Conditions changed dramatically on the third day of the Pro Santa Cruz 2018 pres. by Oakley, with a bigger swell serving up solid four-to-six foot surf and occasional bigger sets while the North wind continued to render conditions extremely difficult to surf.

Aritz Aranburu (ESP) claimed the day’s first big score with a committed backhand two-turn combo on a meaty left, coming in as an excellent 8.67. The Spaniard’s vertical approach set the scale early in the day for all other surfers. A former Championship Tour competitor and a regular at big-wave venues, Aranburu stepped up as conditions got more serious this morning in Santa Cruz.

“Waves are really fun when you catch them but the rip is so strong it’s definitely not easy out there,” Aranburu said. “I usually complain when conditions are too small so no complaining from me here, there’s enough size and power to have a lot of fun. I’ve been coming to Portugal for over twenty years and it’s my favorite destination in the world.”

Jake Marshall (USA) continued to find his rhythm in the moving lineup and posted a solid win over one of the form Europeans of the moment Maxime Huscenot (FRA). The Californian navigated the big foamy lefts perfectly and built a healthy scoreboard with backhand snaps to advance into Round Five.

“I feel like I’ve been in a good rhythm since I’ve been here in Santa Cruz and I’m having a lot of fun,” Marshall said. “I’ve been to Portugal a few times and arrived early here so I definitely had time to wear off the jet lag and get used to the conditions. I think my board got glassed a bit more heavy by accident but it turns out it’s perfect for the conditions with that strong wind, it helps it sticking to the wave.”

Portugal’s very own Frederico Morais launched his Santa Cruz campaign today in winning form to dominate his first heat and advance into Round Five. The current World No. 14 found a couple of big walls to lay down his usual powerful brand of surfing and post a 14.07 heat total.

“It’s great to be back here, I love competing in Portugal,” Morais said. “There are never any easy heat, all the guys competing are great surfers and with tough conditions like these it’s anyone’s game. But I feel great at the moment and I sure hope to make a few more heats, winning in Portugal would be awesome.”

Jadson Andre (BRA) stuck to the main storyline of CT and ex-CT surfers advancing, with a good heat to make his way into Round Five as well, alongside Aranburu and Morais, Miguel Pupo(BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Ryan Callinan (AUS). On the other hand, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) and Joan Duru (FRA) failed to capitalize on their experience at the highest level, unable to navigate the tricky lineup of Santa Cruz today.

Surfers and event organizers will reconvene at 9 a.m Friday again to reassess conditions for a potential crucial day of action in Santa Cruz.