The Women's Qualification Series (QS) began its Copa El Salvador Impresionante presented by Body Glove QS6000 event in beautiful conditions at La Libertad. Marking the sixth stop on tour, the women were excited to paddle out at a righthand point break that was offering plenty for them to pick apart in front of pleased spectators. Round 1 was able to finish in its entirety despite the dropping tide, and the top seeds will make their first appearances tomorrow morning.
Posting Round 1's highest heat total and single-scoring wave in the last heat of the day, Stephanie Single (AUS) dropped a near-perfect 9.43 (out of a possible 10) and 16.26 (out of a possible 20) total to combo the field for her win. The Australian was firing on all cylinders, picking apart the righthanded point of La Libertad on her forehand.
"I sat watching it for awhile and noticed the girls sitting on the inside weren't getting the biggest scores," Single said. "I decided to sit out the back and come inside if I needed which paid off. I found one that went all the way through for the 9.00 -- I was so stoked on it."
With a big day tomorrow, Single will take on fellow Aussies Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Holly Wawn (AUS) in Heat 12 of Round 2. The young gun is looking poised and confident with the equipment under her feet -- though making the entry into the break look easier than it is.
"I really like this board and have some smaller fins on so I don't get stuck on the top with the wind bumps," Single said. "I'm excited with those scores going into tomorrow. I'm just having a lot of fun and hoping it lines up a bit more tomorrow but should be great. The rock jump is so hard with the rocks being so slippery but it's all in good fun."
Dax McGill (HAW) put together a massive heat total with a 15.10 halfway through Round 1 in the three-to-five southwest swell coming to the cobblestone point of La Libertad. It was McGill's first time surfing the right-hander and the Hawaiian was loving every minute of it.
"There's nothing else like it," McGill said. "This was my first time surfing this wave and it's just perfect. I was out there with one of my best friends and we were just laughing about how great it was. It's so fun out there"
She now has Championship Tour (CT) powerhouse Silvana Lima (BRA) and McGill couldn't have had a better start despite overcoming an injury. Coming back full strength just in time for this event, the 17-year-old was back in contest form and showed that her time out of the water did not take away her competitive edge, dropping an 8.17 in Heat 5.
"It feels so good to be back in the water," McGill said. "This is one my first contests back in about three and a half months so I'm happy just to be able to do turns and have fun again. The water's warm and I'm feeling great down here."
No stranger to the warm water, Dominic Barona (ECU), put on an impressive showcase in Round 1, dropping an excellent 8.44. The Ecuadorian needs a big result here in El Salvador, sitting in the 39th position on the QS, and she has prepared for this contest well in advance.
"I'm so stoked to be here," Barona said. "It feels like I'm at home and I'm really enjoying my time surfing this wave. I've been training really hard to adjust to this rock bottom and having a lot of fun in it."
Watch LIVE here Friday starting at 7:30 a.m. local time for the next call and more action from El Salvador.