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Surf City El Salvador Pro Quarterfinalists Determined at Stop No. 7

Men’s Top 5 in Flux Following Colapinto, Ewing, and Ferreira Eliminations; John John Florence Continues to Shine, Retains No. 1 Position; Joao Chianca Returns to Championship Tour Form

10/Jun/2024 - WSL

PUNTA ROCA, La Libertad, El Salvador (Friday, June 7, 2024) - The Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona is down to the Quarterfinals after completing the men’s Elimination Round and Round of 16 in three-to-four-foot conditions at Punta Roca. As Stop No. 7 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT), this competition will provide critical points for the race to the WSL Final 5, where the top 5 ranked women and men will compete for the World Titles in the one-day, winner-take-all competition, the Lexus WSL Finals, in September. 

Today’s heats saw some big shakeups to the men’s Final 5 standings with No. 3 Griffin Colapinto (USA), No. 4 Ethan Ewing (AUS) and No. 5 Italo Ferreira eliminated after today’s heats ahead of the Quarterfinals. 

El Salvador's Bryan Perez Upsets Competition with Win Over World No. 5 and World Champion Italo Ferreira 

In a shocking start to the men’s Elimination Round at the Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona, local wildcard Bryan Perez (SLV) eliminated World No. 5 Italo Ferreira (BRA). Ferreira, the 2019 World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, was fresh off a victory at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro last week. Perez clinched the heat win with a massive air that scored an impressive 8.83 (out of a possible 10) in front of his hometown crowd. The loss could be a big setback for Ferreira, who had just climbed into the Top 5 after Tahiti. He will now have a lot of ground to make up in Brazil and Fiji after the rest of the men's top 5 are still in the competition, along with No. 6 Jordy Smith (RSA). 

“I knew I was going to be with one of the best surfers in the world, and I just went in wanting to catch the best waves and do my surfing,” said Perez. “I just focused on my surfing and wasn’t thinking about what he was doing on the wave, but it was super fun. It’s amazing to see this happening, and I’m super grateful to be here with my family and the people of El Salvador supporting me. It’s beautiful to see the country support me and it’s just another day in paradise.”

Perez grew up steps away from Punta Roca and learned to surf here. His victory marks the first win by an El Salvadorian surfer on the Championship Tour and is the biggest win of his career so far. 

But, World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) put a halt to Perez’s historical run in the Round of 16 as the El Salvadorian pushed Florence to bring out his excellent form. Florence posted an 8.93 to take control of the heat and will hold onto the yellow Leader’s jersey moving into Rio, the next stop on the CT.

“That heat was slower than I anticipated and my first wave was a mistake, but it ended up being one of scores, so it worked out,” said Florence. “Kicking out of that and then seeing him on that set and it looked like the biggest, cleanest wall and everyone is cheering for every turn thinking it’s a 10, I’m done. It was really about just holding it together until they dropped the scores. It feels good having confidence and being in the No. 1 position. Quarters is awesome and I’m stoked, but I’m here to win and have fun.”

Medina and Dora World Title Race on Notice 

Another dominant showing from Gabriel Medina (BRA) vaulted him five spots on the rankings and within striking distance of the Top 5. The three-time WSL Champion’s backhand outmatched that of an in-form Ryan Callinan (AUS), who posted a 15.00 two-wave total (out of a possible 20) to Medina’s 16.17. Medina will now advance to the Quarterfinals for a second consecutive event. 

“It feels good to make that one, it was really hard,” said Medina. “Me and Ryan [Callinan] always have good heats. I like the way he surfs, I’m a big fan of him, and he’s always so humble. It’s good to have surfers like that. I’m feeling the rhythm and I just want to make heats and surf. The waves are good, and when it comes, it’s really fun. Hopefully, it’s a little more consistent tomorrow, but it looks good, so that’s good for us.” 

Earlier today, Callinan also scored an 8.17 to eliminate Liam O’Brien (AUS) in a rematch of the same Elimination Round at this event last year.

