The inaugural Longboard Pro Gaia launched today in wind-affected, two-to-three foot surf at the North end of Praia de Canide. Surfers discovered this new spot, which offered an A-frame type of peak with a long left and a shorter right in front of a rocky shelf.
Augusto Olinto (BRA), 29, dominated the day's proceedings with an incredible display of traditional longboarding skills despite the bumpy conditions. The Brazilian navigated multiple sections hanging five and even ten toes out the nose of his board, often replacing himself in the right section of the wave with a stylish drop knee cutback.
"Conditions were pretty tough but there were definitely some fun ones in the mix, some waves are really long and with a perfect section for the nose all the way into the beach," he stated. "It's my first time here in Portugal and it's amazing to be speaking the same language. I have a lot of support from Lufi the shaper here, some sponsors from Ubatuba as well as Ricardo Toledo, who's coaching me, so I'm very happy."
Ben Skinner (GBR), 31, powered through his morning bout as well, scoring an excellent 8.33 out of 10, one of the day's highest scoring rides. Fresh off a good third-place result in Vieux-Boucau last week, the British surfer is excited to get this second event of the season going and looking to go even further.
"Sun's out, there's plenty of waves for everyone so it's fun," he said. "I always love coming to Portugal, it's one of my favorite places in the world. Last year we had a contest here in Gaia and I came away with a win, so I'm happy to be back ! Looking at the forecast we should have some fun, clean conditions for the next two days and I'm excited."
Reunion Island's Martin Coret (REU), 20, belted one the strongest scores of the opening round as well, an impressive 8.67 to advance into the second round in first position. The light, young surfer applied his stylish brand of surfing to the cleaner peaks on the outgoing tide and will be a force to be reckoned with when the event resumes.
The strong onshore winds on this opening day of the event's waiting period put a halt to competition following the completion of the men's first round. Competitors and event officials will reconvene Saturday at 11 a.m. to reassess conditions and decide of the day's schedule.