The WSL tour event now heads to Rio de Janeiro Brazil after the first four events were held in Australia and Indonesia. The event window for the Oi Rio Pro opens on June 20th-28th.
The Box at Margaret River, Western Australia closed out the Australian leg with a John John Florence showing why he is still the best in the business. During this event they shifted the event from main break to The Box, as it was revealed for the first time since Margeret River has been on the WSL Championship tour. Because of this you saw a lot of unsure competitors battling to make the drop and steer into the barrel. John John ended up taking out his second event for the year and his second Margeret River title. Florence looks in better shape than ever and is comfortably ahead in the overall standings. After the first four events he has victories at Bells and Margeret River and a semi final finish in the Gold Coast.
Kolohe Andino came runners up at Margaret River and is doing his best to catch Florence the overall leader. The young California native is having his best season yet, but has yet to win a tour event in 2019. He has two final appearances this season at the Gold Coast and Margs, and a quarter final finish in Bali. Andino is looking the goods for another strong finish in Brazil.
The Brazilian native Filipe Toledo has taken out two of the last five Rio Pro. Last year it was all one sided as Wade Carmichael couldn’t produce the athleticism that Toledo showed. Toledo has dropped two positions in the rankings after being easily defeated in the round of 32 by young Margeret River native Jack Robinson. I expect Toledo to bounce back, especially in front of the thousands of roaring Brazilians on the beach of Saquarema.
A surprising underdog that has slipped into the top ten rankings is the young Aussie Ryan Callahan. Callahan is in seventh position in the overall standings as he continues his strong start to the season. Without any tour wins he has climbed the standings by reaching the finals in two of the last four events. After a two year absence when he bowed out in the third round of Rio, Callahan will be there in confidence that he can put in a good performance in Rio and continue his way up the rankings.
With a ranking of 19th before Margeret River Julian Wilson has gained six positions to find himself in within reach of the leaders and a chance to start his 2019 season now. It’s a no brainer for Wilson that in Rio he’s going to need a finals appearance to catch the top ten competitors. Wilson put in his best performance at Rio last year making the semifinals but he was eventually defeated by Filipe Toledo who went on to win the event.
It’s difficult to look past the Brazilians at their home break, especially when Adriano de Sousa and Filipe Toledo have won the previous two events. But it’s anyone’s game at the moment and there is a good mix of veterans and rookies both closing in on the top 10.
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