The QS10,000 EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira launched today in quality four foot surf at the iconic righthand point break of Ribeira d’Ilhas. Competition was briefly halted early this morning due to a thick fog cover but got back underway around lunchtime to complete 15 heats of competition.
Championship Tour surfers entered in Round Two alongside the current top Qualifying Series contenders and lifted the level right away to crack the excellent range of scores.
After a shaky start, Griffin Colapinto (USA) found his groove to post back-to-back 8 point rides and took an easy win into Round Three. The rookie on tour dismantled two long rights with numerous big turns, trying to bring a little variety to each maneuver. The Californian is of course no stranger to righthand points and looked deadly in his first heat at Ribeira d’Ilhas.
“It was pretty tricky out there with the tide peaking in our heat,” Colapinto said. “Having two circuits going on at the same time so you don’t feel as much pressure is exactly what I dreamed of. Paddling out for my heats I know I have the two opportunities to prequalify so that’s good. I’m super stoked and fired up for this European leg, I haven’t done it before so I’m ready!”
Ricardo Christie (NZL) had a similar approach on his forehand to build his 14.70 heat total. Christie won in Martinique last year and is definitely not a complete stranger to righthand point breaks so he could potentially go far, especially if conditions improve and pump more swell.
“It’s nice to have some waves and I’m stoked to get through so I get to have another one out there,” Christie said. “I’ve been at home lately surfing heaps and spending time with the family it’s been fun! I haven’t spent a winter home in years cause I was living on the Gold Coast for a while and traveling, so it’s nice to stay there and surf all my locals.”
The first major upsets came sooner than expected with QS No. 2 Peterson Crisanto (BRA) and World No. 31 Ian Gouveia (BRA) knocked out in their first heat.
In lieu of the two top seeds, QS hopefuls like Deivid Silva (BRA), Adin Masencamp (ZAF) or Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) swooped in and took the advancing spots.
It was mostly a day for the regular footers as Sebastian Zietz (HAW)’s performance in Heat 5 attested, but a few goofy footers managed to make their mark as well. Silva was one of them, Yago Dora (BRA) made sure to get a win into the following round as well, Rafael Teixeira(BRA) and Joan Duru (FRA) all advanced.
“I arrived here late last night super jetlagged and barely got any sleep so I wasn’t super confident going into that heat but I knew it would take good waves to make it through,” Zietz said.
Mihimana Braye (PYF) on the other hand had plenty of water time ahead of the event and it showed when the Tahitian goofy selected the right waves repeatedly. Not only was his wave-selection on point, but his backhand approach with lethal power on every move turned in two solid 7s and a first place ahead of Duru.
“Portugal is so great,” Braye said. “I came here for the World Juniors and got my best result ever. I came down here a week ago to practice on the wave and have plenty of good feedback from the local I’m staying with.”
The day ended with another major upset and the elimination of the current QS leader Seth Moniz (HAW).
Surfers will be back at 7:30 a.m Tuesday to continue Round Two.