With the WSL rebounding from the Margaret River event cancellation by rolling straight into the Founder’s Cup at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch, we’re seeing some serious ups and downs when it comes to the Championship Tour. Events like Rio may not be long for the schedule with the small conditions that typically are on offer. But it does have one thing that almost no other event on tour has: absolutely massive crowds of rabid fans flocking to the event every day. This passion can be felt any time a local Brazilian or top tier international surfer takes to the water or makes an appearance. And when/if Slater makes an appearance in Rio it has the feel of a national holiday or a presidential motorcade.

Some stats from the last few years in Rio:

Regular foot dominance: Since 2011 when this event was moved back to Rio, it has yet to be won by a goofy foot. In fact, since 2011, only one goofy has even made it to the final (Ace Buchan 2017)

Despite his two wins here (2012 and 2016), John John Florence has actually been quite inconsistent in Rio. In 5 appearances at this event, he has 2 wins, two Round 3 losses, and one 9th place. This essentially means it's feast or famine for John John in the results department for Rio.

If you were to have to bet on one surfer making it to the quarterfinals or better, you'd be hard pressed to find a better pick than Adriano DeSouza. He's made it to the quarters or better 5 times in the last 7 years, winning the event twice.

Australians finish runner up in this event a lot. In the 7 years this event has returned to Rio, an Australian has made the final 5 times. They have yet to win the men’s event, and no Aussie male has been consistent enough to make it to the final twice.

On the Women's side, this is Tyler Wright's event. In the past 5 years, she has won the event 3 times and lost in the semifinals twice. She may come at a steep price for your Fantasy Surfer teams, but she's well worth the payoff.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's Stephanie Gilmore. While we know the stylish champion has won the world over several times at each location, Rio remains a mystery for her. She made it to the semifinals once in 2011 and since then it has been a string of injuries and early losses for her.

This is historically the stop of year that the mysterious injury bug tends to rear its ugly head on tour. Wether that means surfers are breaking down at just this exact moment, or are slyly doing their best to get out of what is regarded as the worst surfing conditions on tour is up to you to decide. But in regards to your Fantasy Surfer teams, it would be wise to check in often in the lead up to the event to see if anyone on your squad is reported as injured. This year’s event waiting period is two days shorter than last year’s, so draw from that what you will.

Don’t forget, the 2017 event introduced us to the potential of Yago Dora as an injury replacement:

And now, the facts:

WHO: The Men’s WSL Top 34 + 2 wildcards, and the Women’s WSL Top 17 + 1 wildcard.

WHAT: Event No.4 of the Men’s & Women’s 2018 WSL Championship Tour

WHEN: May 11-20, 2017

WHERE: Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

TIME ZONE: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is 1 hour ahead of the US East Coast and 4 hours ahead of the US West Coast. This means that 7:00am, Friday, May 11th in Rio is 6:00am, Friday, May 11th in New York, and 3:00am Friday May 11th in Los Angeles. If you’re not in any of those time zones and want to know the difference in time from Rio to your area, we recommend visiting TimeAndDate.com.

INJURIES / REPLACEMENTS / WILDCARDS: As of today (May 7th USA, May 8th AUS), Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, and Caio Ibelli have all withdrawn from the event. Ibelli has a foot injury, but both Slater and Parkinson were just competing this past weekend in the wavepool event. Replacements and wildcards for the event include Mikey Wright, Wiggolly Dantas, Miguel Pupo, and Alejo Muniz. The final spot for the event is still to be announced.

On the women's side, Courtney Conlogue’s foot injury has led her to withdraw from her 4th straight event. She has been replaced in the draw by Pauline Ado. The final spot has yet to be announced.

2017 Men’s Oi Rio Pro Heat Draw:

Upcoming Round 1 Heats:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo, Kanoa Igarashi, Ian Gouveia
Heat 2: Jordy Smith, Tomas Hermes, Miguel Pupo
Heat 3: Owen Wright, Wade Carmichael, Wiggolly Dantas
Heat 4: John John Florence, Joan Duru, Mikey Wright
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina, Jesse Mendes, Alejo Muniz
Heat 6: Julian Wilson, Pat Gudauskas, TBA
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira, Connor O'Leary, Keanu Asing
Heat 8: Adriano DeSouza, Griffin Colapinto, Michael February
Heat 9: Michel Bourez, Conner Coffin, Yago Dora
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan, Sebastian Zietz, Ezekiel Lau
Heat 11: Matt Wilkinson, Jeremy Flores, Willian Cardoso
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino, Frederico Morais, Michael Rodrigues

2018 Women’s Oi Rio Pro Heat Draw:

Upcoming Round 1 Heats
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons, Nikki Van Dijk, Coco Ho
Heat 2: Tyler Wright, Caroline Marks, Bronte Macauley
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore, Malia Manuel, TBA
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson, Sage Erickson, Pauline Ado
Heat 5: Carissa Moore, Silvana Lima, Paige Hareb
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb, Johanne Defay, Keely Andrew