Disturbed and average swell greeted the organisers and competitors this morning at La Cupula in Antofagasta. Disappointment in Mother Nature’s offering was palpable at the event site, with Round 2 riders hoping for a bump in the swell after the decrease during the previous day.
Nevertheless, organisers decided to get competition underway with the women’s semi-finals, podium final, and pro-junior semis getting underway, with the hope that conditions might improve after this period of time.
Ayaka Susuki (JPN) and Anais Velis (CHI) were first in the water, with Ayaka (JPN) once again proving her ambitions are aligned with her abilities, out-surfing the young Chilean on her way to the final. The second semi-final was a hotly contested affair, with superstars Alexandra Rinder (CNY) and Neymara Carvalho (BRA) facing off for a place in the final.
Rinder (CNY) was in control early in the heat, scoring a 6.25 for a smooth rollo and then backing this up with a 6.75 for a combination rollo, spin and rollo to finish. Carvalho (BRA) had a slower start to the heat, garnishing an average score for a single rollo, but needing something much more significant to catch up with Rinder (CNY) who was in fine form throughout the event so far. That score arrived, after Carvalho (BRA) found a larger set wave, dropping down into it with style and speed, drawing out a long bottom turn and launching a big rollo on the outside section. She landed smoothly and transitioned immediately into another rollo that was incomplete.
The judges deemed that it was the score she needed to take the lead, awarding her an 8.25 and a place in the final. The disappointment felt by Rinder (CNY) was apparent, while the jubilation for Carvalho (BRA) was infectious. It truly is wonderful seeing such a veteran of the sport remaining competitive with the new generation of riders.
Finalists for the Pro Womens are:
Ayaka Susuki (JPN)
Neymara Carvalho (BRA)
The pro junior semi-finals entered the water, with the first being taken decisively by Moises Silva (CHI) and local rider from Antofagasta Eduardo Guzman (CHI). The second semi-final was a closer affair, with Cristobal Fernandez from Easter Island (CHI) taking the win ahead of rival and current ratings leader Nelson Flores (CHI), both with high heat totals of 15.50 and 14.90 respectively. Luan Tavares (BRA) had a late charge in the heat, launching a huge invert out of the bowl to earn 8.5 and moving him within striking distance of Flores (CHI) for second place, but the clock beat him before he had the chance to find another ride.
Finalists for the pro-juniors, to be surfed on Saturday are:
Moises Silva (CHI)
Cristobal Fernandez (CHI)
Eduardo Guzman (Antofagasta, CHI)
Nelson Flores (CHI)
With finalists for the pro-juniors decided, the Women’s Podium Final entered the water.
Anais Velis (CHI) and Alexandra Rinder (CNY) battled it out in the 25-minute podium final, with neither riding finding the decisive score to take a clear lead up until the final hooter. In the end it was the young Chilean Velis (CHI) who grabbed the upset victory over Rinder (CNY). The local crowd were ecstatic, as was Velis (CHI).
Elimination Round 2 of the Men’s Main Event then hit the water, with Dino Carmo of Portugal finding the larger sections and completed strong rollos, reconnecting with the form he had at the Itacoatiara Pro in Brazil to eliminate Hermano Castro (BR).
Heat 2 saw in-form Australian rider Joshua Burguete-Kirkman (AUS) progress ahead of Chilean Matias Diaz (CHI) with two strong waves that included an ARS and larger rollo in the challenging conditions.
Heat 3 saw Sacha Damjanic (CHI) eliminated by the narrowest margin by fellow Chilean Kenny Jonson (CHI). Jonson (CHI) managed to qualify into the Main Event in Itacoatiara recently but had been unable to progress into Round 3. This result is a big development for the young Chilean, and another reminder of the profundity of the talent pool in Chile.
Heat 4 saw a devastating Tristan Roberts (RSA) dominate the waves, leaving local wildcard Gaston Rojas (CHI) needing a near perfect score to attempt to take back the lead in the dying moments of the battle. Roberts (RSA) launched a clean cork-screw rollo to set the benchmark high early in the heat, and quickly backed it up with a stunning backflip and rollo combination later in the heat to show that he is one rider to watch at this event.
Heat 5 saw Socrates Santana (BRA) stay in control from start to finish against Puerto Rican PJ Tartak (PUR), who couldn’t seem to find the cleaner sections to launch off in the increasingly difficult conditions.
Heat 6 delivered Dave Hubbard (HAW) in devastating form, launching two large flips to put young Brazilian superstar David Barbosa (BRA) in combination from very early on in the heat. With such a commanding lead achieved so early on (16.5), Barbosa (BRA) simply couldn’t find the waves to catch Hubbard (HAW), whose aerial game is one of the best in the world right now.
Heat 7 saw another upset, with Diego Cabrera (CNY), winner of the Itacoatiara Pro in Brazil only 3 weeks ago struggling to find any decent scores, leaving the door open for Brazilian Joao Paulo (BRA) to progress through to the 3rd Round.
Heat 8 was won by Paul Blaz (AUS), who put in the performance of a lifetime at the Spark Green Tahiti Challenge earlier this year, narrowly progress ahead of Argentinian Nicolas Chiara (ARG) after once again finding the larger set waves and completing clean, smooth spins and rollos.
Heat 9 saw Antonio Cardoso (POR) dispatch Claudio Alquinta (CHI) decisively, while Heat 10 was the Maxime Castillo (FRA) show, with the classy Frenchman launching clean ARS’s and rollos to also find a decisive victory over Chile’s Sebastian Krefft (CHI). Castillo (FRA) finished with a heat score total of 15.25.
Heat 11 was taken by Peruvian Miguel Rodriguez (PER), who managed to stay ahead of Argentinian charger Santiago Sanchez (ARG) to progress to Round 3.
The final heat of competition was a real nail-biter, with Easter Island pro junior rider Cristobal Fernandez (CHI) dominating the heat for the majority of its duration, only to be beaten in the dying seconds by a Roberto Bruno (BRA) who simply never gives up until the final hooter sounds.
Tomorrow we are set to witness some extraordinary riding in what should be (fingers and toes crossed) building swell. Some stacked heats are expected in the Round 3 of the Men’s tomorrow, with the following match ups set to send the crowd wild.
Heat 1: Dave Hubbard (HAW) vs Nelson Flores (CHI)
Heat 2: Maxime Castillo (FRA) vs Patrick Orr (HAW)
Heat 3: Jacob Romero (HAW) vs Brahim Iddouch (MAR)
Heat 4: Alan Munoz (CHI) vs Socrates Santana (BRA)
Heat 5: Tristan Roberts (RSA) vs Uri Valadao (BRA)
Heat 6: Jared Houston (RSA) vs Joao Paulo (BRA)
Heat 7: Iain Campbell (RSA) vs Isaias Ravyc (BRA)
Heat 8: Antonio Cardoso (POR) vs Eder Luciano (BRA)
Heat 9: Dino Carmo (POR) vs Paul Blaz (AUS)
Heat 10: Roberto Bruno (BRA) vs Joshua Burguete-Kirkman (AUS)
Heat 11: Dudu Pedra (BRA) vs Miguel Rodriguez (BRA)
Heat 12: Alex Uranga (EUK) vs Kenny Jonson (CHI)
Stay tuned to APB social media to know when the live webcast will start.