A charity event held at the Main Site of the Oi Rio Pro in Saquarema presented 90 surfboards, leashes and jerseys to children enrolled in seven different public schools in the region. Brazil’s expansive coastline is an ideal setting for providing younger generations the opportunity to partake in a healthy lifestyle and sport, which continues to grow in popularity worldwide.
“It is an honor and pleasure for the World Surf League to be able to provide this opportunity to underprivileged children that otherwise would not have the chance to practice our sport due to the high cost of equipment,” said Xandi Fontes, the WSL South America General Manager. “The greatest legacy the Oi Rio Pro can provide is giving these kids a chance to unlock their potential and discover new talent in the region.”
The event was a joint effort between the State Secretary of Sport, Youth and Leisure (Seelje), the State Secretary of Education (Seeduc) and the World Surf League as part of the upcoming Oi Rio Pro Championship Tour event.
“It is an immense pleasure to give the students of Saquarema the incentive to begin surfing,” said Thiago Pampolha, the Secretary of Sport, Youth and Leisure. “The city has lived and breathed surfing for decades and will host the world’s best surfers on the Championship Tour for the event that starts on May 9th. Education and athletics walk hand in hand, and that’s why this partnership is so fundamental. Our country has been producing many talented surfers and the State Secretary of Sport, Youth and Leisure is proud to have a role in providing for the newest generation of athletes.”
The State Secretary of Education was responsible for choosing the schools that would participate in the program. The students were selected based on their performance, attendance, class participation and math Olympics in their respective schools.
“I’d like to congratulate all of the students that were considered to participate. They all showed their dedication and desire to start surfing. The Championship Tour is an international event that will show what Saquarema has to offer to an even larger audience,” stated Wagner Victer, the Secretary of Education.
Included in the group of students that were chosen to participate in the event were Kayane Reis from Colégio Estadual Oscar de Macedo Soares and Juliano de Oliveira from CIEP 258 Astrogildo Pereira. Kayane’s father is a surf coach and sees professional surfing for herself as a career path, while Juliano was ecstatic to be chosen after having broken his only surfboard two days earlier.
“I was so sad that my board broke because I knew I couldn’t afford a new one,” said Juliano de Oliveira. “I was so happy when I found out I was getting a new board. I’ve only been surfing for a few months, but my friends said that I’ve got potential, so I’m sure I can improve a lot with my new equipment.”
Pedro Mesquita, one of the Event Organizers for the Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona in Saquarema was on hand at the ceremony and commented that this action stimulates the new pool of talented surfers from Rio de Janeiro.
“This type of investment in surfing is very important for cultivating new talent. There are currently no athletes from Rio de Janeiro on Tour. Providing boards to these kids makes it possible to establish new “Medinas” and a chance for more world titles for Brazil,” said Mesquita.
The Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona is sponsored globally by Jeep and Airbnb with Oi as the naming rights sponsor. O Boticário and TNT Energy Drink are the newest sponsors to the 2017 Oi Rio Pro which has the support of the Rio de Janeiro State Government via the State Secretary of Sport, Youth and Leisure, the City of Saquarema, the Rio de Janeiro State Surfing Federation and the Saquarema Surf Association. The event will be broadcast live at www.worldsurfleague.com
Oi Rio Pro Men’s Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Josh Kerr (AUS), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Jack Freestone (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Mick Fanning (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Conner Coffin (USA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 12: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Julian Wilson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Oi Rio Women’s Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS), TBD
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Silvana Lima (BRA)