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Watu Karung Comes to Life for Opening Day of Hello Pacitan Pro

Line Up The lineup for Watu Karung's lefthander option. WSL / Tim Hain

The Hello Pacitan Pro QS1,000 has kicked off today in pumping waves at Watu Karung in East Java. Indonesia's top surfers were joined by an international field to take on the intensely heavy barreling waves on both sides of the beautiful bay at Watu Karung.

With incredible waves on offer and an incoming tide, contest directors were able to utilize both the lefthander and righthander waves on either side of the bay throughout the day.

The event's No.1 seed Chris Zaffis made his way through Round Two after an intense battle in the opening heat of the Round. Zaffis trailed for the entire heat while his Indonesian rivals went blow for blow in the fast, hollow waves. Keeping his composure, Zaffis eventually found a solid set wave to post an excellent 8.00-point ride (out of a possible 10) to move into third. He then consolidated the top spot with a heat total of 13.25 (out of a possible 20).

Chris Zaffis on Day 1 of the Hello Pacitan Pro. Chris Zaffis on Day 1 of the Hello Pacitan Pro. WSL / Tim Hain

"I was nervous for most of the heat because I just could not pick off a decent wave," Zaffis said. "I knew with 10 minutes remaining that I'd need to work extremely hard to get through and fortunately that great wave came and I was able to find a way through. The Indonesian surfers are extremely hard to beat, they are very strong barrel riders and you need to be right on your game in these heats so I'm relieved to advance."

Balinese surf legend Wayan Merta had a stellar day surfing through Round One on the left and Round Two on the right. Merta's experience at Watu Karung was evident as he effortlessly threaded long barrels to lock himself a spot into Round Three.

Wayan Merta Wayan Merta looking comfortable on his backhand on day 1 of competiton. WSL / Tim Hain

"I'm so happy to make it through to Round 3," Merta said. "It is better for points and prize money. I love the waves here; both waves provide such perfect barrels. I think there is a massive advantage here for the Indonesian surfers who have had experience at this place. The forecast looks great for the rest of the event so I hope an Indonesian can take a win, maybe even me."

The opening day didn't come without drama however with Bali charger I Ketut Semadhi suffering serious cuts and lacerations after wiping out during a free surf. Semadhi was warming up when he fell on a set wave and was dragged across the razor-sharp reef at Watu Karung. He was carried from the water and tended to by the professional medical staff on site. The talented goofyfoot was in good condition by the start of competition but was forced to withdrawal from the event with a sore knee.

Wipeout An unknown competitor wipeouts out during Round One action. WSL / Tim Hain

After a huge day of action saw the completion of Round One and three heats of Round Two, contest directors will reconvene early tomorrow with the hope of recommencing Round Two. This should not be an issue as the forecast suggests great winds and swell should provide more epic conditions for day 2 of competition.

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