In an all-Brazilian Final, Deivid Silva (BRA) defeated Flavio Nakagima (BRA) to take home the 2017 Men's QS 3,000 Hang Loose São Sebastião Pro. Thousands of fans packed the beach at Praia de Maresias throughout the holiday weekend to watch all the action as their favorite athletes displayed high-performance surfing at the punchy beach break. Despite a declining swell, plenty of suspense and excitement was on hand on Saturday. In addition to determining the event winners, the contest also crowned the 2017 WSL South America Regional Champion, Thiago Camarão (BRA).
In the Final, Silva opened up with a solid 7.83 after throwing his patented vertical backhand bashes off the lip, then finished off with an explosive finish on the inside section. Nakagima followed with a 6.67 and a 6.03 on his first two rides to take the lead with a 12.70 total. As a lull settled in to the line-up, Silva caught seven low-scoring waves before finding a 5.83 on his last ride to overtake his opponent with a 13.66 total and a lead he would not relinquish.
"Thank you so much to everyone! The vibe here was incredible and every time we caught a wave the crowd would go crazy," Silva said. "I'd like to thank my family and my wife for giving me so much support, to Nakagima who made it such an exciting Final, to the new champ Camarão and I hope the event will be bigger and better next year."
Throughout the event, Nakagima looked light on his feet as he would attack the outside section and would glide through to the inside for a fiery finish. His runner-up result came as a surprise in such a heavy field of competitors. But his focus and strategy paid off after taking down a number of big names by feeding off the energy from the standing room only audience on the beach.
"Today was incredible and the event was amazing," Nakagima said. "I'd like to thank all of the sponsors and event organizers. Today was pretty tense and we surfed a lot of heats. I'd like to congratulate Deivid, who surfed great all event long and once again showed that he's in great form. I'd also like to congratulate Camarão for becoming champion as well as all my friends and family that came out to cheer me on. I really love Maresias, I feel completely at home here and I'd like to thank the crowd for being here. Surfing is a show and you guys made it a party."
On their way to the Final, Silva and Nakagima had to deal with a horde of surfers hunting for crucial Qualifying Series points as well as a host of CT surfers that were on hand to show their support for Brazilian surfing. Top names they took down included Gabriel Medina, Adriano De Souza, Miguel Pupo, Jadson André, Italo Ferreira, Wiggolly Dantas, Ian Gouveia, Yago Dora, Jessé Mendes, Tomas Hermes, Mateus Herdy, Willian Cardoso and many more.
Deivid Silva was the only athlete remaining in competition that could overtake Thiago Camarão on the WSL South America Rankings to clinch the continental title. Silva had to win the event and Camarão had to suffer a 4th place Round 5 loss. Silva did his part, but in Heat 4 of Round 5, Camarão came from behind on his final wave to take 3rd place, eliminating him from competition, but guaranteeing his title. Each WSL Regional Champion will be given automatic entry into all QS 10,000 and QS 6,000 events in 2018, regardless of their seeding.
"It feels amazing to win this title, but I'm a little upset that I didn't do better at this event," Camarão stated. "I was really looking forward to winning here, but I'm super stoked to become the 2017 WSL South America Champion. It's the first time I've won this title and now it gives me even more incentive to focus on doing well in Hawaii. Being a local here, this event was really important to me because I know this wave really well and I've got all my friends and family here. I ended up losing early, but at least I get to take home the title. Now I'm off to Hawaii and I'll do my best to try to qualify for the CT this year."