Finalists of the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 9, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

  • Silva Finds Buzzer-Beater, Claims Career’s Biggest Win 
  • Lau Caps Off Massive Week with Victory in Portugal
  • Major Moves on Challenger Series Rankings Mid-Season
  • More at www.WorldSurfLeague.com 

Luana Silva (HAW) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) have won the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira today, claiming victory in the Final bouts against Gabriela Bryan (HAW) and Jackson Baker (AUS) respectively, held in good three-to-four foot surf at the iconic Ribeira d’Ilhas pointbreak.

Stop No.2 of 4 on the 2021 Challenger Series, the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira has been treated to epic conditions all week with a couple of massive days before the conclusion of the event in rippable conditions today.

Women’s Final: All Hawaiian Battle Finishes in Epic Buzzer-Beater Fashion

Luana Silva of Hawaii winner of the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 9, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

The women’s Final brought incredible fireworks right from the get-go with Gabriela Bryan (HAW) and Luana Silva (HAW) finding great waves and tearing them apart with the power and progression they have been displaying all week. 

Ten minutes in they were both sitting on huge heat totals, 17.13 for Bryan, 16.13 for Silva. It was heartbreaking to watch the next 20 minutes as Silva with a near-perfect 9.80 on the board struggled to find any opportunity in the lineup.

With 15 seconds on the clock, a wave finally materialized and the young surfer went to town on it, showing no signs of pressure whatsoever, to post an excellent 8.23 and seal the biggest victory of her young career. The result rocketed her up to third on the rankings.

“I have no words right now I’m so happy,” an ecstatic Silva mumbled in tears. “I knew it was going to be tough that Final against Gabriela, but I just waited and finally got my chance. I’m stoked I managed to showcase my surfing.”

Gabriela Bryan of Hawaii surfing in Quarterfinals at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 9, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

Gabriela Bryan (HAW) cemented her massive lead on the Challenger Series with a second, back-to-back runner-up finish after the US Open. The powerful regular footer was 15 seconds away from clinching that first major win and though the final result must be hurting right now, her incredible rampage through all the rounds this week will be a massive confidence boost, proving her surfing belongs at the very highest level in all types of conditions.

“I surfed the best I could and I’m really happy with this,” Bryan said. “That last wave came to her and there’s nothing I could have done unfortunately. I’m going to give myself a chance in France now and I’m really proud of myself for being consistent.”

Men’s Final: Ezekiel Lau Caps Off Massive Week with Victory in Portugal

Ezekiel Lau of Hawaii winner of the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 9, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

Coming off a decent start at the US Open with a 9th place finish, Ezekiel Lau(HAW) clearly stepped up his game this week, consistently posting some of the biggest scores ever since his very close call in Round 2. The Hawaiian never looked back and just blazed through the field on his way to a third win at the Challenger Series level (previously QS10,000).

Lau jumped from 34th to 1st on the Challenger Series rankings, in a very strong position heading into the back half of the season.

“Falling off tour a couple of years ago I’ve been working so hard ever since to just get back and winning here feels amazing,” Lau said. “I knew this was going to be a good event for me so I focused in on it. I trained long and hard for it so I’m just really stoked and just want to thank everyone that has helped me get to this point.”

In the Final, Lau wasted no time soaking in the amazing scenery at Ribeira but rather got busy early on to post two excellent (8+) scores in the opening ten minutes of the Final. Baker’s opening ride came in slightly below and the Australian sat patiently in the lineup with priority waiting for the right wave.

The following exchanges unfortunately never really offered much in terms of potential as Lau’s combination of two scores were a major hurdle in Baker’s path and the waves didn’t materialize. 

Jackson Baker of Australia surfing in Quarterfinals at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 9, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

Merewether’s Jackson Baker (AUS) was nowhere to be seen on the rankings after a poor first event in California, but the powerful regular foot found his groove on the Portuguese waves and posted his career-best performance so far. Spirits lifted by the whole Aussie posse, Baker’s exuberant turns and claims fired up the crowds all the way into the Final.

“When I first came in I was definitely a bit upset but overall I’m over the moon with this whole event,” Baker said. “It’ll slowly start sinking in and I’ll look at all the positives!”

Baker jumped from 65th on the Challenger Series rankings all the way up to 7th and is now a legitimate bet in the qualifying conversation.

