he opening day of competition has been called ON at the VIVO Rio Pro Presented by Corona, Stop No. 8 on the 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), in 3-to-5-foot waves at Praia de Itauna. Women’s Opening Round will start the competition at 7:35 a.m. GMT -3. Men’s Opening Round and women’s Elimination Round will follow.
The first heat of the competition will feature eight-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) up against current No. 4, Molly Picklum (AUS) and Gabriela Bryan (HAW). Gilmore recently climbed her way into the Top 5 on the rankings and needs to find success here to maintain or better her position.
Current World No. 1 and five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW, above) is the defending event winner. She will make her debut in Heat 2 of the women’s Opening Round, and will matchup with tour veteran Lakey Peterson (USA) and event wildcard Silvana Lima (BRA). Lima is an experienced competitor and will be eager to cause a big upset.
The men’s competition will kick off with current No. 4 Ethan Ewing (AUS) taking on Brazil’s Caio Ibelli and rookie Rio Waida (INA). Ibelli will be one to watch as he earned a perfect 10 single-wave score at this event last year.
Griffin Colapinto (USA) and current World Champion Filipe Toledo (BRA) come to Rio in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the rankings, respectively. Colapinto has made the last two consecutive event Finals and hopes to continue that streak by getting off to a good start in his Heat 4 matchup. Toledo will make moves toward his fourth VIVO Rio Pro event win in a row in the men’s Opening Round, Heat 3.
Eleven-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) has withdrawn from the event due to illness. He will be replaced by Jadson Andre (BRA), second highest ranked Brazilian surfer on the Challenger Series rankings.
WSL One Ocean and Partners Protect Marine and Coastal Ecosystems in Saquarema
For the VIVO Rio Pro Presented by Corona, WSL One Ocean teamed up with WSL PURE grantee Surf Conservation Partnership, a collaboration between Conservation International and Save the Waves Coalition, alongside Brazilian partners Instituto APRENDER Ecologia and Conservation International (CI-Brazil) to protect the incredible wave and irreplaceable marine and coastal ecosystems here in Saquarema. With funding from Corona, partners, and WSL CT surfers engaged in a lagoon intercept presentation, mangrove planting, and beach cleanup at the Saquarema Lagoon, a few meters from the VIVO Rio Pro event site.
Beyond the activation, CI-Brasil and APRENDER Ecologia are building a Brazilian Surf Reserves Programme to create more comprehensive protection for Brazil’s best waves and the incredible ecosystems that surround them. This includes protecting habitats like mangroves, which provide critical ecosystem services and support climate change mitigation and adaptation. They also worked with 50 students at a local school with an education action about the importance of the lagoon and surrounding ecosystems for the preservation of this world-renowned surf break.
WSL One Ocean is supported both globally and regionally by Corona. Corona has been a long-standing partner of the WSL and shares the same passion in protecting the health of our oceans.
For more information, vist wsloneocean.org.
VIVO Rio Pro Presented by Corona Women’s Opening Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
HEAT 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
HEAT 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
HEAT 4: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
VIVO Rio Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Opening Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Rio Waida (INA)
HEAT 2: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Callum Robson (AUS) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Liam O’Brien (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
HEAT 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)
HEAT 6: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Barron Mamiya (HAW)
HEAT 7: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (RSA)
HEAT 8: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.