The Boardmasters, Cornwall resumed today in cleaner, two-foot surf under a bright Cornish sun and saw competitors from almost all divisions take part in this second day of competition.
Women QS athletes then took over proceedings with the opening two rounds of competition disputed in fun surf.
Today marked the return to competition of Claire Bevilacqua, a former Championship Tour competitor, who had put her professional surfing career on hold for the past few years. The talented western Australian opened her Boardmasters campaign in fantastic fashion with a solid win to advance into the next round.
"The conditions are really really fun I'm actually blown away by how good the waves are," she said.
"I turned pro when I was 16 and have been on the road since I was a kid so I just needed a break. I stayed at home for a few years, did some coaching and built a house. Now I'm just excited to travel again and have fun, there's no pressure, no sponsors stressing me out. It's been great."
Current European N°10 Ainara Aymat belted the day's highest single-wave score, an impressive 8.17 to advance into Round 3 in pole position. Fresh off a quarterfinals result in Portugal, the Basque surfer will look to build on her season tally and capitalize on the absence of some of the top regional surfers.
"I found it a little bit hard with the wind and small waves but still fun for my first visit to Newquay," she commented. "I got that great wave and got the chance to perform three turns so I'm happy with the excellent score."
In the afternoon, longboarders entered their final men's regional event of the season. While the European title was decided at the previous stop in Galicia, surfers went out just as motivated to conquer the coveted Boardmasters trophy.
Newquay waterman Ben Skinner left no chance to his opponents in his opening matchup on home turf, and controlled the heat from start to finish with authority. The former event winner edged out Emilien Fleury to advance into the quarters, where he'll be facing compatriot Adam Griffiths.
"I'm so stoked just to be at home, it's so nice after the three events and a lot of traveling," Skinner commented. "Boardmasters has a 31-year history of some amazing events, as I was a kid it's always something I looked up to so now to have the longboarders be part of it is amazing.
"I started surfing this event about eight years ago. I think and have won it a couple of times, so I'm definitely looking to add one event title to my resume this year."
"That's just a whole different feeling being at home and having my wife and kids, and all the support from everyone down here it's pretty special," he continued. "There's a lot going on for sure, but I love it, even the distractions."
Defending event champion Edouard Delpero bounced back after an early elimination in the QS division yesterday with a solid win in the over 9-foot board category. The young Frenchman found a better rhythm and negotiated the flat sections perfectly to post an impressive 14.74 heat total for his quarterfinal ticket.
"It's complicated out there and you really have to be active, scouring the lineup to find the little ones that reform and offer a longer wall," he reflected. "Unfortunately yesterday I couldn't find the right waves, but today it was a little bit easier on a longboard and I managed to do ok.
"This event is awesome, very different from what we're used to and a nice little escape in the summer. I hope I can continue to surf well and maybe even beat my brother for once if we do surf against each other later in the event."
Said brother, Antoine Delpero, rounded out the day with an uncharacteristically average performance, but enough to see him move into the quarters as well, where he'll match up with local Brit Sam Bleakley (GBR).
Tonight again when the surfing action winds down, Fistral will see another crowd invade the festival's village for a night of musical entertainment. The night will start with former CT surfer Lee Ann Curren and her band Betty the Shark, and culminating with the performance of Sunset Sons at the Beach Sessions. More information on the full festival lineup is available at boardmasters.co.uk.
Women QS and longboard athletes will come back for an 8:30 a.m. Call on Friday while longboarder men have a 12 p.m. call and QS men will be off for the day.