Semifinals Results

In the opening men’s Semifinal, a clash between overall standouts this week proved extra entertaining as Lau and Nat Young (USA) went blow for blow. Eventually though, the Californian came up short despite a solid 15.67 heat total, and placed equal 3rd. A big result for Young that will propel him 14 spots on the rankings into 4th position midway through the season.

An unfamiliar sight in Semifinal 2 of the men’s was Imaikalani Devault (HAW)’s off rhythm. The Hawaiian who previously posted the event’s biggest scores just did not catch the right waves and couldn’t perform his usual progressive and aggressive maneuvers. However another big result for the Maui local will see him move into 3rd position on the rankings with a strong chance of backing it up in the remaining two events.

The women’s Semis were a little more obvious in that two of the most dominant surfers all week just kept their composure and the two underdogs Pauline Ado(FRA) and Ariane Ochoa (EUK) struggled to find the same excellent rhythm that carried them all the way into a 3rd place finish.

Nonetheless the two best Europeans in the event capitalized big time on surfing in familiar territory moving up to 4th and equal 5th respectively with one more stop on home soil coming up next week.

Rankings Update Post – MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira

The Challenger Series leaders after the US Open mostly didn’t fare well in Portugal and that opened the door to many lower ranked athletes to swoop in and move into virtual qualification zone. See the new rankings Men’s Top 12 and Women’s Top 6:

Men’s Challenger Series Top 12:
1 – Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 
2 – Jake Marshall (USA) 
3 – Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 
4 – Nat Young (USA) 
5 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 
6 – Liam O’Brien (AUS) 
7 – Jackson Baker (AUS) 
8 – Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 
9 – Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 
10 – Callum Robson (AUS) 
11 – Shun Murakami (JPN) 
12 – Cole Houshmand (USA) 

Women’s Challenger Series Top 6:
1 – Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 
2 – Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 
3 – Luana Silva (HAW) 
4 – Pauline Ado (FRA) 
5 – Caitlin Simmers (USA) 
6 – Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 

The next event on the 2021 Challenger Series will be the Quiksilver and ROXY Pro France, held at ‘Les Culs Nus’ beach from October 16-24, 2021, watch it LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com!

The MEO Unwanted Shapes Expression Session

Rafael Teixeira on a Ryan Harris board. Credit: © Pedro Mestre

The Unwanted Shapes Covid19 Edition is a project led by MEO and Turismo De Portugal that focuses on creating consciousness about the imminent pollution problem in our oceans. In its first edition, launched at the last CT event in Peniche, it addressed the household plastic that ended up washed out at sea. This time, the goal is to emphasize a situation that has yet to be addressed, the waste generated from the Covid19 pandemic.

The numbers are staggering. Globally we are using more than 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves every month. MEO and Turismo de Portugal launched an open call to all the shapers in the world, to create surfboards made from Covid waste, to symbolize this problem and stand against the shapes that no one wants to see in the ocean. 

From a number of different participants from all over the globe, 8 winners were hand-picked by a jury composed of some of the best shapers in the world: Christian Bradley, James Cheal, Jon Pyzel, Marcio Zouvi, Timmy Patterson and Peter Mel. Various surfers took out the Unwanted Shapes surfboards to the lineup between the Quarters and Semifinals and put on a show for the local crowds.

MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Luana Silva (HAW) 18.03
2 – Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 17.13

MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 16.57
2 – Jackson Baker (AUS) 13.27

MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA WOMEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 16.50 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 16.00
SF 2: Luana Silva (HAW) 16.26 def. Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 15.60

MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA MEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 17.40 def. Nat Young (USA) 15.67
SF 2: Jackson Baker (AUS) 16.93 def. Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 12.24

MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Pauline Ado (FRA) 15.57 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.07
QF 2: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 16.16 def. Shino Matsuda (JPN) 10.93
QF 3: Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 15.60 def Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 13.10
QF 4: Luana Silva (HAW) 16.00 def. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 14.57

MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA MEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.93 def. Jordan Lawler (AUS) 8.00
QF 2: Nat Young (USA) 18.23 def. Carlos Munoz (CRI) 17.56
QF 3: Jackson Baker (AUS) 15.50 def. Dylan Moffat (AUS) 13.50
QF 4: Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 13.50 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.67

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.