NewsSeat Pro Netanya pres by ReefMiguel Pupo

Miguel Pupo Sets the Pace in Israel

Highlights: Round One Completed in Israel
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Miguel Pupo ices the top spot in Round One at the QS 3000 SEAT Pro Netanya.

It was a short day of action at the Seat Pro Netanya pres by Reef, with only four heats in the cards and blown-out, three-foot surf. The building swell came alongside a strong southwest wind and provided a few sections for the remaining 14 surfers in Round One.

Brazilian star Miguel Pupo launched his Israel campaign with a great first heat, nailing two 8+ waves on long left-handers. Miguel tore apart the shoulder-high bumpy rides with his signature fast surfing to post an impressive 17.40 heat total and easily move into Round Two.

Miguel Pupo (BRA) .Seat Pro Netanya 2018. Pupo says he dropped a few pounds of holiday weight before coming to Israel. He looked light on his feet, too. WSL / Laurent Masurel

"Waves were fun, definitely bigger than the last few days and I'm excited to be here and competing in this new season!," Miguel said. "Pipe finished late so I only really had like five days of holidays but it was nice. I started training on January 1st, in Brazil we like to eat a lot during the holidays so I had my work cut out for me in trying to lose a few pounds before coming here!"

On the other end of the spectrum, we discovered an Israeli surfer by the name of Tal Asayag, completely unknown to most, but who surfed with the excitement of a junior but the technique of a mature, seasoned competitor.

Tal Asayag (ISR) .Seat Pro Netanya 2018. Tal sets his fins free for his spot into Round Two. WSL / Laurent Masurel

Granted he surfed 13 waves and threw away his first priority for nothing a bunch of times, but when he stood up on a good wave, he sure made it worthwhile. He posted a 6.83 for a forehand rotation and a little carve and showed potential for bigger and better things, so we'll keep an eye out for him in Round Two.

"I was really excited but a little nervous to be with such high-level surfers in the water," Tal said. "Basically my strategy was to look at what the other guys were doing and trying to do the same. I want to go as far as possible in this event, and hopefully finish the highest ranked Israeli surfer."

The last two heats were pretty much all-Israelis and featured one of the youngest competitors in the field, 15-year-old Amir Rafaeli, who brilliantly the final heat of the day.

Amir Rafaeli (ISR) .Seat Pro Netanya 2018. 15-year-old local Amir Rafaeli, the youngest surfer in the event, played it smart and earned a first-ever QS heat win in Round One. WSL / Laurent Masurel

Conditions should improve Monday, so event officials will reassess at 7:30 a.m for a potential big day of surfing in Netanya.

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

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