Raging onshore winds, torrential rain, and a dropping swell created extremely tough conditions for Day Four of the GotchaIchinomiya Chiba Open - Men's powered by GoPro. Men's Round Three has been completed at Shida Point setting up what is bound to be an exciting final weekend of competition.
2015 World Champion and event No. 1 seed Adriano de Souza had to call on all of his champion qualities at Shida Point to produce outstanding scores and easily win his Round Three heat. De Souza opened the heat with an impressive 8.17 but later in the heat he unleashed on a clean wave to post the best wave of the event so far with a 9.57 score and a two wave combined heat score of 17.74 , the highest of the event so far.
"It's tough today for sure but we are all faced with the same conditions," de Souza said. "I went out chasing good scores and luckily the waves had improved from this morning so I was able to find some good sections. Apparently tomorrow the winds will swing offshore so we could have a great day I hope."
Local favorite and Japan's highest ranked surfer Hiroto Ohhara had the local crowd on edge from start to finish. Ohhara was in last place with 5 minutes remaining in the heat. Needing a solid score, Ohara got busy catching four waves in quick succession, posting a 7.60 and a 6.80 to move from 4th to 1st.
"I could not find a good wave through the heat but I remained calm and finally found the right waves to get the scores," Ohhara said. "In these conditions, five minutes is still a good time to get the scores so I was OK - It's good to win and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Event No. 2 seed Kanoa Igarashi also found it tough to find decent waves in his Round Three match-up suffering a shock exist at the mercy of Hawaiian Joshua Moniz. The local favorite came just short of progressing and will now set his sights on the upcoming Outerknown Fiji Pro early next month.
Former CT surfer Ricardo Christie was powerful in his high scoring heat win over South Africa's Slade Prestwich who also advanced in 2nd place. Japanese pair Hiroto Arai and Shun Murakami both progressed to join compatriot Ohhara in Round Four.