WSL: Miguel Pupo beats French and is champion at Teahupoo | surfing

It was worth the wait. After 11 years in the elite, Miguel Pupo won his first victory on the World Tour this Friday in one of the most feared waves on the planet. It was in the legendary Teahupoo that the São Paulo champion became champion by beating Frenchman Kauli Vaast in the final (17.17 to 15.00). Miguel is only the third Brazilian surfer to win the Tahiti stage. The others were: Bruno Santos, winner in 2008; and Gabriel Medina, champion in 2014 and 2018.

Miguel Pupo surfing Teahupoo — Photo: Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League

Even with the title, Miguel ends the season outside the top-5, the group of athletes classified for the WSL Finals, in September, in California. Leader of the ranking, Filipe Toledo heads the class alongside Jack Robinson (2nd), Ethan Ewing (3rd), Italo Ferreira (4th) and Kanoa Igarashi (5th). The event takes place in the knockout format with the yellow shirt having the advantage of playing only a best-of-three match against whoever passes the other disputes.

+ Courtney Conlogue is champion at Teahupoo; Tati keeps 3rd place

In the female category, Tatiana Weston-Webb will be the only representative from Brazil. The other surfers fighting for the 2022 world title are: Carissa Moore, Johanne Defay, Brisa Hennessy and Stephanie Gilmore.

– It was very exciting. I’ve waited over 10 years for this and I’ve always believed in my talent. I want to dedicate this title to my wife, my parents and my children. The achievement here is the result of a lot of work, my body is tired from having fought a lot on this Final Day, but it was worth the reward – said Miguel, who was supported by his brother, also surfer Samuel Pupo, one of the most thrilled with the conquest.

Miguel Pupo scores 9.0 with tubaço in Teahupo'o

Miguel Pupo scores 9.0 with tubaço in Teahupo’o

Undaunted even though he was in his first World Tour final, Miguel came out ahead with a beautiful 7.00 wave. Kauli, meanwhile, responded with a modest 1.93. Shortly after, the Frenchman surfed to 4.83, increasing his sum to 6.76. The Brazilian didn’t let it go, finding a good wave minutes later. As the score was a 5.83, Miguel was again comfortable in the lead.

With 15 minutes to go, the two surfers had the most emotional moment of the decision. The Frenchman found his best wave, a 7.33, putting pressure on Miguel. The answer, however, came with a counterattack in the same series. In a spectacular tube, the Brazilian got a 9.00 score from the judges, getting closer to the cup.

Kauli Vaast looks for a wave at Teahupoo — Photo: Damien Poullenot/World Surf League

Pushed by the Tahitian crowd, Kauli Vaast didn’t give up, having chances again after a 7.37. But Miguel Pupo wasn’t kidding. In another spectacular tube, the paulista took 8.17, going to have 17.17 in the sum. Playing his luck on Teahupoo, the Frenchman found a beautiful barrel five minutes from the end. The note was a 7.63, which left him a 9.54 from the turn.

Gradually, however, the paulista managed the result. Owner of the priority, Miguel tried to spend the time until confirming the victory by 17.17 to 15.00. When the drums were over, he was greeted by his colleagues from Brazilian Storm, among them Filipe Toledo and Samuel Pupo. A typically Brazilian party in the heart of Tahiti.

Miguel Pupo scores 8.17 in the final at Teahupo'o

Miguel Pupo scores 8.17 in the final at Teahupo’o

Victory over Caio Ibelli in the semi

In the semifinal, Miguel had a resounding victory against Caio Ibelli. The first wave of the heat was a 5.17 from Miguel. Shortly after, he surfed to 6.83, widening the gap. Caio, in turn, responded with a 6.17, but Miguel tried to change the score in the sequence with a 6.67. From then on, the sea became calm with very small waves. Better for Miguel, who confirmed the victory by 13.50 to 7.57.

Miguel Pupo scores 6.83 in the semifinal at Teahupo'o

Miguel Pupo scores 6.83 in the semifinal at Teahupo’o

Caio Ibelli scores 6.17 in the semifinals at Teahupo'o

Caio Ibelli scores 6.17 in the semifinals at Teahupo’o

  1. Kauli Vaast (FRA) 17.33 x Kelly Slater (USA) 1.17
  2. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.57 x Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.50
  1. Kauli Vaast (FRA) 15.00 x Miguel Pupo (BRA) 17.17

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