Pictured: Alyssa Spencer (USA) qualified for the 2024 Championship Tour today at the Corona Saquarema Pro presented by Banco do Brasil. Credit: © WSL / Diz
The Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil, the sixth and final stop on the 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series, continued today with women's Round of 16. Throughout the day, a slew of athletes guaranteed their 2024 Championship Tour (CT) qualification via the 2023 Challenger Series rankings. For the women, India Robinson (AUS), Sawyer Lindblad (USA) and Alyssa Spencer (USA) all confirmed qualification today. For the men, Eli Hanneman (HAW), Imaikalani deVault (HAW) and Jake Marshall (USA) all guaranteed spots on the 2023 Championship Tour.
India Robinson (AUS) was able to move into first place on the 2023 Challenger Series rankings, overtaking Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), after advancing into the Quarterfinals over Sarah Baum (RSA).
“It feels great to be back on Tour, I’m the number one seed at the moment and I just want to maintain that, keep surfing well and go back home to Bells to compete my best there,” said Robinson. “My trip here to Brazil has been amazing, it’s been such a special moment, and to share it with my best friends and Mom has been the best part, so I’m just lapping it up, soaking up all the energy and hopefully I’ll keep it up till Finals Day.”Sawyer Lindblad (USA) will be making her inaugural year on Tour in 2024. The surfer from San Clemente cemented her qualification and will join the list of Californians that will populate the list of elite athletes on the CT.
“It feels incredible, I’ve been working towards this for my whole life. To qualify at eighteen has always been a goal of mine and I’m just really happy that I achieved that,” said Lindblad. “The crew from my hometown has definitely helped me to surf my hardest and some of us have already qualified for next year, so I’m so excited for next year. It’s been a long season so I definitely look forward to spending some time at home with my family.”Alyssa Spencer (USA) has had prior success in Brazil, earning her first victory on the Challenger Series at the 2022 Corona Saquarema Pro. Narrowly missing out on qualification last year, Spencer has finally stamped her ticket to the Tour for 2024.
“Oh my gosh, it feels amazing. There’s been a lot of ups and downs these last couple of years. I’ve been so close, like within one or two spots these past three years, so that’s been the hardest thing to overcome,” said Spencer. “Every year people ask, ‘is this going to be the year?’ and I was just tired of hearing it, so it’s such a relief to finally make it happen. I think I really have a special connection with Saquarema. I don’t know if it’s the waves, the people or the energy here. Last year was my first Challenger Series win here and this is the first time I qualified for the Tour, so it’s a pretty special place for me.”
Men’s 2024 Championship Tour Qualifiers
Pictured: Eli Hanneman (HAW) was able to qualify for the 2024 CT at the Corona Saquarema Pro presented by Banco do Brasil. Credit: © WSL / Diz
Eli Hanneman (HAW) has been through a difficult time in the past few years. Physical injuries, near death experiences and the Maui wildfires have all affected him mentally and emotionally. Today however, his positivity tipped the scales as his 2024 CT qualification was announced.
“This is crazy, it feels like my whole life has been leading up to this point. It’s crazy that God’s chosen me to be in this position I’m in. It’s unbelievable, I’m still trying to take it in,” said Hanneman. “I think as you start to get older, your expectations start to get stronger and higher, even for myself too, but I did it. The hard work just starts now, that’s the crazy part. But I’m definitely looking forward to Pipe!”Imaikalani deVault (HAW) has returned to the Championship Tour after his inaugural year in 2022. The Hawaiian from Maui was given the news this afternoon that he will once again be part of the CT in 2024, alongside his friend Hanneman.
“It definitely feels like a weight has been taken off my shoulders. I knew coming into this event I wasn’t safe at all and I needed to get another result,” said deVault. “It was actually really enjoyable to compete with that kind of pressure and do well. So I’m just super happy to get another chance to be back on Tour. It’s been a really special trip here. I love the vibe, the fans, the passion and the waves, I just love it.”Jake Marshall (USA) is another Californian that was able to guarantee his spot on the 2024 Championship Tour. Marshall is returning to the CT after not making the mid-season cut in 2023, but has high hopes for a positive impact at the elite level next year alongside his friends.
“It feels great to qualify in Brazil, I mean, I’d take it anywhere, but having it take place here has been awesome,” said Marshall. “I didn’t have the best event here, so just to make it through, it makes it super special. The vibe here has been insane, it’s been a super fun trip so far, and just getting to see a bunch of my fellow Americans make it on Tour has been extra special and cool. It feels great and I’m super excited.”
Women's Quarterfinalists Determined
Moderate winds and waves in the three-foot range were on hand at Praia de Itaúna for Heats 1 through 8 of the women's Round of 16. Emotions were high, action was intense and the field was narrowed to the final eight athletes left in competition as the Quarterfinalists were determined at the Corona Saquarema Pro presented by. Banco do Brasil. Heat 1 of the Quarterfinals will see Kirra Pinkerton (USA) face up against Francisca Veselko (POR). Heat 2 will feature Sophie McCulloch (AUS) versus Alyssa Spencer (USA). Heat 3 will have Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) against India Robinson (AUS) and the final heat of the round will see Sawyer Lindblad (USA) against Erin Brooks (CAN). Competition Called OFF for Wednesday, October 18 Due to unfavorable conditions, the Office of Tours and Competition has decided to call the event OFF for tomorrow, Thursday, October 18th. An update for the next call will be made at 5:00 pm (GMT-3) to see when the competition will recommence. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil Women’s Round of 16 Results: HEAT 1: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 13.67 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.06 HEAT 2: Francisca Veselko (POR) 14.03 DEF. Vahine Fierro (FRA) 13.57 HEAT 3: Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 14.93 DEF. Bella Kenworthy (USA) 9.67 HEAT 4: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 15.33 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 8.50 HEAT 5: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 12.13 DEF. Tessa Thyssen (FRA) 12.00 HEAT 6: India Robinson (AUS) 13.50 DEF. Sarah Baum (RSA) 10.33 HEAT 7: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 16.17 DEF. Luana Silva (BRA) 14.63 HEAT 8: Erin Brooks (CAN) 8.04 DEF. Taina Hinckel (BRA) 7.57 Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil Women’s Upcoming Quarterfinals Matchups: HEAT 1: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) vs. Francisca Veselko (POR) HEAT 2: Sophie McCulloch (AUS) vs. Alyssa Spencer (USA) HEAT 3: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) vs. India Robinson (AUS) HEAT 4: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) vs. Erin Brooks (CAN) Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil Men’s Upcoming Round of 16 Matchups: HEAT 1: Shion Crawford (HAW) vs. Jackson Baker (AUS) HEAT 2: Mateus Herdy (BRA) vs. Mihimana Braye (FRA) HEAT 3: Luke Thompson (RSA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA) HEAT 4: Imaikalani deVault (HAW) vs. Nacho Gundesen (ARG) HEAT 5: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Heitor Mueller (BRA) HEAT 6: Eli Hanneman (HAW) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA) HEAT 7: Marco Mignot (FRA) vs. Frederico Morais (POR) HEAT 8: Kade Matson (USA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
Watch LIVE: Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil
The Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil holds a competition window through October 21, 2023. Once called on, the competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the competition's Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.
The Corona Saquarema Pro Presented by Banco do Brasil is supported by Corona, Banco do Brasil, the City of Saquarema, the Secretary of Sports and Leisure of the Rio de Janeiro State Government, Vivo, Natura KaiaK, Yeti and TikTok.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
About the WSL The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world's largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.