The Caparica Surf Fest powered by Oakley concluded a fourth consecutive day of action in solid conditions that challenged most of the surfers today. The men’s QS3,000 finished the remaining heats of Round 4 and the Junior divisions advanced through three rounds to set up for the finals tomorrow.
In the main event, the men’s QS3,000 division, pressure was at an all-time high as the remaining battles of Round 4, the event’s top seeded round, unfolded in tricky conditions again. With the forecast looking much better for the last two days of competition, it’s make-or-break in Round 4 and surfers fought in the unruly surf for a chance to surf good waves in the events final rounds.
Vicente Romero (ESP) was the first surfer to really figure out the moving lineup and capitalize on a smart approach to positioning and riding the right waves.
“It was hard work out there,” Romero said. “With the incoming tide I knew there was going to be that left in the current, but everyone paddled out the back and I really tried to stay on that inside. My strategy worked well so I’m stoked to make it through like this.”
Alonso Correa (PER) scored the round’s highest single number of 8.00 in the following heat and former Championship Tour athlete Nat Young (USA) took a commanding win in Heat 12. But once again it was Noah Hill (HAW), the surfer from Maui who posted a near-perfect heat in the juniors yesterday (19.67 out of a possible 20), who showed the most confidence as he built a healthy total of 14.37 to take the win into Round 5.
“It feels really good to make heats and get scores considering I’m just coming off an injury.” he said.
The next two heats were taken out by Frenchmen Maxime Huscenot (FRA) and Charly Martin (FRA). Miguel Blanco (PRT) and Frederico Morais (PRT) advanced as well and will join Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) in Round 5 to defend the Portuguese colors in Caparica.
With one less day on the waiting period, the men and women junior divisions will culminate tomorrow with the event finals. To set up for an exciting finals day where surfers don’t have to surf too many heats, two rounds of women and one round of men were completed today in Caparica.
In the women’s field, three surfers shone in the difficult conditions, and the winner in Espinho last Sunday Rachel Presti (DEU) once again proved lethal on her forehand, posting an incredible 9.50 to advance into the Quarters.
“There’s a lot of paddling and a lot of current so it’s hard to get the good ones but it’s kind of fun out there,” Presti said. “I’m targeting doing all the biggest contests of the year but other than that I’m happy to do just random events, I need all the experience I can get and that’s why I’m surfing in both events here, even though that’s a lot of heats out there.”
Presti will have a busy couple of days coming up as she’s also made it to the third round of the women’s QS1,000 event where she’ll face Camilla Kemp (PRT) and Pauline Ado (FRA) for a spot in the Quarters.
Young French surfer Illona Goasguen (FRA) answered in the following heat with an excellent 8 point ride to put her name in the list of favorites for the event finals, and local hero Mafalda Lopes (PRT) continued to impress with 14.70 heat total, the highest of the round, to advance in first as well.
In the men’s field, all the remaining favorites negotiated their way through Round 5 to advance into the Quarters, including the winner last week Justin Becret (FRA), former European title holder Kauli Vaast (FRA) as well as international powerhouses Daniel Templar (BRA), Fernando Junior (BRA), and Noah Hill (HAW) which should set up an exciting final day tomorrow.
Juniors will be on deck at 9:30 a.m Friday and QS athletes at 8 a.m for the men and 10 a.m for the women.