The iconic Brazilian pointbreak at Praia da Joaquina in Brazil produced light offshore winds and small but rippable waves in the 2-foot range (0.5-meter) for the opening day of competition at the ASP 5-Star Women's Oceano Santa Catarina Pro.
Sitting atop the 2014 ASP Women's Qualification Series (QS) rankings, Silvana Lima (BRA) guaranteed her return to the World Championship Tour (WCT) in 2015 by winning her Round 1 heat over Shelby Detmers (USA), Chantalla Furlanetto (BRA) and the event's youngest competitor, 11-year old Taina Hinckel (BRA).
Lima talked about her outstanding 2014 campaign and how it feels to qualify for the 2015 WCT.
"My plan at the beginning of the year was to start off without any pressure and to just stay relaxed, as if the competitions were free-surfs and just take it heat by heat and have fun. Luckily, things worked out, even with all of the difficulties of not having a sponsor. I'm very excited to back on the WCT and to be competing here in Brazil. It's the best feeling ever. It's super comfortable to compete at home with all of the support from the crowd, so I just want to enjoy it all as much as possible."
Lima also commented on her performance at Praia de Joaquina and the event conditions on hand. "I'm so stoked, because no one likes losing straight away, so getting a good start is always good. There are a few good waves breaking farther out, but it's tough finding the right ones. Unfortunately, there weren't many in my heat, but I was lucky enough to catch two good waves and I was able to qualify into the next round."
Daughter of Hawaiian legend Michael Ho and sister to WQS surfer Mason Ho, Coco Ho won both her Round 1 and Round 2 heats and has guaranteed herself a spot in the Quarterfinals alongside Philippa Anderson (AUS) by defeating Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF) and Jacqueline Silva (BRA), who is a local legend and former WCT surfer.
"It feels great to be back in Brazil," Ho said. "It's been four years since my last trip to Florianopolis and everything still looks the same. The island is beautiful and just the way I remembered it. The waves are small but perfect. It was cleaner in the morning, but it got worse in Round 2 when the wind picked up. I'm happy that I've made it this far and I'm looking to get a good result here so I can qualify for the WCT and fly back to Hawaii to compete more relaxed."
Quizon also won both of her heats and will face Ho and Anderson in the Quarterfinals.
"It wasn't my best performance, but I'm glad that I made it into the Quarters," said Quizon. "I love competing here in Brazil, it's like a second home for me. The food is wonderful and the people are always fun and happy, so it's always good to be back. The waves are a little small today (Saturday), but they're fun and you can find a couple that are breaking farther out."
Weston-Webb has fond memories of Praia da Joaquina from earning a runner-up finish at the 2013 World Pro Junior Championship. She continued to show her local knowledge by obtaining an excellent 8.93 for the highest-scored wave on the first day of the Oceano Santa Catarina Pro.
"I'm very happy that I'm winning my heats. I came to Brazil looking for a good result to try to improve my place in the rankings," remarked Weston-Webb. "On my best wave, I was lucky enough to be in the right place to catch it and it opened up nicely and let me put some force into my turns."
The forecast indicates a slight improvement in conditions, followed by another period of strong southerly winds. A call is set for 7:30 am (local time) to assess conditions for the continuation of Round 2 of the ASP 5-Star Women's Oceano Santa Catarina Pro. Catch all the action LIVE at www.oceanopro.com.