This Sunday Afonso Antunes and Carolina Mendes won the triumph at Allianz Ericeira Pro, the inaugural stage of the Liga MEO 2021, the main surfing event in Portugal and the one that defines the titles of national champions. Afonso and Carol repeated the triumphs achieved last year in this same stage, starting the season in front of their national rankings.
Repeat 2020 triumph and come out ahead of the fight for national surfing titles
– Afonso and Carol go yellow for Figueira da Foz
– Guilherme Ribeiro and Kika Veselko are defeated finalists
– New generation takes over Ribeira d’Ilhas
– Carolina conquers 10th stage of her career in the MEO Surf League
– Afonso equals his father’s number of triumphs in Ericeira
The ericeirense stage was marked by a strong affirmation of the new talents of the national surf, with two juniors and a senior of first year reaching the finals. In addition to Afonso Antunes, 17, Guilherme Ribeiro, 19, and Kika Veselko, 17, the defeated finalists, helped raise the bar by taking part in the “assault” of the new generation on the podiums.
The final day of Allianz Ericeira Pro started with a super heat between Vasco Ribeiro and Tomás Fernandes in the quarter-finals, with the four-time national champion beating the experienced local surfer. In the following heat Guilherme Ribeiro defeated Francisco Almeida, in a duel of surfers from Costa de Caparica, and secured the first semi-finals of his career. The quarter-finals were completed with Afonso Antunes‘ triumphs against Arran Strong and Pedro Coelho’s against the national top 4 Luís Perloiro.
In the semi-finals, when all odds seemed set for Vasco Ribeiro’s triumph, Guilherme Ribeiro’s youth and irreverence ended up making the difference. After having secured the semi-finals for the first time in his career, Gui was not satisfied and went even further, causing one of the big surprises of the race. In the second semi-final Afonso Antunes did not give rise to any more surprises and beat Pedro Coelho towards another final at Ericeira.
With the waves arriving in force to brighten the final, Guilherme and Afonso played in a symbolic heat, which brought together two surfers who made dozens of finals together in the youngest categories. After a dispute based on the spectacularity of both, Afonso got the best score of the entire event, with 15.25 points, to guarantee the triumph. This was “only” the second victory of the junior Afonso Antunes in the Liga MEO Surf, also equaling the number of triumphs of his father, the former national champion João Antunes, in Ericeira.
“It was great to have shared the final with Guilherme, who is a great friend of mine”, started by pointing out Afonso Antunes. “We repeated the finals we did when we were Esperança and if I could, I would repeat this more often. We are two great friends, with very big dreams. The final was probably the time of the championship when there were better waves. Now I want to keep in shape and try to make sure that what happened last year when I lost the title in the last stage, doesn’t happen ”, said Allianz champion Ericeira Pro.
The women’s event, all started with a triumph by Kika Veselko against local surfer Carina Duarte in the first semi-final. Kika was always on top of the competition, showing herself once again as one of the surfers in better shape throughout the competition. In the following heat, Carolina Mendes surprised the national champion in title Teresa Bonvalot, in a heat marked by balance and decided by just 0.20 points.
After achieving the second career final in the MEO Surf League, junior Kika Veselko arrived motivated to the final to achieve the first victory of the career. However, she faced an experienced Carolina Mendes, who knew how to manage the heat in the best way. With the waves making life difficult for both of them, Carol ended up having a more incisive end, winning with 10.6 points, against 8.5 of the opponent.
“It was a very hot heat, without many waves”, started by saying the champion of the stage. “However, I already know this wave very well. I was a little lucky, but I ended up being able to do the maneuver that made the difference. Kika Veselko surfed very well throughout the championship. She knew she had to give everything. I’m happy to win, it just gives me the motivation to continue training. It was an excellent start to the year ”, stressed Carolina Mendes.
With this triumph, the third in Ericeira and the second in a row, Carolina Mendes thus reaches the round mark of 10 triumphs in stages of the Liga MEO Surf. In the general history of the national surf circuit, Carol equals the number of triumphs of Teresa Abraços, one of the most historic names in the early days of national women’s surfing.
Final results of Allianz Ericeira Pro:
Men’s final: Afonso Antunes 15.25 x Guilherme Ribeiro 12.35
Women’s final: Carolina Mendes 10.60 x Kika Veselko 8.50
Go Chill Expression Session: Guilherme Ribeiro
Ericeira Best Surfer: Afonso Antunes and Carina Duarte
Bom Petisco Girls Score: 14.65 Mafalda Lopes, in round 2
Liga MEO Surf is now heading to Figueira da Foz, with Cabedelo beach hosting the best national surfers from 23 to 25 April. Afonso Antunes and Carolina Mendes will, therefore, wear yellow lycra for Allianz Figueira Pro, which is the second of five stages of the Liga MEO Surf 2021 and the second of the three events of the Allianz Triple Crow trophy.
Allianz Ericeira Pro can be followed from home with full live streaming on Sport TV, as well as in other official media: MEO’s Facebook, in position 810 of the MEO channel grid, on ligameosurf.pt and social networks on @ansurfistas.
The Liga MEO Surf is the 1st division of the modality, being Surf an individual sport in the open air without physical contact and considered of low risk by DGS, for it meets all the requirements that allow its return in the competitive plane.
Liga MEO Surf 2021 is an organization of the National Surfers Association and Fire!, sponsored by MEO, Allianz Portugal, Bom Petisco, Go Chill (official cafe), Rip Curl and Ericeira Surf and Skate, the sustainability partner Jerónimo Martins, local support from the Municipality of Mafra, and technical support from Ericeira Surf Clube and the Portuguese Surfing Federation.