It's looking strong so far!
It's standard and expected that we're going to see Brazilians do well at the Oi Rio Pro. They have the surging local crowds behind them, they have local knowledge and familiarity, and they're all still the hungriest surfers on tour. The only shock thus far from their camp was the untimely defeat of Filipe Toledo in an unusual interference situation that was more over-froth than intentional snake, but Toledo took the dive in that situation to Kanoa Igarashi.
The remaining surfers are also kind of fervent, so let's break them down.
Adriano de Souza is ready for some big results. He hasn't had anything too special happen to him since his world title, and even that was manifestly ambushed by the Kelly Slater Wave Co., and their mind-blowing unveiling. Adriano has been putting in the hard yards of late, surfing more than ever, and although he has been cool and collected in his post heat interviews, it's easy enough to see that he is seething underneath, and his surfing has been reflecting this. Sharp combinations, the occasional air and always a strong finish to get that extra little nod from the judges. He has also stopped claiming of late, which has been noticed. His win in round 4 was decisive.
Gabby is another surfer who wants to tear off a monkey that is sitting firmly on his back. He seems on paper to have lost his drive and even some might say a bit of flair. That was until his freakish forehand reverse today against Adriano and Wiggolly. It was a one hit wonder for a fairly scored 7.53. So he still has what's needed though, and Gabby has another world title, or two, in him in the near future. Gabby is the sort of surfer who just needs to find a rhythm and get confidence and consistency in his air moves, and then the sky is the limit, literally. Gabby could do well if the right handers come to life, as his big backhand reverses are unsurpassed and inimitable, except for maybe the backhand surfing of ...
Yago Dora. Helluva talent. Big Match Temperament. Loves an air and thrives on the roaring of the crowd. His backhand performance against Brother was legendary, while his defeating of the World Champ speaks for itself. A wild card is always going to have less pressure on him, (or her) and there is actually the proverbial 'underdog effect.' When he came up against two world champs in Parko and Fanning, it was almost assumed that he would take the win and advance straight the quarters just by the very fact of the ‘underdog effect’ but he was hurting for good waves and ended up second behind Fanning with Parko in the dust.
Then we have the surfing of some-say cuddly Wiggolly Dantes. His performance at JBay last year always come to mind as it was absolutely fearsome, and his aggression on the beach, as well as in the water is half of his game done. Should he find the waves that push back a little, he'll smash back even harder and will find the points. Wiggolly still has managed to elude the really big results for most of his Championship Tour life, but a big win is definitely going to come his way soon. He is ambivalent to lefts or rights, but many think that his backhand surfing is the way that he wins heats decisively. His second to Adriano in the first heat of the 4th round saw him going into the 5th round, but he did beat Gabriel in the process and took him along for a ride to the losers round. Either way, two Brazilians through to the quarterfinals regardless, and maybe even three of ‘em. Not quite the Brazilian Storm, but a fine effort thus far.