NewsSeat Pro Netanya pres by ReefStev Levine

The 2018 Qualifying Series Is Already Underway in Israel

Highlights: Opening Day Fun in Netanya
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Yoni Klein leads Israeli crew on opening day of action at the SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by REEF.

On the third day of the Seat Pro Netanya pres by Reef's event window, surfers woke up to clean, 2 - 3-foot sets and light, offshore winds. Massive crowds were drawn to the beach as a beautiful Saturday unfolded in the Israeli sun.

Line-up and crowd at Kontiki Beach. Seat Pro Netanya 2018 Enthusiastic fans gather at the water's edge to witness the action up close. WSL / Laurent Masurel

Plenty of action went down right from the get-go and Wesley Leite opened the first heat with a show. The Brazilian from São Paulo took the lineup by storm, mixing airs and backhand turns for an impressive 14.74 heat total.

"It's my first time here in Israel and it's a beautiful place," he said. "I had a fun heat and found two good waves, a left and a right, so I had fun."

Though the biggest numbers were dropped by none other than Frenchman Marc Lacomare. Remember the guy who beat Julian Wilson and Jordy Smith at his home break in France last fall? Yep, that guy. Marc is considered one of the most powerful surfers on the QS and it showed, even in waist-high stuff. He put a 9 on his scoreboard for the day's highest total.

Marc Lacomare (FRA) .Seat Pro Netanya 2018 Marc pushes his fins deep and sprays the lineup. WSL / Laurent Masurel

"I'm stoked to be here, it's been super cool and I had no idea what to expect coming here," he said. "We used the first two days to roam around and train a little bit to stay energized. The waves were pretty fun when they came, I was on a new epoxy board and it went very well so I'm happy with that start."

We told you crowds were huge on this first day of action, well, Yoni Klein was probably the main reason why everyone stayed at the beach all day. The local surfer gave everyone great pride when he won his Round One heat.

"I'm stoked that I could get a few waves, not fall too much and make the crowds happy!," Yoni reflected. "Conditions are absolutely perfect, everything aligned for this day to be epic: the waves are beautiful, not too big but not too small either, it's sunny and warm so everyone's stoked. This event getting bigger meant more of my friends came to compete and I'm super happy to see some faces I haven't seen for so long."

And as a good ambassador for the sport in Israel, Yoni plans on showing more of his favorite go-to spots to the competitors when the predicted swell starts to pound the shores of Netanya.

"There's going to be good waves next week so hopefully we can bring some of the competitors and show them around some of our other good breaks," he continued. "As for the event, in the Israeli team my money's on Adi Gluska. He's my mentor and I think even at 80 years old, he'll still be ripping, he's such a machine! We also have a young kid coming up, Tal Asayag, and I'm sure he can do well too."

Luke Dillon and Matthew McGillivray round up the top five surfers of the day, with big numbers and a first place into Round Two.

Luke Dillon (GBR) .Seat Pro Netanya 2018 Luke exploits a clean left for one his best two scores. WSL / Laurent Masurel

"I was speaking to Kelly Norris and he told me the event was super fun last year, then it was upgraded to a QS 3,000 and it was a no-brainer to come here," Luke explained. "Conditions reminded me of a small day in France, it's got a little more power that you'd expect in the Mediterranean. The sun's out and there's loads of people on the beach so it's been fun!"

"This is a good contest to start the year with," Matthew added. "I've seen the highlights from the past two years so I didn't hesitate, especially now that it offers 3,000 points. The swell picked up since this morning and there were some really fun sets, it helps relax when you get that first heat out of the way with a win."

Event officials called competition off for the day after 10 heats and will reconvene at 8:30 a.m Sunday morning.

Check out all the photos, videos and updates from the Seat Pro Netanya pres by Reef right here.

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