Caio Ibelli warming up for the Pipe Pro riding a 6’2 New Traveler. Photo by Henrique Pinguim.
Rusty team rider, Caio Ibelli, recently got back home to Brazil from the 7 mile miracle, better known as Hawaii, where he competed (and kind of dominated) in the first two events of the WSL World Championship Tour as a wildcard in both events.
The year started off at the infamous Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu where Caio was an underdog and ended up making it all the way to the semi-finals and ended the event with a 3rd place finish as a wildcard. This locked him into a spot for the following round at Sunset Beach, where he was an underdog… Again. He made it to the semi-finals, again, and ended the second event of the year with another 3rd place finish, again, as a wildcard, again. After back-to-back 3rd place finishes and impressive performances in the first two events of the year, Caio sits in a comfortable 4th place in points and has earned himself another wildcard spot in the next event held in Peniche, Portugal at Supertubos.
Caio Ibelli handling a steep drop on his 6’6 New Traveler during the Pipe Pro. Photo by Tom Cozad.
We were able to catch up with Caio and ask him a few questions about how this year has been going for him so far…
What did you do to get ready for both Pipe and Sunset?
Well I wasn’t expecting to get the call for Pipe then got the call 3 days before the event. Before that I was just enjoying Summer at home in Brazil riding a Twin Fin. Once I got the call, I got all my boards packed and went to Hawaii. Once I got there I was a little scared because the previous 2 months I had been surfing a Twin Fin in two foot waves so showing up and surfing pumping waves at Pipe was a bit scary. 6-8 ft everyday. But yeah, I was just mentally ready for one opportunity, that’s all I was really looking for. One chance to perform and show my best. Pipeline was really fun. I was able to compete in the best Pipeline I’ve ever surfed in my life with one other guy in the water. It was incredible. All I had was one chance but I knew if I did good, I would get more chances. I was focused on having fun, surfing well, getting barreled, and making heat by heat because I knew my seed would make it a hard task to get far through the event and I ended up having a lot of fun and getting some good waves. For Sunset, I was able to find out a little bit before the event that I had a spot. A few days before the contest, I rode a 6’8 out at Sunset on a smaller day and was like “Woah, this board is magic,” so I was excited because it was working so well and a swell was coming. It gave me a lot of confidence to ride that big board and have some extra paddle power and extra foam under my feet.
What boards were you riding in Hawaii?
All of the boards I rode were custom New Travelers. I’ve been working closely with Pedro (Shaper at Rusty in Brazil) here in Brazil and was able to get some magic boards made and the best board I’ve ever ridden for Pipe. It was a New Traveler. 6’6 x 18.28 x 2.38 29 L. That was the board I made the best take off of my life under the barrel and that was the best wave of my life, ever. Unfortunately, I tried catching a wave in after my heat ended in the quarter finals and ended up breaking it. For Sunset, I rode a 6’8 New Traveler every heat until the quarter finals. I rode a 6’4 New Traveler in the quarter finals and semifinals because the swell dropped and that performed well too.
How was Hawaii outside of competing?
This time in Hawaii was actually very intense. The contests were really close together and we didn’t really get that many flat days where we’d do something else. When the contest was off or had no waves, I was just resting and getting my stuff ready for the next event. Yeah, it was good. Hawaii is a great place. I love it. It's like my second home. It felt good to be there, see my friends, and surf some good waves again.
We’re stoked to see Caio back competing and excited to see how he does in Portugal and the rest of the year whether he’s riding a New Traveler, Twin Fin, or anything in between. To watch Caio surf and compete at Supertubos, click HERE.
The New Traveler: https://rustysurfboards.com/products/new-traveler
The Twin Fin: https://rustysurfboards.com/products/twin-fin