Wave pool comp wraps in Brazil while South Korea prepares for launch

The World Surf League pushed its wave pool program further after successful events in Melbourne and Lemoore. The Banco do Brasil sponsored event ran at Praia da Grama in Itupeva, a city located about 120 kilometres from the surf at the coast of São Paulo, while Wave Park Siheung-Si will host an event next week.

Praia da Grama

Each athlete surfed three waves on the left and three on the right, with the highest scoring wave from each side of the Wavegarden Cove counting toward their final tally.

In the women’s final, Tainá Hinckel started at the front with a 9.00 for her backside attack on the left, higher than the 7.80 scored by Sophia Medina. However, the sister of three-time world champion, Gabriel Medina, was better on the frontside on the right, scoring 8.17, against a 6.70 for Tainá. Final score was 15.97 for Sophia and 15.70 points for Tainá.

“I’m still digesting this victory and I couldn’t believe it, because she (Tainá Hinckel) had a 9.0 on the left and I had a 7.8, so it was difficult to flip that exchange,” said Sophia Medina. “I had to have a lot of dedication, a lot of determination, willpower, to win on the right. I wanted more than anyone else to win this championship, maybe that’s why I won, so I just have to glorify the name of Jesus Christ which has sustained me thus far.”

On the men’s side, CT veteran and Surf Ranch Pro graduate Miguel Pupo came out on top.

“This was my last event scheduled for this year and I almost gave up at the last minute, but, I talked to Adriano (de Souza) and he told me to compete, which was important, as it was the last championship before Pipeline (Hawaii),” said Miguel Pupo. “I think that after everything I’ve been through this year, with the injury at the beginning of the season, ending with a victory is very special to put an end to this story.”

Sophia Medina on her way to victory at the Banco do Brasil wave pool event. Photo WSL/Smorigo.

Wave Park South Korea

One year ago the WSL announced more QS, LQS and JQS events would be run around the world in wave pools. The WSL created broad-reaching guidelines for evaluating and hosting competitions in wave tanks, rolling out new venue announcments over the year.

“Wave technology is at an inflection point, and the level playing field of a wave basin provides a unique opportunity for competitors,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP of Tours and Head of Competition. “Although the ocean will always be our home, we believe this technology has an important role to play in the future of competitive surfing.”

Wave Park South Korea is the next freshwater stop for the inaugural Siheung Korea Open, which will be held from November 17 through 19, 2023. The Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 and Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 1,000 events are expected to attract over 120 competitors from the Asia region as they look to qualify for the 2024 Challenger Series and World Longboard Tour, respectively.

“We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to host a World Surf League event in South Korea,” said JinSoo, President of Mirunamu. “This is the first WSL event to be held in South Korea and the largest surfing event ever in the country. There is already a lot of media attention and excitement on the ground, so we can’t wait to see what the event brings when it is underway. We look forward to also showcasing Siheung City and its impressive Wave Park to the world.”

WavePoolMag visited Siheung City last year to document the rise in Korean wave pool culture and the fascinating factor-city-turned-resort town with a wave pool at its center. You can view that clip below.