The Hang Loose Pro Contest is set to return to Praia da Joaquina to celebrate its 30th anniversary after a memorable contest that brought World Tour competition back to Brazil in 1986. It was the first time a CT event took place in Florianopolis and a massive crowd showed up to watch the world's best talent in the water as perfect sets in the 8-10 foot range (2.5-3 meters) rifled down the line at the lefthand pointbreak.
WSL South America is pleased to announce that the 2016 Hang Loose Pro Contest is confirmed for November 1st - 6th. It will be the last QS 6,000 level event before the WSL's year-end leg in Hawaii.
"I am very proud to announce that the Hang Loose Pro Contest will be heading back to Joaquina to commemorate its 30th anniversary. It was a contest that had a major impact in the history of surfing in Brazil," said Alfio Lagnado, the head of Hang Loose. "At the time, Brazilian surfing had yet to crack the barrier for success in competitive surfing. Now we'll be able to honor that epic event and reflect on how far we've come with two World Champions (Gabriel Medina in 2014 and Adriano de Souza in 2015). There is little doubt as to Brazil's current success as a powerhouse in the sport of surfing."
In contrast, there were no Brazilian surfers competing on the World Tour in 1986. Led by Flavio Padaratz and Fabio Gouveia (both riding for Hang Loose at the time), the first group of surfers from Brazil to make it onto the elite level of competitive surfing was only attained in 1988.
"I invite everyone to come celebrate the spectacle which happened in 1986, but especially everyone that either participated or watched the historic event at Joaquina," continued Lagnado, who was delighted with the opportunity of returning to Praia da Joaquina. "I'd like to thank the State of Santa Catarina, the City of Florianopolis, WSL South America and everyone that fought hard for this event to become a reality. I'll see you at the beach."
To commemorate its 30th anniversary, Hang Loose will be using the same style guide as the one used in 1986, consisting of typical 80's fluorescent blue and yellow throughout the event structure. Since that time, the Hang Loose Pro Contest has run 29 times in a variety of locations throughout Brazil.
However, conversation always returns to the first event at Joaquina as the benchmark of the event's history. A cold front that blasted through the night before the contest was scheduled to begin provided a perfect swell coming in from the East with epic 10-foot lefts. After only seeing images of their favorite surfers through magazines, the crowd estimated at 20,000 people, began filing in to Joaquina at first light to see the world's best surfers compete live for the first time in Santa Catarina.
Included amongst the list of competitors were four World Champions: Mark Richards (AUS), Tom Carroll (AUS), Shaun Tomson (ZAF) and Wayne Bartholomew (AUS). Other notable legends that competed in 1986 were Mark Occhilupo (AUS), Matt Archbold (USA), Brad Gerlach (USA), Damien Hardman (AUS), Hans Hedemann (HAW) and Dave Macaulay (AUS).
In front of an ecstatic crowd, Macaulay defeated Occy in the Final in 1986, while Tom Carroll won the event back-to-back in 1987 and 1988. However, from 1986 to 2012, 16 events have been won by Brazilians, while 8 events were won by Australians, 3 by surfers from the USA, 1 from Spain and one from South Africa.
So who will win the 30th anniversary of the Hang Loose Pro Contest? We'll find out in November.