Alyssa Spencer of USA surfing in Round of 64 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 6, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

  • Alyssa Spencer Drops Hammer in Round 2 Superheat 
  • Portuguese Duo Keeps Local Crowds Entertained in Ericeira
  • Men’s Round 2 Picks Up Right Where It Left Off
  • Next Call Thursday at 7:35 a.m (WEST)
  • More at www.WorldSurfLeague.com 

Competition continued at the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira, Stop No.2 on the 2021 Challenger Series, with another exciting day of action at the beautiful Ribeira d’Ilhas pointbreak. 

While the forecast indicated a little dip in swell size and consistency, the ocean had something else in mind as waves continued to pump, giving surfers plenty of face and lip to work with.

Alyssa Spencer Drops Hammer in Round 2 Superheat

In heat 3 of the women’s Round 2, Zoe McDougall (HAW), Gabriela Bryan (HAW) and Alyssa Spencer (USA) delivered a battle for the ages, exchanging good and excellent scores all the way to a buzzer finish. It was 18 year-old Spencer who got the nod, courtesy of a near-perfect score of 9.33 for a collection of backhand vertical hits right in the lip of a clean Ribeira right.

“That heat was definitely really fun,” Spencer stated. “I was glad I could find a couple of waves that had some wall and stood up. There was so much going on at the end there, I had no idea what was going on. All those girls are capable of dropping big scores so it was definitely exciting! There are so many waves breaking it’s not always easy to find your place in the lineup but in that heat I was able to find a nice little rhythm.”

With only two 9th place results to her name so far, Spencer is in the hunt in 10th position on the Challenger Series, but she will need to break her Round 3 ceiling glass to start putting big points on the board for a chance at qualification.

Alongside Spencer, another rising star kept her form going with another statement win. India Robinson (AUS) posted a second straight victory backed by a 9 point ride. On her forehand, where a lot of other surfers have struggled to find the lip, the Australian delivered big time with timely snaps and loads of water displaced by her powerful carves.

In the day’s Final heat, another cracker of a battle went down between Sara Wakita (JPN), Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) and Luana Silva (HAW), all posting excellent scores right from the get-go. Silva stole the show with two massive scores and advanced alongside compatriot Sakura Johnson.

Portuguese Duo Keeps Local Crowds Entertained in Ericeira

Yolanda Hopkins of Portugal surfing in Round of 64 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 6, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

If Morais, Ribeiro, Fernandes and Antunes couldn’t deliver, the Portuguese women made sure to fly the local flag high with exciting performances, starting with Yolanda Hopkins (PRT)’s dominant effort in Heat 4.

“It was so much fun out there,” Hopkins admitted. “I was quite comfortable with my scores but I always want to keep improving so I was taking all the waves I could, looking for those sets with the right wall so I could smash the lip.”

Carolina Mendes (PRT) started her campaign perfectly with an 8.33 in the opening minutes of her heat, but couldn’t anticipate the clinic Hennessy would put on, or that Ariane Ochoa (EUK) would find the recipe for big scores as well, all in the same heat. In the end Mendes came up short on her backup and was eliminated in Round 2.

Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) wasn’t as lucky with waves as her compatriots but her experience paid dividends when she navigated through the day’s lone slow heat. The Portuguese surfer couldn’t find those long-lasting rights but her surfing was good enough to score on shorter waves, and strategy was what sealed the deal when she blocked a competitor in the dying moments using her priority.

Hennessy Puts On Power Surfing Clinic at Ribeira

The Costa Rican Championship Tour surfer showed why she’s had a spot on the elite tour for the past couple of years with a demonstration of power carves and very efficient heat strategy. Her wave selection was impeccable as four of her five waves surfed came in the good to excellent range and her best two adding to a solid 16.70 total.

“When there’s that many 8s you’re stoked cause you have them too but it’s a lot closer than you think,” Hennessy said. “Waves were fun and that heat was great, all the girls were ripping. The CT has definitely been a rollercoaster of emotions for me, I learned a lot about myself and about competing, but every event and every time you hit the water it’s a different kind of pressure to which we have to adapt.”

Men’s Round 2 Picks Up Right Where It Left Off

Josh Burke of Barbados surfing in Round of 64 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 6, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

Competition ended on a high note last night with the last two heats of the day providing plenty of highlights. Josh Burke (BRB) and Imaikalani Devault (HAW) made sure it picked up with exactly the same vibe early this morning as the pair posted 16+ point heat totals.

“I’ve been here twice before and never did that well,” Devault said. “Every heat I just get that first wave that kind of puts me in the right rhythm and it’s been working out, I’m loving the wave and I’m stoked.”

Devault claimed the biggest total, but the highest single score of 8.73 was for Burke’s textbook carving of the Ribeira long walls.

“I was looking for those longer walls at low tide that hug the reef better,” Burke explained. “I got lucky to get that little wave on the inside of everyone to get my heat started. Then I paddled pretty deep and found that one that really stood up for me.”

Competitors and event officials will be back at Ribeira d’Ilhas at 7:35 a.m (WEST) on Thursday for the next call.

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.