22 November 21
It was a heavy line-up of South America’s best longboarders plus a few internationals at Praia de Itauna for the seven-day festival. Here’s how the WSL reported proceeding:
PRAIA DE ITAÚNA – Saquarema: Chloe Calmon (BRA) and local Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) have been crowned the 2021 WSL LATAM Longboard Champions, clinching the title on Thursday at the Saquarema Surf Festival in Honor of Leo Neves and presented by the City of Saquarema.
It was Calmon’s second regional title, while Sphaier won his third. In the Final, Tony Silvagni (USA), defeated Sphaier for the event win in Saquarema.
“It’s such a good feeling to compete in Brazil and especially in Rio with all the crowd cheering us on after such a long time without events here,” said Calmon, the reigning champion from the awards podium. “The beach was packed and I could hear everyone screaming with so much energy after each wave. Then, to reach the shoreline and be chaired up by my friends and see my mom there to congratulate me was so special. We’re all so happy to get the chance to compete at this event and it was an excellent opportunity to see all the new talent coming up. The future looks solid!”
Calmon displayed her stylish and elegant surfing in the 3-foot (1 meter) waves at Praia de Itaúna and defeated Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) by a final score of 15.10 to 10.24 respectively. Reyes, who is also one of South America’s best longboarders was on a tear throughout the contest, but just came up short against the event favorite.
“I came early to Saquarema to prepare myself and it seems like I’ve been here for a month already,” said a giddy Calmon. “I’ve been surfing every day in all the conditions Saquarema had to offer; from solid 8-foot swells to onshore slop and everything in between, but the only constant has been the water, which has been freezing. I’m sure that all the preparation made a difference and I felt super comfortable throughout the contest. I’m glad that I was able to finish off the season on a high note by winning another WSL LATAM title,” concluded Calmon.
In the Men’s division, competition was fierce with several former World Champions and South American Champions in the draw including: Phil Rajzman (BRA), Piccolo Clemente (PER), and Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA). Rajzman was uncharacteristically knocked out early from the competition, but Clemente and Sphaier made it to Finals Day along with local surfer Jeferson Silva (BRA) and the lone American, Tony Silvagni (USA).
Silvagni defeated Silva in the Semifinals and Sphaier clinched an early title after eliminating Clemente since Silvagni cannot count his ranking points by being affiliated to the WSL North America region.
Sphaier and Silvagni were neck and neck throughout the Finals with both surfers displaying a full array of traditional longboard surfing including lengthy noserides, and strong carving maneuvers infused with grace, style and flow during their rides. However, Silvagni took the lead towards the end of the Final and defeated Sphaier by a score of 12.93 to 7.57 when the final buzzer blew.
“First off Rodrigo is one of the best surfers and he always has been," said Silvagni. “You know he’s one of my real good friends and to be able to travel here to Saquarema and surf at his home break, it’s an honor. I have nothing but respect for him and I always love seeing him at all the World Tour events and I’ll always support him throughout all his journeys, so it’s really been such a great event.”
Despite not winning the Final at the Saquarema Surf Festival, Sphaier was still stoked for clinching his third WSL Latin America Longboard Championship.
“This is so special. I’d like to thank everyone that was here to witness the event these past few days and I especially would like to dedicate this title to my wife who is in Portugal,” ended Sphaier before being cut off by his emotions.
Day 4 of the Saquarema Surf Festival began with completion of the Round of 64 at the Men’s QS3000 Quiksiver Pro. On paper, the first heat of the day was a thriller with the recently retired 2015 World Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) taking on one of Big Wave surfing’s marquee names, Lucas Chianca (BRA). They would face Mateus Sena (BRA) and Caetano Vargas (BRA).
However, it goes to show that Mother Nature has the last word regarding who gets the best waves in a heat. Chianca, who is a Saquarema local, looked out of sorts in the smaller conditions he’s used to, and De Souza, despite surfing well, was outpaced by Vargas and Sena, who advanced in 1st and 2nd place respectively.
Later on, the Chianca family would have reason to celebrate as João Chianca (BRA), Lucas’ younger brother, who has been near the top of the Challenger Series rankings, earned the day’s highest heat total to advance into the Round of 32 along with Marcos Correa (BRA).
“This event, which is honoring Leo Neves, has been so meaningful. Leo was my idol, so it’s hard to talk about him. I don’t want to go into it too much, but I’m here surfing for Leo, at his event, and in his memory,” said Chianca. “I love Itaúna and I love the entire region here in Saquarema. I surf all of the breaks around here in all conditions, so it’s great to be competing here in front of my friends and family from Saquarema. And I truly believe that Leo is here with us! He blesses every swell that rolls in and Itaúna loves surf contests. As soon as you build an event site, the swell just turns on. I’m sure Leo is in everyone’s thoughts here and I’d like to congratulate the WSL for putting his images throughout the event site, it’s just so cool,” Chianca stated.
- REPORT FROM THE WSL