Alyssa Spencer (USA) and Deivid Silva (BRA) won the EDP Vissla Ericeira Pro pres. by Estrella Galicia PT, Stop No.5 on the 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series, defeating Luana Silva (BRA) and Jake Marshall (USA) respectively in the event Finals, held in firing four-to-six foot rights at Ribeira d’Ilhas.
This event navigated through a tricky forecast all-week to make sure the finals were held in the best possible conditions today, offering an incredible spectacle to the large Sunday crowds in Ericeira. Competition resumed early this morning with the women’s Quarters and ran all the way through to the Finals this afternoon.
Pictured: The winners and finalists of the 2023 EDP Vissla Ericeira Pro pres. by Estrella Galicia. Credit: © WSL / Poullenot
Alyssa Spencer Wins Ericeira, Moves into Qualifying Top 5
Purely looking at numbers, Alyssa Spencer (USA) was undeniably the strongest athlete all week in Ericeira. The talented surfer from Encinitas built incredible momentum through the early rounds and never slowed down. She posted seven excellent scores (above 8 points out of 10), including three consecutive heat totals above 16 points in the Quarters, Semis and Final, an incredible performance on a long Sunday in pumping waves.
“It’s amazing, it’s just so many emotions, a lot of hard work,” an emotional Spencer said. “This year has been so hard, all of these girls are surfing amazing and the level is the highest it’s ever been and to win these events takes so much work. I’ve taken all the rankings and scenarios out of my mind and just tried to surround myself with the best people and enjoy the whole process. That’s what I did here and it worked out great. This is the greatest confidence boost I could ask for and it puts me in a great spot heading to Saquarema.”
In the Final, Spencer just kept placing her board right in the lip of some of the biggest waves seen all day and just left nothing to chance to claim her second CS title and move up to 4th in the rankings.
Deivid Silva’s Unstoppable Run Continues with Near-Perfect Finals Day Display
Former CT surfer Deivid Silva (BRA) has been on an absolute tear throughout the week and continued into finals day with incredible surfing on his backhand. The Guaruja surfer posted a near-perfect heat in the Semis with 19.03 points (out of a possible 20), and all together earned eight excellent scores throughout the rounds to win his second CS event in Ericeira today.
“This is so special, it’s a dream for me to win this event,” Silva said. “This is one of my favorite events of the year, I’m very happy to win here and those points were important for me to get back on tour. I’m so excited to go back to Brazil and Saquarema to finish it off.”
In the Final, much like Spencer, Silva was on the best waves and produced the best surfing to amass two high 8s, to which his opponent had no answer. After a rough start to his 2023 qualifying campaign, Silva has found his groove and made a giant 34-spots leap in the last two events to find himself in the Top 5 before Saquarema.
Former Winner Luana Silva Reaches Final, Knocks on Qualification Door in 6th Place
Coming in ranked 7th in a tie with Spencer, the 2021 winner in Ericeira Luana Silva (BRA) found the winning formula right away and posted four consecutive heat wins to find herself in another Final at Ribeira d’Ilhas. The Brazilian surfed brilliantly once again but couldn’t quite perform on the best waves of the heat and her scores reflected it as she had to settle for the runner-up spot.
“I always enjoy coming back to Portugal,” Silva said. “It’s an amazing place and I love it here. Two years ago I had my first Final win here so another great result for me today and I’m ready for the last event!”
Silva gained one place and now sits 6th on the rankings ahead of the season finale in her home country of Brazil.
Jake Marshall Continues to Improve, Third in Rankings Before Final Stop
Another Encinitas local, CT surfer Jake Marshall (USA) is a few steps closer to keeping his spot among the world’s best for 2024 with the runner-up finish today and a big jump up the rankings into the third spot, tied with Frederico Morais (POR). The strongest surfer on his forehand this week, Marshall had some epic battles on his way to the Final, including an impressive 18.44 Quarterfinal heat this morning.
“This has been an amazing event for me,” Marshall commented. “Definitely my best one of the year. I just want to thank everyone over here in Portugal, this is always one of my favorite places to visit every year and I love spending time here so it’s fitting that this has been my best event!”
Sally Fitzgibbons Qualifies for 2024 Championship Tour
The current leader of the women’s Challenger Series and a 13-year veteran on the Championship Tour, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) has officially qualified for the 2024 CT with another big result in Ericeira. A Top 5 surfer on the CT for most of her career including three runner-up finishes in the world title race, the Australian uncharacteristically failed to advance past the Mid-season Cut in 2023. However she embraced the opportunity to fight it out on the Challenger Series with the new generation of surfing talents and was dominant in the first five events, finishing 5th in Ericeira and Ballito, 3rd on the Gold Coast and runner-up in Sydney and the US Open.
