Praia de Santa Bárbara, Sao Miguel - Azores Islands (Tuesday, September 3, 2013) - The pristine Santa Bárbara beach of Sao Miguel island delivered clean 2-3Ft surf for the first day of the waiting period at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro. Surfers took on the black-sanded beachbreaks to deliver World-Class action for the summer crowds enjoying a perfect day at the beach.
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18, dominated his first round bout this afternoon on the lower tide. The young Brazilian reknown for his extensive aerial repertoire built momentum throughout the 30mn exchange to culminate with the first perfect 10 of the event. With an excellent backup score of an 8.33, Toledo takes top honors on this opening day of competition.
"It was super exciting ! I was waiting for the big sets to express my surfing and what I love to do," Toledo stated. "I was paddling back out when I heard everyone whistle for that set, I started on the left, did a couple good turns and finished with a big air. I'm thankful for that 10 point wave, now I'm feeling comfortable and excited for the next round !"
Evan Geiselman (USA) 20, talented Floridian coming off an excellent 5th place in Virginia Beach, netted one of the top scores of the first round, an excellent 9.00 point ride for his smooth but radical rail surfing on the small shoulders on offer. Perfectly in tune with the conditions, Geiselman advanced ahead of current Top34 resident Alejo Muniz (BRA).
"I'm from Florida, I grew up surfing this kind of waves everyday so I'm really familiar with the conditions and I'm really happy to be in Azores. I wish we could get some swell this place is absolutely amazing, the last few years I've been here it's been fun, so yeah I'm happy to be back and if it's just like now I hope I can keep being in rythmn. I have a good board, it's a Matt Biolos Mayhem, pretty old but it's working really good."
Brett Simpson (USA) 28, World No.32 and two-times winner of the US Open of Surfing, managed to get himself out of a tricky situation in the first heat of the day, finding an excellent wave in the dying moments to score an 8.63 and move onto the second round.
"I started with a 5 and a 4.6 and I felt like that's ok, I just wanted to have a quik start," Simpson said. "Then I heard Nate got a 6 and Perth got like an 8, so my theory didn't pan out that great ! With 6mn to go I kind of counted myself out, but I was able to sneak down a little bit and I got the next left which was an 8.6. I knew they were out there, I just needed to find the right wave."
Jadson Andre (BRA) 23, former World Championship Tour surfer back in the qualifying events, suffered the same kind of "come-from-behind" scenario when he was left chasing a high score in the last minutes of the heat. He then started on a nice running righthander on which he performed three powerful backside gauges to collect a 9 point and take the win.
"I was a bit nervous cause I couldn't find any of the waves I'd seen in the previous heat and I fell a couple of times," Andre said. "I re-focused a little bit, and tried to build scores, and finally I found that nice right in the end. I knew this was a real tough heat with Messias, winner last year, Patrick who's a tough competitor and Adrien who surfs really well too so I'm frothing to make that first one."
Steven Pierson (PYF) 29, winner of the previous European stop in Pantin and ASP wildcard into the event, started his Azorean campaign with a solid showing advancing into the next round ahead of Brazil's Jesse Mendes and Californian Tanner Gudauskas. Having built confidence all through last week in Galicia, the Tahitian attacked the little lefts on offer at Praia de Santa Barbara with his strong backside turns.
"I saw some good little lefts before my heat, so I tried to get a couple scores early on," Pierson explained. "Then I moved to the main peak to try and keep the other guys off the best waves. After the win in Pantin, I feel great but it's not easy to shake things off and get back into the rythmn so I'm really stoked to get that first heat out of the way."
Organizers and surfers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am at Praia de Santa Barbara to assess conditions and announce the second day's schedule.
The ASP Prime Men's SATA Airlines Azores Islands Pro is scheduled from September 3-8, 2013 in Sao Miguel, Azores Islands. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to aspeurope.com/azores2013.
SATA Airlines Azores Pro presented by Sumol 2013 is organized by DAAZ Events and Atlantic Action Sports Association, with the support of the following event partners: SATA Airlines, Azores Tourism, Ribeira Grande City Hall, Sumol, MOCHE, MEO, Vip Executive AÃ§ores Hotel, FUEL TV, RFM, RTP, Jornal i, Surf Total, Surf Portugal, ONFIRE, Beachcam and Puro Feeling.