Despite a slight drop in swell (2-3 feet), competition steamed ahead as Round 2 was completed on Thursday at the 2015 Red Nose Pro Florianopolis SC presented by Costao do Santinho. Wave selection was key throughout the day, but a mix of luck and perseverance also helped to determine which athletes moved ahead at the World Surf League Men's QS 6000 event at Praia do Santinho, on Santa Catarina Island.
Several athletes had standout performances as the day progressed. In Heat 23 of Round 2, Cory Arrambide (USA) looked light on his feet as he earned a 16.40 (7.67 + 8.73) for the best total of the day in what seemed like a wave-starved heat. Despite being known for his accomplishments in larger waves, Noe Mar McGonagle from Costa Rica also looked at ease and advanced in 2nd place.
Former Championship Tour athlete, Heitor Alves (BRA) left little doubt in regards to his current skill level after getting a 9.70 (out of 10 points) for consecutive backside blasts on a righthander in Heat 19 of Round 2. Alves guaranteed entry into Round 3 after adding a 5.93 for a total score of 15.63.
"I was focused on catching the rights beside the contest site, so I just had to wait for the good sets to come in. I had priority and I didn't miss my opportunity," said Alves. "It's always a confidence booster to win a heat, and that's exactly what I needed. I'm at a new stage in my career and I don't have a sponsor, so there was added pressure to do well here. Now I'm ready for another one."
In Heat 16, last year's Santa Catarina Event Winner, Michael Rodrigues (BRA), looked right at home as he began his campaign in defense of his title with an impressive first step. Evidence of Rodrigues' solid air-game was confirmed as he repeatedly launched huge reverses into the flats. After getting a 7.00 on his first attempt, the young Brazilian dazzled the judges by heaving a massive 360 reverse for an 8.50.
"I've been feeling really anxious these last few days. I just got some new boards and I really wanted to get started in the contest," said Rodrigues, who currently lives in Florianopolis. "We travel around the world all year long and it's easy to get kind of homesick. So competing here with all my friends and family around is very important to me. My Mom flew across the country, so I'm pleased that she could be here to see me win my first heat."
Rodrigues currently sits in 14th place on the QS standings and will need a Semifinal finish of he wants to climb into the Top-10.
"I'm not really thinking about that right now," continued Rodrigues. "I just want to have fun and enjoy competing at home. I believe that every result is a consequence of the work you put in. I've been working hard, but I don't get stressed about qualifying for the CT. What will be, will be."
Stu Kennedy (AUS) is four places behind Rodrigues on the QS in 18th place. Kennedy also needs a Semifinal finish to climb into the qualification zone. Kennedy kept his chances alive as he advanced into Round 3 alongside Lucas Silveira (BRA) in Heat 17.
Veteran QS surfer Joan Duru (FRA) has been knocking on the door to the CT for several years and looked confident in his performance in Heat 24. Duru scored two 7.93 rides for a solid heat total of 15.86.
"It was good out there. A little bit small, but I was lucky to find some good waves," Duru said. "I had been waiting for a couple of days for my heat and the waves were really good, so I'm happy to get in the water and get through to the next round. I need to get some good results to make it into the Top-10, so right now I'm only focused on competing in the 3 events in Brazil."
Ryan Callinan (AUS) and Maxime Huscenot (FRA), in 10th and 12th respectively on the QS were both eliminated from the Red Nose Pro on Thursday and might take a fall in the standings before competition is finished.
The quest for qualification continues on Friday at the 2015 WSL Men's QS 6000 Red Nose Pro Florianopolis SC presented by Costao do Santinho. Round 3 kicks off with a full international affair: Caetano Vargas (BRA), Nomme Mignot (FRA), Connor O'Leary (AUS) and Kanoa Igarashi (USA) in Heat 1.
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