morant_brazil16_09392
7.00, 8.00, 9.70...The scores wouldn't stop climbing for John John, and the momentum continued to swing his way. Photo: Moran

Our 2017 Rio Pro Predictions

The SURFER Magazine staff picks their winners for event #4 of the season

We’re officially out of Oz for the fourth event of the 2017 ‘CT. The Oi Rio Pro, previously held in Rio de Janeiro, has now moved to Saquarema, a small town east of the Brazilian metropolis that has hosted a QS 10,000 event in the past and has one of the more consistent (we’ve heard), cleaner (we hope) beachbreaks in Brazil. Here’s who we’re favoring as we near the waiting period.

Filipe Toledo:

Last person to not grow a third eyeball wins. Oh wait, that was last year. This is Saquarema 2.0. “Cleaner, more playful," as they say. I don't know about you, but "more playful” screams Filipe Toledo (as long as he's winning) to me. I've seen this dog and pony show before. The difference with Filipe is it won't be his ending frontside reverse that seals the deal. It will be everything else. Speed wins in beachbreak judging — and no one crams more into less than father Toledo. — Peter Taras, Digital Director

John Florence:

Oh, hell, I don’t know. John John? Smart money is on Filipe, I suppose, but even smarter money would say to not assume anything about Brazilian beachbreaks. It’ll probably be three feet and dumpy, but maybe it’ll be overhead and dumpy, at which point fortune favors guys who are both preternatural tuberiders and air-huckers, which is pretty much Florence’s surfing distilled to its essence. Plus, the WSL keeps running clips of JJF at Brazil on their Twitter feed and it’s imprinted him firmly in my mind as the one to beat. — Justin Housman, Features Editor

[CLCK HERE TO MAKE YOUR FANTASY SURFER PICKS FOR THE OI RIO PRO]

Gabriel Medina:

My brain is telling me that JJF is going to blow the Brazilian storm back out to sea and take the event in similar fashion to last year. But my gut is telling me that Medina is going to be throwing all kinds of gravity-defying airs to climb out of his current ratings slump, not to mention to finally make a statement on his home turf in Brazil. JJF has a lot of momentum following his world title year, but Medina has one of those big silver title trophies, as well, lest we forget—I'm sure the crowd on the beach at Rio won't. Having the energy of about a million Rio surf fans at his back, this is the time for Medina to get back on the horse and prove he's still a title contender. — Todd Prodanovich, Editor

We’ll See?

Saquarema is a left, and Wilko has won a WQS out there before, so he might be a factor. I think Medina is going to want to make up some ground after the Aussie leg and will be dangerous out there. Filipe could be dangerous, too. — Grant Ellis, Photo Editor

Last Person To Not Grow A Third Eyeball:

The real winner will be the one who opts out of the event. — Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor

[Featured Image: John Florence, Photo by Moran]