In June 2020, I returned to competing on the World Surf League Qualifying Series after a long break due to COVID-19. Two regional events took place in two locations in Ecuador: Montañita and Salinas. I came away with 2nd place in both events!
I found out in early May  that the WSL had confirmed the first regional events of the year for South America, scheduled for mid-June. When my team and I got the news, we were so excited that it almost didn’t feel real! Events had been getting scheduled and postponed for months, so knowing that I was going to have an opportunity to compete again made me so happy… and a little nervous.
I had chosen to train in Brazil the months prior to the events, which made me feel really comfortable in South America and the surf conditions there. I felt really confident in my preparation both physically and mentally. After the events were confirmed, the only thing I changed was the amount of time I was training out of the water.
Surfing in Montañita
The wave in Montañita, Ecuador really suited my surfing.
When I first arrived, I was so happy to be there and get to work. It was a rippable, right point break and I surfed my brains out the days before the contest. The first couple of days of the competition went really well for me and I won all my heats.
On the 3rd day, I had a lay day and came down with the worst stomach bug of my whole life. I spent the whole day recovering and resting so that I could surf on the 4th day. Without being able to keep any food or electrolytes down, I was very weak on the next day of the contest but I was still able to win my heat.
On the final day, the waves increased in size significantly and I was still a little weak. I knew that if I made finals, I would be surfing 3 heats in one day, so I tried to manage my energy wisely. I won both my heats leading up to the final but, unfortunately, came 2nd to the incredible competitor, Silvana Lima. I was still very proud of my performance the whole event and very stoked with my result.
Surfing in Salinas
The next event in Salinas, Ecuador started 2 days after the first event ended. After making finals in Montañita and dealing with a bad sickness, my goal was to recover and reset for Salinas.
The wave in Salinas was a rock/beach break that was very powerful and unpredictable, much more difficult than the perfect right break in Montañita. I used my energy sparingly to learn as much as I could about the break before the contest started. I had never been to either of these places before, so I was constantly learning on the go!
I advanced through the first 2 rounds and took on the Ecuadorian Olympian, Dominic Barona, in the quarterfinals. This heat was very memorable for me because the wave conditions were very difficult and I knew I would have to have an amazing performance to advance past Dominic. I executed everything in this heat the way I wanted to and moved on to the Semi-finals and Finals.
In the final, I faced Peruvian, Daniella Rosas and I didn’t have the performance I wanted at all. I made little mistakes throughout the final that led to another 2nd place. Another final was a great result, but I always want more and I’m eager to learn from my mistakes.
After about a month of sitting on my results and experience, I am really happy with not only my performance but also my mental space throughout the competition. During Covid-19, I worked really hard with my sports psychologist, Hannah Huesman, to improve a lot of things in my mental space and I feel like I was able to see my personal progress in these events.
I was also very excited to represent Brazil for the first time in my professional career, and I hope I made them proud. Overall, I’m super proud of the work I put in and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year holds.