The 22nd edition of the Hang Loose Pro Contest kicked off on the first day of the waiting period with good conditions at Fernando de Noronha in Brazil. The first ASP 5 Star event of the year to be held here will be offering riders a prize purse of US$100.000, with the winner getting 2500 points in the WQS ranking. On the first day of competition waves reached 3 to 4 feet and there were loads of barrels at Cacimba do Padre. Predictions indicate the waves will continue to get bigger over the next few days.
Hang Loose event director Alfio Lagnado was happy that the ASP have awarded this event with the prime status: “The ASP has finally recognized the obvious, all the surfers love this place, the waves are really good, plenty of barrels, the island is just amazing. That’s why we’re so happy about the Hang Loose Pro Contest being considered a prime location,” said Alfio.
“The event is growing each year, being considered around the world with many foreign surfers competing here, the event is growing because of this wonderful place and mainly because of the heavy and hollow waves we have here.”
In the first heat of the contest, the big surprise was Bahia’s state champion Helloy Junior who had never surfed this spot before. “This place is amazing, really beautiful, powerful and hollow waves, I was lucky to find two good ones to win my heat, I’m so stocked!” he said. Brazillian Messias Felix finished second in that heat sending home two favorites to advance, South African Clinton Gravett and Brazilian Marco Polo who did very well in Florianopolis last week.
The Hang Loose Pro Contest has always given the opportunity to local surfers to surf in the main event. In the second heat of the day, although Dudu de Souza and Nego Noronha knew that spot like no other surfer, they ended up losing their heat to the Americans Chris Waring and Justin McBride.
“It’s really good to start the contest with a win. I surfed really good waves here yesterday. I can say that Fernando de Noronha is one of the best locations for a event in the world”, said Waring, who had never been to Fernando de Noronha previously.
The first good barrels of the day came from 20-year-old Stanley Cieslik, the only surfer from Angra dos Reis (Rio de Janeiro) in history. “I came here by myself, without a sponsor. What matters is that I found some good barrels and went through to the next round”, said Stanley, who lives in Rio de Janeiro.
“I started surfing when I was 13, and I lived in Angra until I completed 16, I used to surf at Praia Brava, then I met Caio Monteiro (passed away last year) who took me to Rio where I started competing”, completed Stanley, who scored 7,07 and 6,67 in his two best rides to establish the first records of the event.
Stanley’s scores were beaten five heats later by Brazilian Savio Carneiro, who has surfed here for the last 16 years, and he was the first one to stay on the right side. “I know this wave really well, I knew I would get some good waves in the right side, I got two good barrels to advance and I know the waves are going to be bigger tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Savio, who had a total of 14,83 points.
He was positioned more to right side, unlike the three other surfers in the heat. In that same heat local surfer Alan Rangel finished second. “I couldn’t find the barrels where I was, and then I went where Savio was surfing. It was hard but I made it,” said Rangel who knock out local surfers Artu Lourenço and Pablo Neruda.
Brazilian surfer Wilson Nora has increased his record of number of heats surfed in this event throughout the years. He has now 26 heats. “I’m very happy, Fernando de Noronha is a place I feel really relaxed, and I’m also happy to start off with a win even without a single barrel. When I come here, I expect to get loads of barrels. Last year I competed in three heats without a barrel. I’m definitely going after them tomorrow when the waves should be bigger,” promised Nora.
The Hang Loose Pro Contest is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is sponsored by Hag Loose along with Reef, Supatech Tecidos, Brisbane and Metatex.
More information at www.aspsouthamerica.com.br