Mateus Herdy of Brasil surfing in Round of 48 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on Oct 4, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal.(Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

  • Style, Technique, Fierro Shows Full Package at Ribeira 
  • Big Power Display Wins India Robinson Round 2 Berth
  • Dramatic Finish Sees Day 1 Standout Lau Through
  • Massive Upsets Continue in Portugal
  • Next Call Wednesday at 7:35 a.m (WEST)
  • More at www.WorldSurfLeague.com 

The MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira, Stop No.2 on the 2021 Challenger Series, continued in excellent conditions at Ribeira d’Ilhas to make way through the remaining women’s Round 1 heats as well as the first ten heats of men’s Round 2.

Conditions were idyllic at dawn with a glassy lineup and three-to-four foot rights offering plenty of sections to score when surfers first paddled out. Conditions became a little trickier around the high tide mark for the second round of the men but once again it became apparent who worked out the lineup nicely as scores kept dropping in the good to excellent range.

The day was briefly put on hold towards the end of the afternoon as a thick fog moved in on the beach making it impossible for judges and fans to see the action, let alone identify surfers in the lineup. But as the sun came back out conditions aligned for a couple of super entertaining heats to round up the day’s action.

Style, Technique, Fierro Shows Full Package at Ribeira

Former World Junior Champion Vahine Fierro (FRA) demonstrated the wealth of talent she brings to the Challenger Series with an impressive first heat at Ribeira d’Ilhas this morning. The Tahitian surfer, attacking the wave on her backhand, hit all the right sections with powerful turns and nice flow in between maneuvers, conquering the fans and judges hearts as her scorecard attested.

“It was so nice the waves were really good,” Fierro said. “The freesurfs have been gnarly so finally we’ve been able to catch some good ones out there. I love rights so Ericeira is just paradise for me, definitely my favorite wave here in Portugal so far. My little sister and my boyfriend came all the way from Tahiti to support me through the Europe leg and it’s been super cool to have them with me.”

Big Power Display Wins India Robinson Round 2 Berth

India Robinson of Australia surfing in Round of 64 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on Oct 4, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal.(Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

India Robinson (AUS) proved that it wasn’t just goofy footers who could score big in the Ribeira lineup. The Jan Juc surfer attacked the lip with vicious snaps on her way to a solid 15.50 heat total and a spot into the following round. 

“I started off pretty strong and I knew I wanted to back it up with another good score,” Robinson said. “It did go slow for a little bit there but I knew if I waited that another one would come my way and it worked out. An 8 and a 6 is good but with the level of the other girls it’s not good enough in my standards and I wanted to back it up with another excellent score. The Aussies have really come together this year and I can definitely feel their energy so it’s really cool!”

Dramatic Finish Sees Day 1 Standout Lau Throug

By all accounts it was a nightmare scenario for Ezekiel Lau (HAW) in his second heat as the Hawaiian was staring right at elimination until the dying moments. With only a sub-average score on the board and seconds on the clock, Lau needed something big to turn the tide. 

The Ultimate Surfer winner stood up on a wave that looked insignificant at first, but as it hit the inside section the horizon cleared for Lau with a nice wall building under his feet. A couple of decent turns later, he still needed an exclamation mark and launched into a hail mary rotation above the lip, landing nearly on dry rocks, which ultimately was the score as Lau advanced in second position.

“That last wave was crazy,” Lau said. “I was looking at my watch with 40 seconds left and needing an 8. I knew if the wave came I’d just have to surf it as well as I could. Midway through the wave I actually heard my requirement and I thought, ok if this thing stands up I just need to go to town on it. I didn’t realize how close I was to the rocks, only when I claimed it standing on dry rock.”The dramatic finish almost eclipsed a very solid performance by Joao Chianca (BRA), who dominated the heat from start to finish to reach Round 3 of the Challenger Series for the first time in his young career.

Massive Upsets Continue in Portugal

Kanoa Igarashi of Japan surfing in Round of 48 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on Oct 4, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal.(Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

The rest of the men’s second round didn’t provide mind-blowing performances, but rather simply very good surfing in tough conditions from some of the world’s top surfers. 

What didn’t disappoint was the number of upsets, including the elimination in Round 2 of Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA). Championship Tour surfers Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Matthew McGillivray(ZAF) suffered a similar fate, as well as Qualifying Series household names Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Joan Duru (FRA), Charly Martin (FRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA) and many more.

Flurry of Action Rounds Up Third Day in Ericeira

Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) bowed out early as well in Round 2.  Credit: © WSL /  Poullenot

After a short break late this afternoon, competition resumed with fan-favorite Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), rising star Kauli Vaast (FRA) and Jackson Baker (AUS) all posting excellent numbers in Heat 9. 

With Morais out of the event early, Ribeiro had the weight of Portugal’s hopes on his shoulder and seemed fired up in his Round 2 matchup on a wave he’s extremely familiar with. Unfortunately for the Cascais surfer, another major buzzer-beater from Baker ended all hopes of a Portuguese winner.

Cooper Chapman (AUS) raised the bar once again in the final heat of the day, with an electric display of carves and variety in each of his turns, claiming a 9.33, the day’s highest single score. Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Crosby Colapinto(USA) still challenged Chapman as they both posted 14+ totals but the Australian found a good wave in the last moments of the heat to re-gain first place.

Event officials will be back bright and early Wednesday at 7:35 a.m (WEST) to check out conditions and make the call for the day.

COVID-19 Updates

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.

Watch LIVE Action!

All the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira action will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and the WSL’s Facebook Page. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. 

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.

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.