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What was once an event that the tour surfers abhorred is now a raucously popular affair with arguably the largest and most rambunctious crowd out of all the Championship Tour competitions.

The rumours swirling of the competition being canceled and the online outbreak of public outrage over the judging at the Surf Ranch have blown over, and it is time for the Brazilian surfers to show what they have.

The anger was misplaced. Whether the judging was inaccurate or partisan does not equate to threats against the top surfers in the world. Griffin Colapinto and Ethan Ewing were not writing down their own scores. They were being judged by the panel. They were surfing their hearts out and did not deserve the most abusive online criticisms.

Still, the Brazilian surfers have absorbed the levels of national pride their fans exude and most likely feel that this would be an excellent time to vindicate the support and national pride they have felt. The triumvirate of Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, and Filipe Toledo walk into this tournament as the most focused and committed competitors, while Joao Chianca will not be slouching either.

Let's keep Jack Robinson front of mind, though. Should the waves turn on, as they have in the past, he will be in the mix with his mixed A-Grade bag of innovations and his sublime tube affinity. His disaster at the Wave Pool meant he lost points but skipped the controversy. This could be the time he makes his move back to the top.

Filipe Toledo

A triumph at last year's event and a 10-point ride must make Toledo the firm favourite going into this tournament. He has the eye of the tiger and will feel the roaring support of the home crowd pushing him to greatness at this contest. With the skills and talent to win any beachbreak comp, the natural footer can win this event if he sets his heart on it. His Sharp Eyes look incredible. He is at the top of his game regarding vigour and flexibility and has the fire. All the Brazilians will be incredibly focused in Rio this year, but a less preoccupied, more relaxed Filipe might have the winning edge.

Jack Robinson
14.0 - 15.0

With all the online drama missing Jack completely, he emerged unscathed and ready to regain a spot at the top of the podium. While a top 5 is already his, Jack likes to claim victory more than most and has a Slate-like desire to win. His forehand straight airs are the best in the game, as exhibited last year at this event and in Mexico the previous year, but Robinson has the full repertoire. He is also well-liked and has carried defeat graciously in the past, which would not have gone unnoticed by the judges and head judge. That sort of conduct leaves a positive imprint, and anything optimistic in a surfer's makeup will help somewhere along the line.

Gabriel Medina

No regrets from Medina. He is also that one surfer who knows exactly what to do for a win. He is clinical and calculating, and when he has the score to win a heat, he still doesn't slow down the pressure. Medina also has possibly more knowledge of the rules and the rule book than others and knows how to use this information to help his cause. Some call him ruthless; others call him determined. If he locks into a genuine world title run, it's game over for the rest of the competitors.
Some have called him a sore loser, but there are always two sides to a coin. Some calls might have gone against him lately, but he has also had his fair share of calls going his way in the past.

Italo Ferreira
10.0 - 11.0

What does he need to do to swing the vision back his way? Is he trying too hard? Is his frustration visible and subtly negating his vibe? When he sees blue skies, Italo will once again he will be unstoppable.
He is another who improves by about 20% in front of a home crowd and spends time amongst his fans and family at Brazilian events. This might give him even more energy, hard to comprehend, but it might give him that big smile that precedes big wins.
Ferreira will be in his absolute element in beachbreak lefts and rights with air sections and barrels, and we can expect some crazy surfing.

João Chianca
20.0 - 21.0

This event in Brazil will boost his rise to fame and glory, and Chianca is an absolute definite for an excellent result in Rio. Without wishing to detract from his fellow countrymen, he is a new face and a fresh style in comparison, and this could hold him in good stead at this event and at others. His amiability and good nature also endear people to him, but he obviously can switch back to a game face when needed. Still, everyone loves a champion, even more so if that individual is often smiling. Chianca for the win? An excellent chance.

Yago Dora
18.0 - 21.0

At this event last year, Dora was one of the most entertaining surfers of the tournament and gained so many new fans from Brazil and around the world. The goofy-footer has an incredible backhand arsenal and is smooth and subtle in the barrel. He had so much strength and energy last year, pushing in every heat until the last minute, and the cheers from the crowds, whenever he won, were some of the loudest. Sometimes Dora could easily fit into an 'underrated' classification, but when he initiates his air attack and gets into the role of making his turns, he can be totally indomitable. Last year he was stopped in the semifinals by Toledo, who went on to win the contest. It wasn't by a significant margin, either. Dora had the final in his sights. Maybe this year is his….


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