The Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona commenced

with great performances in women’s Round 1 at the celebrated beach of Praia de Itaúna in Saquarema. The competition saw the world’s best surfers kickoff the event in four-to-six foot (1 -2 metre) waves at the fourth stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour.

Six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) will move through to Round 3 after her Round 1 win against 14-year old wildcard Taina Hinckel (BRA) and 2016 WSL Rookie of the Year Keely Andrew (AUS). Gilmore has kept the coveted Jeep Leader Jersey since her win on the Gold Coast at the start of year and will battle to keep her lead over the Top 17 with a strong result in Brazil.
“You can have a strategy and try to stick to it, but things can change a lot,” said Gilmore. “I just wanted to sit out the back and get into one of the bigger waves a bit earlier, but those bigger sets stopped. It felt good to get on a bigger board out there and there is so much power out there. It is nice to get a Round 1 win and I look forward to Round 3.”
Stephanie Gilmore

Current World No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) pulled off last-minute heroics to earn her Round 1 heat win against Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and Pauline Ado (FRA). Fitzgibbons will join rival Gilmore in Round 3 for the chance to surpass the six-time Champion on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I just love being here in Brazil,” Fitzgibbons said. “The waves were definitely challenging, but you have have to have those heat smarts and know you are in the battle. It was great to go back-and-forth with Tatiana [Weston-Webb]. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride out of Bells to get that kind of fin-chop to the foot. There is a little more nerve-damage than I thought, but it is good because the cut sealed.”
Sally Fitzgibbons

Courtney Conlogue (USA), who currently sits fourth on the Jeep Rankings after her win at Bells Beach, looked fired-up in her Round 1 matchup as she defeated Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and 2017 CT Rookie Bronte Macaulay (AUS). Conlogue exhibited her signature power surfing with an excellent 8.67 to advance her to the next non-elimination round of the event.
“Obviously every single competitor wants to win and that is the end goal,” Conlogue said. “I am working on this process and trying to be in the moment when the pressure is on. I am definitely learning a lot and, coming off of that last event, there are still some things that I need to work on. I love the power of Saquarema and getting to surf on my backhand. To be at a different spot is always exciting.”
Courtney Conlogue

Photos: Carissa Moore (left), Silvana Lima (right)

Three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) was not able to secure the win in Round 1 asSage Erickson (USA) proved once again to be a serious threat in the women’s draw. Erickson navigated the challenging conditions to find two solid waves for a strong 7.50 and 4.50 Moore and Laura Enever (AUS) were not able to find the second waves scores to challenge the Californian.

Coco Ho (HAW) upset the competition today with a big win over reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner, Tyler Wright (AUS), and injury replacement Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in Round 1 Heat 4. This win marks Ho’s first Round 1 victory of the 2017 season.

Silvana Lima (BRA) could not overcome her Round 1 matchup and will have to fight her way out of elimination Round 2 when competition resumes. Johanne Defay (FRA) clinched the heat win to earn her spot in Round 3 and skip Round 2.

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Round 1 Results:

Heat 1: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.00, Carissa Moore (HAW) 3.50, Laura Enever (AUS) 2.50
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.07, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.00, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 6.57
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 6.33, Taina Hinckel (BRA) 1.50, Keely Andrew (AUS) 0.50
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.67, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.43, Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.83
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.70, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.70, Pauline Ado (FRA) 7.40
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) 15.60, Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.33, Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.27

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:

Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Taina Hinckel (BRA)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 6: Keely Andrew (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)

The event will be broadcast LIVE via the World Surf League website the WSL app and on Facebook LIVE via the WSL’s Facebook page. Also check the local listings for coverage on CBS Sports Network in the U.S., Fox Sports in Australia, ESPN in Brazil, Sky NZ in New Zealand, SFR Sports in France and Portugal and as part of the EDGEsport Network.

Surf report for the upcoming days in Rio: Look for a smaller mix of swells with onshore winds on Thursday before an increase in S swell on Friday. Lingering swell mix for the weekend with conditions looking most favorable in the mornings both Saturday and Sunday. Larger SSW becoming S/SSE swell is due for early-mid next week with periods of light/favorable conditions.   

Photo: Coho Ho