This week the World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour enters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the Brazilian contingent of surfers in control of the Men’s world rankings.
Brazilian goofyfoot Adriano de Souza enters the contest wearing the yellow jersey, fronting the “Brazilian Storm” contingent of surfers, including last year’s world champion Gabriel Medina, as well as Filipe Toledo, Miguel Pupo, WCT rookie Wiggolly Dantas, and Filipe Toledo, most recently the winner of the Oakley Lowers Pro, have been on a roll so far in 2015, especially de Souza, who won the Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River last month.
Eleven-time world champ Kelly Slater (USA) looks to get back into winning form in Rio, as does this year’s Pipeline Pro winner and former Rio Pro champ John John Florence (HAW). A few others to keep an eye on in Brazil are last year’s event winner Michel Bourez (PYF), Nat Young (USA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kolohe Andino (USA), and Julian Wilson (AUS).
On the Women’s side, with Stephanie Gilmore withdrawing in order to heal the hairline fractures she suffered to her knee during a free surf at the Margaret River event, Carissa Moore (HAW) and Courtney Conlogue (USA) enter the event the top two ranked women’s surfers in the world, followed by Gilmore, then Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), last year’s Rio champ. Without Gilmore in the field, expect some serious competition from the field – Courtney Conlogue (USA), Tyler Wright (AUS), Lakey Peterson (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), and Malia Manuel (HAW), though don’t count out Brazilian aerialist Silvana Lima (BRA) on her home turf.
The waiting period for both the Men’s and Women’s Oi Rio Pro contests runs from 5/11 to 5/22/2015. Watch the contests live on WorldSurfLeague.com.