Nazare Pro 2017
A Trial of the Willing – Day one.
Praia Do Norte, Nazaré Portugal, Wednesday October 4, 2017
Ask yourself: ‘Would I launch myself of a 6 foot ramp knowing that when I land it will be two feet deep and only metres from the sand?’ Because this is exactly what riders in the trials of the Nazare Pro asked themselves time and again in the powerful 4-8 foot conditions today.
The winners were those who answered yes, and were willing to launch.
Competition finally got underway after a long period of set up for the officials and judges. The reasons for such a delayed start were many, but most importantly, it was due to the fact there was a full moon, high tide and building swell last night that made setup the previous evening way too risky. Riders were on hand from 9am, but competition started a little after 12.
Was these really a bad thing though? Not necessarily, as the free surfing that went down during the morning was some of the best in years…
Once competition started, it was edging closer and closer to high tide, making the large swell crash dangerously close to shore. This didn’t stop riders from throwing caution to the wind and taking flight.
Local rider Goncalo Pinheiro was a clear standout of the day, winning both heats he entered and grabbing some of the highest heat score totals of the event too. Some deep barrels and large rollos off some impossible sections was the secret – he was one of the willing and will be dangerous in the all important quarter finals of the trials tomorrow.
Moroccan aerial enthusiast Brahim Iddouch progressed strongly through his heat, as did Brazil’s young world champion hopeful Socrates Santana, but the most impressive performance of the morning had to go to a true veteran of the sport – Nicolas Capdeville of France.
Capdeville has two sons who both compete on the Pro Junior World Tour (and who are forces to be reckoned with in their own right), but after his performance in Viana (he qualified to the main event) and his antics this morning, the question must be asked: are the Frenchman’s best competitive years behind him?
Capdeville was clinical in his Round 1 win over fellow Frenchman/Basqueman Maxime Ausina and Matthew Lombard of South Africa, putting together some solid waves to stay ahead. In his Round 2 match-up with Argentina’s Santiago Sanchez, Luis Carlos of Chile and another quasi-veteran of competitive bodyboarding Joshua Burguete-Kirkman of Australia, Capdeville was able to stay narrowly ahead, winning the heat by a very narrow margin, with Burguete-Kirkman close behind in second.
As the tide emptied out into the afternoon, the conditions improved, the barrels became hollower, and the ramps permitted landing sans sand. In fading light though it was decided to finish the day with the completion of Round 2, with the all important quarter finals taking place very early tomorrow morning.
After the completion of the quarter finals of the trials the Main Event for the Men’s will kick off, and with the opportunity very real fro Iain Campbell to take his first world title, and the chance for Pierre Louis Costes to upset him, the action should be incredible, AND livestreamed for your viewing pleasure.
Oh, and the swell should be cleaner and only slightly smaller than today (but by no means any less powerful).
Stay tuned to Facebook to catch all the live action.
Quarter Finals set for tomorrow: