A full day of competition took place on Wednesday as Round 1of the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival was completed in rippable, albeit windy conditions at Praia da Tiririca in Itacaré, Bahia. The World Surf League QS 6000 event began with pristine tropical conditions and glassy blue waves in the 3-foot range (1 meter), but as the day progressed, conditions gradually decreased as the winds picked up, leaving the line-up choppy and inconsistent.
Paulo Moura (BRA), former Championship Tour surfer, started the day off strong after he scored an 8.83 on tweaked out turns on the righthanders at Praia da Tiririca for the highest single wave score at the event in Bahia. Moura quickly followed with a 6.43 (15.26 total) to advance in 1st place alongside Jean da Silva (BRA), with a 12.13 heat total.
"I was lucky enough to catch a good one right at the beginning of the heat. I held my rail and did three big strong turns, just like the judges want. Especially my first one," said Moura. "The waves were very surfable, but very much like this region in Brazil, with warm water and a lot of wind. I love competing in these types of conditions. I hope I can keep showing what I can do with my surfing in the next rounds."
In Heat 17 of Round 1, Kyrstian Kymerson (BRA), who is known for his air game, took advantage of the strong sideshore winds as he displayed his aerial prowess to obtain an 8.73 followed by a 7.50 (16.23), the highest heat total of the contest so far.
"I'm stoked that I made the heat, and I'm also happy that the wind made it easier to launch airs," said Kymerson. "I found two good waves, but I felt kind of nervous because it was my first heat of the event. I won my first QS event here, so I feel like I can always get a good result in Bahia. Besides my win in 2012, I've also gotten to the Semis and the Quarters, so I hope I can do just as well this year.
As the international field of 144 surfers decreased during the day's competition, only one Australian athlete, Michael Wright (sibling of current CT surfers Owen and Tyler), was able to move through to Round 2.
"I'm stoked that I got through, but I'm a little bit bummed that my fellow Aussies didn't get to advance because we're all going for each other," said Wright.
When asked about his heat, Wright said:
"It was good. It was pretty slow out there, but there were some fun ones still coming through," observed Wright. "With the high tide I wasn't sure about where to sit, but I ended up sticking to the lefts and I found one with a big ramp, so I was kind of frothing. Conditions were changing so I knew I had to go big to get a good score."
Other nations with only one representative also did well as Marco Giorgi (URY) from Uruguay, Oney Anwar (IDN) from Indonesia and Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) from Morocco all advanced into Round 2 at the 2015 Mahalo Surf Eco Festival.
Boukhiam came Runner-Up to Gabriel Medina (BRA) at the 2013 WSL World Junior Championships held at Praia da Joaquina in Florianopolis, Brazil. During his first trip to Itacaré, Boukhiam had this to say:
"There are great waves, but the wind is messing up the rights. It's hard to build up speed," said the Moroccan. "I did my best to catch the best two waves in my heat, so I'm happy that I advanced. This is my first time here and I really like it. It's beautiful, it's warm and we can compete in boardshorts…so it's perfect for me."
After two days only dedicated to Round 1 of the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival QS 6000, the Top Seeds will see action as competition recommences on Thursday. The talent level will take another step up as several Championship Tour competitors are scheduled to compete, such as: Jadson Andre (BRA), and Ricardo Christie (NZL).
Heat 1 of Round 2 will see Franklin Serpa (BRA), Iago Silva (BRA), Bruno Galini (BRA) and Kiron Jabour (HAW) face up in the first heat of the day.