A talented field set to take on Ericeira this week. Credit: © WSL / Mestre
- World’s Best Set to Put on a Show
- Women Join the Lineup in Ericeira
- Epic Wave for an Epic Field
- First Call Saturday 7:35 a.m
- More Available at www.WorldSurfLeague.com
Some of the world’s best surfers have landed in Portugal ahead of Stop No.2 of the Challenger Series, the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira starting Saturday, October 2 through to October 10, 2021.
The Challenger Series launched at the US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach pres. by Shiseido last week and a few surfers have already made big moves toward a potential qualification for next year’s Championship Tour.
Now the tour heads to Europe for the next two events, starting at the iconic Ribeira d’Ilhas point break for the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira where an A-list of competitors is set to take on the long and powerful rights of Ericeira.
World’s Best Set to Put On a Show
World No. 2 and 2019 WSL Champion, Italo Ferreira (BRA) will headline the field and be one of the favorites at a wave he’s dominated in years past, but never actually won. It all started in 2014 when Ferreira reached the Final but fell short against local star Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) in the World Junior Championships.
History repeated itself last year in the MEO Portugal Cup of Surfing specialty event where once again, the explosive Brazilian made the Final only to be denied a win at Ribeira by Portugal’s Frederico Morais. For Ferreira there’s unfinished business in Ericeira and he’ll be dangerously motivated in the lineup this week.
Morais, who has become a standout on the Championship Tour, reaching a career-best 10th position in 2021, comes in as the legitimate main threat being the defending winner in Ericeira and free of any pressure of requalification this time around. The Portuguese powerhouse whose style fits long, right hand points perfectly knows the wave better than almost the entire field and will have a target on his back on home soil.
“Without a doubt it’s a different feeling,” Morais stated. “For the first time I’m already qualified for next year and I can surf freely. I don’t want to say that there is no pressure, because I will always want to get a good result and shine in front of the Portuguese public and our closest friends. But it feels good. I hadn’t surfed in Ribeira d’Ilhas since last year’s championship. It feels good to be back”
With Ferreira and Morais, 10 Championship Tour surfers have entered the field, as well as roughly 90 of the best competitors worldwide from the Qualifying Series, bringing an unprecedented level of performance to Ericeira. Olympian Michel Bourez (FRA) will look to post a big result in his bid to requalify for a 13th consecutive season at the highest level.
“The potential for solid surf here is good news for everyone who loves long, big rights,” Bourez commented. “There’ll be waves for everyone, it’s a pleasure to be here among all the great future surfers coming up and hopefully I’ll end up on the top!”
Women Join the Lineup at Tour Event in Ericeira
The women will also be competing alongside the men at Ribeira d’Ilhas for the first time since the World Junior Championships back in 2016. The Challenger Series, much like the CT, offer a standardized tour where all events are combined. World No. 11 Keely Andrew (AUS) will be leading the field as the highest Championship Tour ranked surfer with a clear goal of reaching the Top 6 to keep her seat among the world’s best next season.
“This is my second time competing here in Ericeira as I was in the World Juniors in 2014 and I’ve visited every single year I came for the CT,” Andrew said. “I’m really excited to be back competing on this wave, the conditions should be good and the depth of talent in the women’s division is really strong.”
On the Portuguese side, three athletes will fly the local flag led by the most experienced competitor Teresa Bonvalot, alongside Yolanda Hopkins and Carolina Mendes. Hopkins was a standout at the Countdown specialty event in 2020 where she reached the Semifinals with her powerful attack of the rights of Ribeira.
World Class Wave for a World Class Field
Ribeira D’Ilhas is praised by all competitors as one of the most consistent and most rippable waves on the Portuguese coastline, setting up a perfect scene for the highest level of professional surfing. The wave itself has various sections that can on the perfect day line up to create a monster of a leg burner.
Barrels, airs, massive power turns are all on the table and excellent to perfect scores are a common sight at Ribeira D’Ilhas when conditions align. Performances in the past have been electric, only amplified by the loud crowds enjoying endless summer vibes in Ericeira.
The health and safety of athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and there are a robust set of procedures in place to keep everyone safe. Athletes, staff, media and the public will be required to show proof of the “Health Pass” before accessing any of the event facilities or the beach.
The WSL encourages fans to follow the event online and watch all the action LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.
Media Access On-Site
The World Surf League (WSL) welcomes applications from working members of the press who comply with its criteria for accreditation to the 2021 WSL Challenger Series events. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, press accreditation and access varies by event. Media credentials are a working tool for members of the press. Marketing personnel, advertisers, filmmakers, commercial videographers and photographers, etc. will not be accredited as media.
Request forms must be filled out at wsl.tv/challenger-press.
The 2021 MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira is scheduled from October 2-10, 2021, at praia de Ribeira d’Ilhas, Ericeira – Portugal. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
The MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira is supported by MEO, Vissla, Tourism of Portugal, Mafra City Council, Ericeira World Surfing Reserve, EDP, Estrella Galicia, You & The Sea Hotel and Apartments and Hertz.
MEO is one of the main sponsors of national surf, a brand that has been supporting the growth of Portuguese surf over the past few years, becoming one of the brands that has most contributed to putting Portugal on the world surf map. The support on this sport is part of a global strategy of communication and content of the brand, whose goal is to ensure the commitment to the sport, to continue to enhance its growth, whether through the partnership with the WSL or the support for the most structuring competitions, athletes, or the development of the sport in general.
Vissla is a brand that represents creative freedom, a forward-thinking philosophy, and a generation of creators and innovators. We embrace the modern do-it-yourself attitude within surf culture, performance surfing, and craftsmanship. We constantly strive to minimize our environmental impact and protect the oceans and waves that raised us. This is a surf-everything and ride-anything mentality.
We are creators and innovators.
About the WSL
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing.
A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.
The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.
Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including WorldSurfLeague.com.
WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.