Stab Magazine | Stab's picks for the 2015 Oi Rio Pro, Brazil
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Stab’s picks for the 2015 Oi Rio Pro, Brazil

The Rio Pro! The event where we expect nothing, and get something! The last couple of years the tour boiz have landed in Brazil, they’ve packed the grovellers to kick their tails, but have been greeted with thick, albeit small, beachbreak tubes. The shifty sandbars at Barra da Tijuca give us a little bit of […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Rio Pro! The event where we expect nothing, and get something! The last couple of years the tour boiz have landed in Brazil, they’ve packed the grovellers to kick their tails, but have been greeted with thick, albeit small, beachbreak tubes. The shifty sandbars at Barra da Tijuca give us a little bit of the Box syndrome… twos or 10’s (but, like, not at all like a 10 at the Box). Far gone are the days of floaters nabbing nines on these sands, we hope. With the host of smallish wave enthusiasts waxing up, we should be in for a grab bag of the most diverse persuasions. Punchy pits leading straight to rampy lips. If somebody isn’t doing flips, we’re not gonna be happy. But, the inevitable mass crowd on the beach probably will. It’s hard to frown when you’ve got blazing sun and Brazilian kinis assisting your countrymen to an expected win…

With this event looking to kick off in a few short days, here’s a round of our usual bias-riddled predictions! Once again, we turned to our favourite South African ex-pro surfer, ex-commentator, and charming friend to surfing’s elite, for inside wisdom. Here, we get Damien Fahrenfort’s pre-event speculations and his attempt at a winning team. Don’t bet the mortgage on these picks, but certainly take note.

Words by Damien Fahrenfort

****
Filipe Toledo
Filipe will be blistering in Rio this year. No doubt. Photo: WSL/Smorigo

Filipe will be blistering in Rio this year. No doubt. Photo: WSL/Smorigo

In small, rampy waves, who’s gonna beat him? The only way Filipe will lose is if it’s barrels or the judges get bored of his full rotators. I think it’s safe to say he’s the best aerialist in the world right now. You might argue that John John Florence can go a bit higher or look prettier doing it but his completion rate isn’t close to Filipe’s. While the crazed fans will be on Gabs’ nuts, Filipe’s gonna do work in the background.

****
Gabs Medina
Gabs' only sessions in Rio this year may just be his heats. Such is fame! Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Gabs’ only sessions in Rio this year may just be his heats. Such is fame! Photo: WSL/Kirstin

He’s had a shocker this year, and it’s not his surfing – it might be the pressure or all the attention on him at events but Gabs has BMT and will pull through. The only thing the young man is yet to do is win the WT event in Brazil, and I suspect he might turn his year around and do it here. That’s if he gets a chance to freesurf. Word on the street is that Gabs can’t leave his house without security, the fans wait to watch him surf and a quick surf takes hours due to fan obligations.

****
Julian Wilson
Jules blowing tail at Arpoador (Rio Pro back-up venue) a coupla years back. Photo: ASP/Kirstin

Jules blowing tail at Arpoador (Rio Pro back-up venue) a coupla years back. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Jules has had his throwaways now and is ready for another win. He’s been surfing incredibly well but somehow he hasn’t transferred that into his competition surfing. I wanna see Jules get a little loose with it, much like his freesurfing where he’s so unpredictable. I think this is where the tour’s regimental judging criteria is defective. Surfers like Julian and Jordy (Smith) change their surfing, get a bit more predictable to surf to the judges’ needs. Stab recently did a board test with Julian; The waves were terrible for 10 days but Julian put together enough footage for an entire film. While riding the Mayhem, at the 10:56 mark he hits the lip on his backhand and rides backwards for 40 feet or so. While it wouldn’t score, it’s a testament to his skill and agility on a surfboard.

****
Italo Ferreira
Italo's FS jazz at this year's Saquarema Q, which finished like a minute ago. Photo: WSL

Italo’s FS jazz at this year’s Saquarema Q, which finished like a minute ago. Photo: WSL

The Italian Ferrari might get a pretty decent result here, a round five or quarterfinal finish is my guess. His surfing won’t look so strange on these short closeouts and his air game is strong. This event might be the one that keeps him on tour or put him in the running for rookie of the year, which needs a new face since no rookies even re-qualified last year.

****
Matt Banting
Banting sparks at the Saquarema Q this week. Photo: WSL

Banting sparks at the Saquarema Q this week. Photo: WSL

The best new rookie on tour, by a fair bit I reckon. Matt’s surfing is strong and real quick. He can fit a tight jam and air on a wave where most would get one move on. Watch for his scissor leg style snap, it sends spray flying and looks slick. Because he’s not as good in big barrels he knows he needs a good result here. One of my fav things about Matt is he really is just having fun and stoked to be on tour. Since qualifying he’s made his surfing a bit more unpredictable and loosened it up, a thing a few tour vets could learn from.

****
Kolohe Andino
Brother, white trunks and a runner up in 2014. Photo: WSL/Smorigo

Brother, white trunks and a runner up in 2014. Photo: WSL/Smorigo

He got second here last year and needs a result. He looks like he’s having fun and loosened things up a bit. They love blonde hair in Brazil so if he’s not too tired from all the gang bangs he’ll do well. Brother is real good in the beachbreak barrels and even better at airs. I’d be stoked to see Kolohe get his first win here. He deserves one and it can’t be easy watching all his peers getting great results all the time, but he does it with a smile on his face.

****

Oi Rio Men’s Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA), TBD
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (AFR), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Owen Wright (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

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