The QS10,000 EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira continued in fun three-to-four foot rights at Ribeira d’Ilhas and ran through the remaining heats of Round Two.
Major upsets ensued right away with world No. 16 Michael Rodrigues (BRA), the first of many top seeds to suffer early exits today. Later heats will end campaigns for World No. 8 Mikey Wright (AUS), long time CT competitor Alejo Muniz (BRA) and Jesse Mendes (BRA) as well.
Former CT athlete Ethan Ewing (AUS) on the other hand started with a great first heat. His polished carves and rail work turned in a couple of great scores to start and when he added a massive layback snap and a little tail slide in the combination, judges dropped a 9.00 and Ewing moved into Round Three. That came at the expense of World No. 27 Michael February(ZAF) who also bowed out early.
Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) followed with a crucial win. The powerful regular foot currently sits at No. 7 on the QS and for the second year running, eyes a potential CT berth. He came extremely close last year and looks determined to seal the deal this season. To further motivate him, there is a wildcard slot into the Quiksilver Pro France next week for the highest Frenchman on the QS, post Ericeira.
2014 World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) doesn’t feel the pressure to perform in Ericeira, currently ranked 2nd in the World and in his own race, not to qualify, but to claim a second world title this season. The dynamic goofy foot locked in an 8.60 on his first wave, the second highest score of the whole event, and easily advanced into Round Three.
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) also had a good start. The Californian, representing Japan and spending a lot of time in Portugal is practically a local at Ribeira d’Ilhas and knew exactly what waves to pick. He started on a reform that stood up all the way into the inside and let him perform multiple turns for an 8.27 and the win.
Tomas Fernandes (PRT) took a big win for team Portugal, advancing in first ahead of Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA). Of course Fernandes has years of experience competing here so his win should come as no surprise.
With high tide nearing at lunchtime and a fickle dying swell at this point, event officials decided to call competition Off for the rest of the day and wait for improved conditions to resume.
Surfers will be back at 7:30 a.m for the call on Wednesday with potentially better conditions on offer.