Both the Men's QS 1500 and Women's QS 1000 saw action on Thursday at the 2017 Rip Curl Pro Argentina in Mar del Plata. Conditions remained favorable as a declining swell in the 3-4 foot range (1 meter) and little to no wind welcomed the event's top seeds into competition. As the talent level rose, so did the scores from the judges as the best surfers moved on during the first events of the WSL South America calendar.
It goes to show that there are no guarantees in competitive surfing as many of the lower seeded athletes were able to eliminate event favorites such as 2016 WSL South America Regional Champion Leandro Usuña (ARG), as well as young guns such as: Tales Araújo (BRA), Tad McCardell (USA), Joaquin Del Castillo (PER) and Nicolas Vargas (CHL).
Thiago Camarão (BRA) is known as a surfer that is always willing to bust out huge maneuvers for a big score. Today however, Camarão held back his explosive airs and maintained a strategy of using his solid rail game to earn the biggest scores of the event. Camarão let his backhand do the talking with repeated vertical bashes meriting an 8.60 and an 8.00 (16.60 total) on the steeper lefthanders at Biologia, Playa Grande.
"Even though the waves are a little smaller today, conditions are still really good," said Camarão. "I've never surfed waves as good as these here. But my main focus is on winning heats regardless of how good they are. I feel like I won because I caught the best waves in my heat. Everyone surfs so well that it's anybody's game."
Other standouts in the Men's division were - Luan Wood (BRA), who displayed fine-tuned snaps to earn an 8.50 and a 7.50 on his best two rides, as well as local surfer Felipe Suarez (ARG), who showed that local knowledge was a big factor in equaling Wood's score line of a 16.00 heat total.
Suarez had this to say after his heat:
"I'm always surfing that left. I run practice heats with my friends there every day, so when I caught it, I knew exactly what to do," declared Suarez. "I didn't have priority, but nobody paddled into the waves where I was positioned, so I went for it and surfed as hard as I could. I'm a local here and I don't think anybody knows this wave better than I do. I'm looking to do well here at home and I think it's a dream for anybody from Argentina to win this event."
Heat 1 of Round 3 will see Sebastian Olarte face up against Brazilians João Chianca, Jeronimo Vargas and Tayrom da Silva.
The Women's QS 1000 also saw top seeds Lucia Indurain (ARG) and Gilvanilta Ferreira (BRA) bow out from the Rip Curl Pro Argentina. Today's standouts included the 13 year-old 2016 WSL South America Junior Champion Taina Hinckel (BRA), as well as Lucia Cosoleto (ARG), the lone athlete from Argentina to remain in competition.
"I'm so stoked that I made it through that heat because it was so difficult," said Cosoleto. "I think I was lucky because I caught the best wave of the heat and now I feel ready to face any challenge. I feel comfortable being the last surfer from Argentina because I know this wave very well, so I just need to surf it the way I normally do here and just take it heat by heat."
Cosoleto will now face Yanca Costa (BRA) in Heat 1 of the Quarterfinals. A call is set for 8:00 am local time for continuation of the 2017 Rip Curl Pro Argentina Men's QS 1500 and Women's QS 1000.