Waves continued to pump on Day Four of the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Oakley and for once the wind played nice and switched offshore. Conditions were all-time and allowed for three full rounds to be run in head-high, perfect left and right peaks at praia da vigia.
Currently fifth on the Qualifying Series, Hiroto already has a keeper result with a third in the Australian Open of Surfing and will look to add another 3,000 points when the finals are called on.
"Today was super fun, I got some excellent waves and I'm stoked to be in the semis," he said. "I didn't get a result last year so I'm happy with my start of 2017. Martinique and Barbados weren't great events for me, but I'm really focused on trying to qualify this year and hopefully I can get some good points here. Seeing Kanoa, Leo and Ethan all on tour really makes me want to make the CT now."
Marco was smart enough to see the potential of a good score on a wave under Kanoa's priority and capitalized on that move later on when he picked up a bomb with priority. Despite Kanoa's last-second effort, the Uruguayan stayed in the hot seat and eventually walked away with the win.
"I had a terrible time in Australia, trying to compete under the pressure of self-financing my campaign since I lost my sponsor last year, and I was also trying to manage a little injury," Marco said. "I'm feeling better now and I'm in a better mental place, trying to have as much fun as I can competing. Kanoa beat me the last time we surfed against each other and I knew it was going to be really tough so I'm happy to get him this time."
Frederico Morais had a very strange heat against up-and-coming talent Yago Dora in the quarters. The usually high-flying Brazilian stayed very quiet for an incredible 24 minutes and despite clinching the highest score of the heat in the last minute, was never a real danger for Frederico.
On the other hand, Kikas slowly built house in a wave-starved heat and made the best of all four opportunities he got in the lineup. The trademark forehand swooping carves of the Portuguese got everyone excited in the previous round where he nailed a 9.43 and 8.13.
"The tide was coming in real fast and it was very slow out there," Frederico explained. "I knew going up against Yago was a dangerous heat and luckily I had some decent scores already when he got that big one at the end. Hopefully I won't be needing the QS to re-qualify at the end of the year, but at the same time, all the points I can get are valuable now."
Thiago Camarao managed to defeat one of the top form surfers in Santa Cruz, Marc Lacomare, in the last quarterfinal. At first, Thiago stayed as far as possible from Marc in hopes of catching some good waves on his own, which worked great as he belted two 8+ rides early on.
Then as you probably guessed, Thiago became a lot friendlier towards the Frenchman, and sat on him for the remainder of the heat, trying to prevent him from having anything of real potential, which eventually worked just as planned.
"I feel a little bit tired, I've been surfing since the first round and now into the semis," Thiago said. "But at the same time I'm super confident, I've just won the last two events I entered so I'm really focused, well trained and I want to win once more!"
Surfers and event officials will be back at praia da vigia Saturday at 10 a.m for a potential finals day.
Find out who has it to claim the Santa Cruz Pro from April 25-30, and check out all the content here.