Always a threat to the Top 5, Yago Dora (BRA) is finding his feet in the back half of the season and put on an aerial showcase in his Round of 16 heat with Jake Marshall (USA). Dora’s variety and commitment in the air earned a 16.50 heat total and helped push him to No. 10 the rankings heading into the Quarterfinals.

“That’s just what I’ve been trying to do and I just dont want to think to much, and just enjoy the fun waves we’re getting,” said Dora. “It’s the kind of surfing I like to do. Getting a bunch of opportunities, going big and building my scores. I had a tough start to the season and didn’t really feel like myself but now I feel like I’m finding myself again.”

Joao Chianca Returns to Championship Tour Form

Joao Chianca (BRA) returned to CT competition for the first time since his injury in January and showed that he is still a major threat. Chianca’s combination of power and a full rotation earned an excellent 8.50 over Barron Mamiya (HAW). Chianca missed the first half of the season, but he will be back on the CT full-time as the WSL Season Wildcard in 2025.  

“It’s so good to be back and I want to say thanks to everyone, my sponsors, and everyone who has been putting in prayers and good energy for me,” said Chianca. “It’s been a long way, and it’s been really hard every day. It’s really good to be back in the water at the CT level. It’s the highest level, and it’s so stacked, and I just feel really blessed right now.”

Chianca then had to overcome World No. 2 Griffin Colapinto (USA) and the heat unraveled with a costly, non-priority interference for Colapinto, meaning he lost half of his backup score. But Colapinto fought back, sending it for a 9.43 and keeping himself in the heat despite Chianca’s 14.50 heat total. Colapinto’s last effort fell short of the 9.77 required, and Chianca’s incredible return to the CT continues to the Quarterfinals where he will face Gabriel Medina (BRA).

Crosby Colaptinto (USA), Griffin’s younger brother, was able to break past the Round of 16 with his win over Indonesia’s Rio Waida in commanding form to earn a 16.67 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The 2024 CT Rookie pushes back against fellow San Clemente competitor Cole Houshmand on the CT rankings in their Rookie of the Year fight. Colapinto will now match up with World No. 1 Florence in Quarterfinal 3. 

A big showing from Matthew McGillivray (RSA) made his presence known among the world’s best heading into the Quarterfinals, posting a 16.40 heat heat total over World No. 3 Ethan Ewing (AUS) and furthering the upset narrative in the Round of 16. McGillvray’s fellow South African, CT veteran, Jordy Smith also marched into the Quarterfinals and also jumped into the No. 5 position with his Round of 16 victory.

The next call will be tomorrow, Saturday, June 8, at 6:15 a.m. CST for a possible 6:35 a.m. start. 

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Elimination Round Results:

HEAT 1: Bryan Perez (SLV) 15.33 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.40

HEAT 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.00 DEF. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 11.57

HEAT 3: Joao Chianca (BRA) 13.50 DEF. Barron Mamiya (HAW) 10.50

HEAT 4: Rio Waida (INA) 13.84 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.93

HEAT 5: Connor O'Leary (JPN) 14.50 DEF. Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.57

HEAT 6: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 14.00 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 9.33

HEAT 7: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 13.96 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.93

HEAT 8: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.27 DEF. Liam O'Brien (AUS) 11.23

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Round of 16 Results:

HEAT 1: Joao Chianca (BRA) 14.50 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.48

HEAT 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.17 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.00

HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) 14.33 DEF. Connor O'Leary (JPN) 11.43

HEAT 4: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.50 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 10.93

HEAT 5: John John Florence (HAW) 13.26 DEF. Bryan Perez (SLV) 13.00

HEAT 6: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 16.67 DEF. Rio Waida (INA) 9.00

HEAT 7: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 16.40 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.76

HEAT 8: Jordy Smith (RSA) 12.74 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.36

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:

HEAT 1: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)

HEAT 2: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)

HEAT 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)

HEAT 4: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) vs. Jordy Smith (RSA)

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:

HEAT 1: Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)

HEAT 2: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)

HEAT 3: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)

HEAT 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)