“It’s mixed emotions, this year is so long,” Fitzgibbons said. “But when you put it into perspective, these women are so good, and it’s so hard to win a heat. It’s such an honor to be in this position, come with this class and move on to 2024. I have so many goals, I want to return and better my performances at the tour locations, some of the best waves in the world, that just really excites me. The support from everyone back home is so meaningful to me, to show up and give my best, if that means I head back on tour, then everyone’s contributed to that.”
Dimitri Poulos Posts Biggest Rankings Move, Hits Everyone’s Radars
A relatively discrete figure before this week on the Challenger Series, Ventura’s Dimitri Poulos (USA) is definitely now on everyone’s radars after putting on an epic display of high performance surfing in Ericeira. The powerful regular foot peaked at the right time and posted his biggest performance in the Semis but found a major hurdle on his way with Silva’s near-perfect heat. He now leaves Portugal just outside the Top 20 and with an outside shot at qualification next week in Brazil.
“This is my best result all year and I’m just really stoked I got to surf heats and get a few fun waves,” Poulos stated. “This is my first time here and first time in Europe so a lot of firsts for me. The wave’s insane, it’s actually really close to some I grew up surfing so I felt right at home. I have my goals set on qualifying for the Challengers again and I feel like going into next year I’d have more knowledge of all the surf spots and hopefully get better results. I’m just grateful for everything I’ve gotten to learn this year and excited to go to Brazil and just start again.”
With the EDP Vissla Ericeira Pro pres. by Estrella Galicia PT now in the books, the 2023 Challenger Series rankings have evolved, here are the current potential Qualifiers for next year’s Championship Tour:
Men’s Challenger Series Top 10:
1 - Cole Houshmand (USA) ** Qualified for the 2024 CT ** 2 - Jacob Willcox (AUS) ** Qualified for the 2024 CT ** 3 - Frederico Morais (POR) 3 - Jake Marshall (USA) 5 - Deivid Silva (BRA) 6 - Crosby Colapinto (USA) 7 - Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 8 - Eli Hanneman (HAW) 9 - Kade Matson (USA) 10 - Mateus Herdy (BRA)
Women’s Challenger Series Top 5: 1 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) ** Qualified for the 2024 CT ** 2 - India Robinson (AUS) 3 - Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 4 - Alyssa Spencer (USA) 5 - Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Competitors will now have a few days to cross the Atlantic ocean heading Southwest and reach the Brazilian shores to prepare for the Corona Saquarema Pro, the final stop on this year’s Challenger Series.
EDP VISSLA ERICEIRA PRO PRES. BY ESTRELLA GALICIA WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS: 1 - Alyssa Spencer (USA) 16.50 2 - Luana Silva (BRA) 15.23
EDP VISSLA ERICEIRA PRO PRES. BY ESTRELLA GALICIA MEN’S FINAL RESULTS: 1 - Deivid Silva (BRA) 17.33 2 - Jake Marshall (USA) 13.84
EDP VISSLA ERICEIRA PRO PRES. BY ESTRELLA GALICIA WOMEN’S SEMIFINALS RESULTS: SF 1: Luana Silva (BRA) 15.37 def. India Robinson (AUS) 15.26 SF 2: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 17.37 def. Zoe Benedetto (USA) 11.33
EDP VISSLA ERICEIRA PRO PRES. BY ESTRELLA GALICIA MEN’S SEMIFINALS RESULTS: SF 1: Deivid Silva (BRA) 19.03 def. Dimitri Poulos (USA) 14.87 SF 2: Jake Marshall (USA) 15.83 def. Mateus Herdy (BRA) 12.63
EDP VISSLA ERICEIRA PRO PRES. BY ESTRELLA GALICIA WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS: QF 1: Luana Silva (BRA) 12.83 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.64 QF 2: India Robinson (AUS) 12.67 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 10.33 QF 3: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 16.33 def. Ellie Harrison (AUS) 10.43 QF 4: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 13.60 def. Francisca Veselko (POR) 7.70
EDP VISSLA ERICEIRA PRO PRES. BY ESTRELLA GALICIA MEN’S QUARTERFINALS RESULTS: QF 1: Deivid Silva (BRA) 14.50 def. Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.33 QF 2: Dimitri Poulos (USA) 13.36 def. Justin Becret (FRA) 11.90 QF 3: Mateus Herdy (BRA) 15.83 def. Jackson Bunch (HAW) 14.96 QF 4: Jake Marshall (USA) 18.44 def. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 15.80