Clean Sweep for Hawaiʻi, Lau and Silva Win 2021 Surf Contest in Portugal
* Updated October 9, 11:32 AM
Hawaiʻiʻs Luana Silva and Ezekiel Lau each won their respective divisions today at the World Surf Leagueʻs MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira in Portugal.
Silva beat Gabriela Bryan from Hawaiʻi in her final bout, while Lau defeated Jackson Baker of Australia in 3- to 4-foot surf at the iconic Ribeira d’Ilhas pointbreak.
It was stop No. 2 of 4 on the 2021 Challenger Series. The MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira has been treated to epic conditions all week with a couple of massive days before the conclusion of the event in rippable conditions.
The womenʻs showdown between Silva and Bryan went down to the buzzer.
Ten minutes in they were both sitting on huge heat totals, 17.13 for Bryan and 16.13 for Silva. During the next 20 minutes, Silva with a near-perfect 9.80 on the board struggled to find another opportunity in the lineup.
With 15 seconds on the clock, a wave finally materialized and the 17-year-old surfer posted an 8.23 to seal the biggest victory of her young career. The result rocketed her up to third in the rankings. Bryan remains No. 1 in the rankings.
“I have no words right now I’m so happy,” an ecstatic Silva said through tears. “I knew it was going to be tough, that final against Gabriela, but I just waited and finally got my chance. I’m stoked I managed to showcase my surfing.”
Coming off a decent start at the US Open with a 9th place finish, Lau blazed through the field on his way to a third win at the Challenger Series level. He jumped from 34th to 1st on the Challenger Series rankings.
“Falling off tour a couple of years ago I’ve been working so hard ever since to just get back and winning here feels amazing,” Lau said. “I knew this was going to be a good event for me so I focused in on it. I trained long and hard for it so I’m just really stoked and just want to thank everyone that has helped me get to this point.”