Brazilian Simao Romao, 22, led the party on a crowded Arpoador beach during the last day of the Oakley presents Rio Surf Pro International. The up and coming surfer started the day strong, posting the highest score ever in the history of the ASP WQS Arpoador event. A local competitor from Arpoador, he went on to dismiss two campaigners before beating the experienced South African Greg Emslie, 31 years old, in the hotly contested final.
Simao took out the US $15.000 prize and jumped from 45th to 18th position in the ASP WQS ratings, a result which places him in a good position to make the top 15 of the ASP WQS with nine events remaining.
“I had a dream two years ago. It was about an important competition here and I would win it," Romao said. "I would climb the rock and remain there beating my chest. This event was that dream and I would like to thank all the locals, my friends, my family and my sponsors who supported me all the way. That victory goes especially to my dad (Paulo) because today is his birthday."
“It was really hot and there were almost no waves," Romao said. "I knew I had to surf my best to beat Greg (Emslie) who is a World Tour level surfer and fortunately I was able to get some good ones and do everything possible I could to win. I had some very tough match ups, especially against William Cardoso in the semifinal, but when I overcame him I just kept the dream alive."
Runner up Greg Emslie (ZAR), 31, would have liked to repeat the victory he had here 11 years ago, but was happy with second place, a result which launches him from 17th to 9th place in the ASP WQS ratings and secures his requalification for next year’s dream tour. Emslie had to overcome two younger surfers, Hawaiian Dustin Barca, in the quarter finals and Michel Bourez from Tahiti in the semifinal.
“I really wanted to win but unfortunately there were almost no waves in the final," Emslie said. “It was good to be in another final in Brazil, as I said before, I get lucky here and the result gives me more confidence to go after my place in the ASP World Tour. I am now in the classification zone and will try keeping it this way till the end of the season.”
“It was good to start to the Brazilian season but it could have been better," Cardoso said. "Let´s forget about this one and carry on for the next event at Praia Brava where I will compete at home this time."
Tahitian Michel Bourez shared the third place on the podium with Cardoso and also went up in the ranking, from 14th to eighth.
“It was a big result for me, these points put me in a better place in the ratings," Bourez said. "I know I had all the chances to make it to the final but I didn’t find the best waves. Now I am out of danger zone and going to Canaries Islands a bit calmer. Once there I want to try to get good results to guarantee more points on this run for the ASP World Tour."
OAKLEY / RIO SURF PRO INTERNATIONAL – FINAL: 11.33 x 10.60 points:
1 - Simao Romao (BRA) 11.33
2 - Greg Emslie (ZAF) 10.60
SEMIFINALS – 3th place – US$ 4.500 and 1.875 points:
SF 1: Simao Romao (BRA) 13.43 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.33
SF 2: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 12.77 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.83
1: Simao Romao (BRA) 17.00 x 10.50 Bernardo Miranda (BRA)
2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.60 x 13.10 Marlon Lipke (DEU)
3: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 16.67 x 13.66 Dustin Barca (HAW)
4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.20 x 10.00 Gabe Kling (USA)