Stepping up - defending champ, Peruvian stylist Maria Fernanda Reyes. Pic: Muschett / WSL
Karson Lewis in her first-ever WSL appearance, into the semis. Pic: Nichols / WSL
Also making her WSL debut, Callie Summerlin heading for the semis. Pic: Muschett / WSL
Another from the new crew, the USA’s Mary Schmader. Pic: Muschett / WSL
Defending Men’s Champ Tony Silvagni, now on to finals day. Pic: Muschett / WSL
17 November 19
The iconic Domes line-up continued to pulse for the World Surf League (WSL) Rincon Surf Fest WSL North America Longboard Championships with four-to-five foot, clean conditions once more to help decide finals day draws for both men and women.
The women made their debut count with solid performances to start the day’s action as they completed Round 1 and two-woman Quarterfinal bouts before the men contested their respective Quarterfinal duels.
Now a big finals day awaits some of the region’s top talents and are joined by international threats to see who emerges as the 2019 victor.
Rincon Surf Fest Defending Champs Return To Finals Day
Defending event champion Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) debuted with dominance in her Round 1 Heat 4 performance with exceptional surfing that garnered a 14.87 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Reyes then took that form into her Quarterfinal clash with Puerto Rico’s own Maria Amador, starting with a 6.00 (out of a possible 10) and 7.50 to establish a firm lead over Amador within the first eight minutes. The Peruvian now returns to the Semifinals in hopes of reclaiming the Rincon Surf Fest title.
“I’m very happy to surf a wave I love so much here in Puerto Rico and prepare to make my goal of rejoining the Longboard Tour to compete against the world’s best again happen with momentum from here,” said Reyes. “I train a lot and I love being in the sea and the waves are amazing. Every time I return there are more waves and I just want to take advantage of what nature gives us all. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be back into finals day and I just want to enjoy myself while showing my best surfing.”
The men’s Quarterfinal affairs started off with fireworks between defending event winner Tony Silvagni (USA) and John Angiulo (USA). Silvagni’s 7.00 start led the exchange and the North Carolinian also took down the second exchange – earning a 5.87 to Angiulo’s 4.40. A decimating blow for Angiulo had the Montauk, New York, competitor needing a near-perfect 9.50 before Silvagni slammed the door shut on the buzzer with the event’s best 8.50 on his final ride and heads into finals day with a lot of momentum.
“I am stoked to have amazing conditions for a competition and I enjoyed sharing a heat with a good friend of mine John Angiulo who rips,” said Silvagni. “I was really happy to better my scores from yesterday and to get an 8.50 felt amazing. Leading into finals day I need to stay focused and use my priority wisely. I’d love to clinch another longboard title here, it’s such a fun wave and beautiful place.”
WSL Longboard First-Timers Shine
Karson Lewis (USA) made her first-ever WSL appearance count and moved straight into the Semifinals after taking down local competitor Paloma Quintana (USA) in a stout Quarterfinal matchup. Lewis set the tone for the women’s debut in her Round 1 heat, earning a 6.67 on her opening wave, displaying great footwork and flow throughout the wave. The 24-year-old doesn’t find herself in many events, competing in Pro Am competitions in Mexico and growing up surfing Eastern Surf Association (ESA) events, as the North Carolina native makes her way around the world.
“It’s cool to be in my first competition here because I love Puerto Rico so much and I was already here so I thought it’d be fun to participate and spend time with my friends who I stay with during the winter,” said Lewis. “I actually didn’t know we were going into two-man heats so when Paloma (Quintana) and I got out there I realized it’s just us, this is sick (laughs). I’m excited to surf tomorrow after getting that first wave and riding all the way down, I’ve never ridden a wave that long here, before getting a bit rattled and then getting one more at the end.”
Joining Reyes and Lewis, Mary Schmader (USA) and Callie Summerlin’s (USA) WSL debuts proved fruitful and are into finals day.
Fellow WSL Longboard first-timer Parker Sawyer (USA) kept up his steam from yesterday’s brilliant showcase and powered his way through to the Semifinals over one of Puerto Rico’s in-form surfers Melvin Soto. Sawyer, former Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior competitor, shifted his focus away from competition to pursue school but found his way back via longboarding after a successful amateur career. Now the 22-year-old looks to take down his maiden WSL victory heading into tomorrow’s finals day.
“It’s so good to make it to the Semifinals in my first pro longboard event, waves are firing, it doesn’t get much better,” said Sawyer. “We’ve been blessed with perfect conditions this weekend. There was a lot of pressure for me in that heat coming up against Melvin (Soto) and it felt like a Final. He’s the top guy here to beat and after he did that helicopter straight into a noseride I thought he was winning (laughs). It’s just nice to be settled into the idea of surfing some more heats out here tomorrow and feels really good.”
Chilean Rafael Cortez and Steven McLean (USA), who eliminated Puerto Rico's last hope in Zahid Marrero, also continued to find their rhythm at Domes and earned a spot in the Semifinals for a shot at their first WSL Finals appearance.
Women’s Rincon Surf Fest Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: Karson Lewis (USA) vs. Callie Summerlin (USA)
SF 2: Mary Schmader (USA) vs. Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER)
Men’s Rincon Surf Fest Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: Tony Silvagni (USA) vs. Parker Sawyer (USA)
SF 2: Rafael Cortez (CHL) vs. Steven McLean (USA)
STAY TUNED HERE FOR THE FINALS ACTION TOMORROW
- REPORT BY ANDREW NICHOLS FOR THE WSL
The Rincon Surf Fest WSL North America Longboard Championships will run on the best conditions beginning November 15 - 17 at Domes, Rincon, Puerto Rico, with a backup venue of Maria's. This event is supported by Sun Bum, Rincon Events, Isabella Sangria, Lazy Parrot, RicoMini Bakery, Maria’s Luxury Villa, Island West Properties, Tourism Association of Rincon, Que Viva Trattoria, Hotel Villa Cofresi, Mar Azul Surf Shop, Playa Bowls Rincon, Don Q Rum, Cooperativa de Rincon, Jacks Shack, Roots Ristro Bar, El Coqui of Rincon, Cape Air, and The Green Zone.