a Brazilian paradise, and this year’s Surf Eco Festival WQS competition brought the ASP 4-star to Brazil’s Hawaii.
The ASP 4-Star Mahalo Surf Eco Festival presented by Skol commenced in fair conditions with sunny skies, onshore winds and waves in the 3-4 foot range (1-1.5 meters) at Praia da Tiririca, in Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil. 113 surfers from ten different countries are vying for crucial ASP World Ranking points and U$95,000 in prize money.
Italo Ferreira (BRA) took to the air and scored a 15.84 (out of 20) to obtain the highest heat total of the day. The Round of 128 continued in impressive form when Junior Lagosta (BRA) threaded a barrel and followed by boosting a perfect kerrupt flip to earn a perfect 10-point ride from the judges.
“Wow, that was amazing! When I paddled into that wave I knew it was going to barrel, and when I came out it formed a ramp and I just went for the kerrupt flip,” stated Junior Lagosta. “I’m happy to start the contest off well and hope my luck continues.”
Veteran surfer, Victor Ribas (BRA) qualified in 2nd place behind Lagosta and saw the flip from up close.
“The wave was perfect, it looked like Fernando de Noronha and Junior (Lagosta) did everything right by mixing up a tube-ride and finishing off with an air, it had to be a 10,” said Victor Ribas. “It also feels good to qualify into the next round. This early in the contest it doesn’t matter if you advance in first or in second as long as you advance.”
Fellow Brazilian Ex-WCT surfers who also qualified into the Round of 96 were Danilo Costa and Leonardo Neves, in their respective heats.
“The currents are pretty strong and the onshore winds are intense, but I’m happy to be back in Itacaré after such a long time,” commented Leonardo Neves. “I competed here during the Brazilian National Circuit and it’s a really special place. It was still up in the air if this contest was going to happen or not earlier in the year, so it was a nice surprise. One of my favorite bands is going to play this weekend, the beach is beautiful and the vibe here is great.”
The Round of 128 saw few foreign surfers advance into the next round, with Diran Zakarian (ZAF) and Colin Saunders (VEN) bowing out in their heats before victories achieved by Korak Tinoco (VEN) and Tom Cloarec (FRA).
“It’s my first time to Itacaré and I think it’s beautiful, very lush and the people are great,” said Tom Cloarec. “The waves are really good too but the wind made things difficult and I had a hard time positioning myself in the lineup. But it’s nice to advance and I hope to do well here.”
Competition continued for the second day of the ASP 4-Star Mahalo Surf Eco Festival presented by Skol at Praia da Tiririca in Itacare, Bahia, Brazil. Contrary to yesterday’s conditions, the Round of 96 was held under stormy skies, heavy showers and waves in the 2-3 foot range (1 meter). Italo Ferreira (BRA) continued his noteworthy performance by scoring the event’s highest heat wave total for the second day in a row by earning a 17.40 (out of a possible 20 points).
“I’ve been really happy with my performance so far and I’m thankful for finding such good waves during my heats,” said Italo Ferreira. “I did good yesterday (Tuesday) and today as well. Even though conditions have deteriorated, I was able to get two good scores to win my heat. I was trying to go for some airs on the lefts, but the wind changed and opted for some backside airs on the rights. I hope to maintain my form in the next heats.”
Local surfer, Iago Silva (BRA) was able to qualify alongside Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) into the Round of 64 and will battle the event’s top seeds for crucial ASP World Ranking points and U$95,000 in prize money.
Local surfer Iago Silva energizing his home crowd. Photos: Fabriciano Jr
“It feels great to qualify into the next round because all of the surfers are so talented. It especially feels good to accomplish this at home and in front of my friends and family,” said Iago Silva. “I will definitely maintain my focus and expect to use my local knowledge if conditions get smaller, as the forecast suggests.”
Similar to the first day of action, Tom Cloarec (FRA) and Kanoa Igarashi (USA) were some of the few foreign surfers to advance into the next round.
“It’s my first time to Brazil and I’m really enjoying myself here in Itacare,” stated Kanoa Igarashi. “The waves are a lot of fun and the people are great. So far it’s been a great trip. It’s hard to face so many good Brazilian surfers in conditions like this, but I tried to pick my spots in the lineup and I’ve been doing well in my first event in Brazil.”
Jihad Khodr (BRA), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Victor Ribas (BRA) and Renato Galvao (BRA) are all former Brazilian national champions that are competing in the 2013 Mahalo Surf Eco Festival and all have qualified into the Round of 64. Renato Galvao advanced in dramatic fashion by defeating Scott Weinhardt (USA) in the final minute of their heat.
“Conditions are tough,” said Renato Galvão. “I saw Jihad (Khodr) surf great earlier in a heat, but he was getting low scores because the waves weren’t helping out. Wave faces were really choppy, but I was lucky enough to catch a good left to advance into the next round.”
Competition continues tomorrow when the 32 top ranked athletes competing at the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival will hit the water.
The Mahalo Surf Eco Festival presented by Skol is produced by Dende Produções and sponsored by Mahalo, Petrobras, Bahiatursa and the City of Itacaré and is supported by Backdoor, the Tourism Institute of Itacaré, the Bahia Surf Federation and the Itacaré Surf Association. The event is approved by the ASP South America as a 4-Star event and is transmitted live on the internet: www.surfecofestival.com.br
You can watch the Surf Eco Festival LIVE WEBCAST, here from October 14 – 19th.
AO VIVO: WEBCAST SURF ECO FESTIVAL de 12 – 19 de octubro, 2013.