The Boardmasters, Cornwall, launched today in wind-affected two-foot surf at North Fistral with the opening two rounds and first four heats of Round 3 of the men's QS division completed while the women and longboard divisions were called off for the day.
Angelo Bonomelli was the form surfer of this opening day of competition in Newquay, with two dominant wins and the highest scores and totals seen so far in the event. The Italian, who has been a little competition-shy in recent years and is only participating in his first WSL event this season, definitely came out swinging and will look to build on his momentum when the event resumes.
"I haven't had a main sponsor for a while and traveling to all the events is pricy so I've been staying in Costa Rica lately doing local comps there mainly," he explained. "I'm going to do this coming leg though and look forward to compete again in France, Spain and Morocco maybe. Last year I came to surf here at Boardmasters and got injured right after the event unfortunately, which ended my season. This time I'm feeling much better, I've trained a lot and am confident to do well."
Japan's Daiki Tanaka came a close second for the day's highest single-wave score, a near-excellent 7.83 for a combination of good, powerful hacks on a little Fistral runner. In his first season traveling outside his Asian region, Tanaka looked relaxed and stoked to perform in a foreign environment.
"I got a couple good waves it wasn't too bad and I'm super happy to get a good start in that event," Tanaka stated. "This is my first time visiting England and competing outside of Japan, I'll head to France after here and I'm exciting to see all these different places. I'm traveling with a good crew of Japanese guys and staying with my dad in a house nearby so I'm having a great time."
Portuguese young up-and-comers Luis Perloiro and Tomas Fernandes also had a good start to their Cornish campaign, making it to the fourth round with solid heat results. The pair will look to confirm their good form in the last four-man matchups in Round 4 before the event moves to the all-exciting man-on-man format.
"I was expecting to surf more lefts as they seemed much better when I looked before my heat but surprisingly I got my two best scores on the rights, as soon as I paddled out I saw three roll through and positioned myself for them," Perloiro said. "I'm doing all the junior events and small QS so there are a lot of events at the moment in Europe and it's great to gain experience and try to get a few points."
"I couldn't be happier to have such a good start cause conditions were definitely not easy so to find a few decent waves and surf them well is a great way to start," Fernandes added. "I was here six years ago for the King of the Groms and I'm happy to be back, it's a cool place, a little cold for me but I'm having fun."
Local pro surfer Luke Dillon is one of five British surfers to survive the first day of competition at Fistral and will try to fly the red and white English flag all-the-way into the finals when competition is called back on. The talented and powerful regular-footer, who is currently in his best season amongst the Qualifying Series crowd, belted a couple of solid results early in 2016 internationally and will represent the host country's strongest chance of a title this week.
"I'm really glad the Boardmasters is back to be a QS again this is great for all the British surfers to see what the QS level is and for me cause I live just on the other side of the beach and I've been surfing here since I was like seven years old," he commented. "I got a few good results in Australia and Europe and am super motivated to keep getting results and building on my rankings. It's looking like we're going to get good waves towards the weekend and good weather so I look forward to compete again and make a few more heats. I've got a lot of friends here who go and enjoy the music festival as well, but I'll try to be serious, watch some of the acts and still go to bed early to stay in good form in this event."
As the surfing event wrapped up, the music took central stage to launch the festival with 3-time surfing World Champion Tom Curren playing tonight at the Beach Sessions on Fistral beach. More information on the full festival lineup is available at boardmasters.co.uk.
Organizers will reconvene Thursday at 7:30AM for a men and women's QS Call while the longboarders will know their fate at 12PM when officials decide if they'll launch their Boardmasters campaign on Day 2 of the event's waiting period.