The Pro Santa Cruz 2018 pres. by Oakley continued on the fourth day of the event’s waiting period and challenged competitors with smaller conditions in the two-to-three foot range but cleaner wave faces.
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Miguel Blanco (PRT) were the first surfers to find good scores, as they battled it out in the Santa Cruz peaks. A fun goofy vs. regular foot battle unfolded and eventually went the Moroccan’s way with Blanco advancing in second.
“The swell is mixed up and broken up so even though there’s no wind it’s really difficult to surf,” Boukhiam said. “I knew two average scores could win a heat today so I just tried to play it smart and never gave up. That last wave I thought was going to close out but it let me do two turns, nothing crazy but enough to take the win so I’m stoked to make it through.”
Heat 3 came down to the wire with a last ditch effort from both Charly Quivront (FRA) and Jake Marshall (USA) in the dying seconds of the twenty-five minute bout. Manuel Selman (CHL) was sitting in first position but the Frenchman’s final wave, a three-turn combination on a good little right came as the heat’s highest score and gave him the pole position. Marshall also improved his scoreline and edged out the Chilean surfer by a .23 margin.
“I wanted to start with everyone else and catch waves on the left there but I fell a couple of times and struggled to find anything good,” Quivront said. “I knew that right worked as well and needing a score at the end I decided to move to that peak and I’m stoked I got that final chance and a good little right. ”
Frederico Morais (PRT) managed to escape the tricky lineup and find a decent wave to lay down his backhand turns for a 6.50 and a spot into Round Six. Most heats today were won with one wave in the 6+ range and an average backup, and Morais knew exactly what he needed to achieve and advance.
“It’s really hard out there so it feels good to get through another round,” Morais said. “There are still a few fun ones but yesterday definitely had many more opportunities. I kept the same board from yesterday but if conditions stay like this I might look for something different to surf better on the flat sections.”
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) scored the day’s biggest performance, able to select multiple waves with great potential. The Japanese surfer’s patient approach proved efficient as he locked in a 7.27 and 6.30 for his backhand snaps on the bigger waves of the heat.
“I don’t feel any less pressure on a smaller event cause I still want to win!” Igarashi said. “If there weren’t any pressure it wouldn’t be fun and I probably wouldn’t be here. Teresa (Bonvalot) and I do talk about where to sit etc., she’s a very smart competitor so we definitely chat about heat strategy and things like that.”
Ryan Callinan (AUS), Eithan Osborne (USA), Marcos Correa (BRA), Victor Bernardo (BRA) took out the final four tickets into Round Six.
Surfers and event officials will be back on deck to reassess conditions at 9 a.m Saturday.