It's been a fairly poor Spring leg in Europe so far, the last two events have been plagued with minimal surf and the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Oakley started similarly with a lay day yesterday.
Conditions weren't epic, but the swell did show up and built throughout the day to bring us exciting heats and a few excellent scores. Here are a few highlights you may have missed.
Big Wave Star Turning to Mushy Small Surf Becomes a Trend
We've been over this scenario a few times already with Justine Dupont.
This time it's Nic von Rupp, who spends the majority of his time chasing monster swells in exotic locations, but recently came out of competitive retirement to battle it out in Santa Cruz.
Good news, he doesn't seem to have lost any of his competitive fire, or talent for that matter, and clearly showed that he intends to make as many heats as he can.
"I've had an awesome year of personal growth, feeling more and more comfortable surfing huge waves and improving my surfing," he reflected. "But I love competing too, always have and always will. This was a great opportunity to surf a WSL event right out my doorstep and I'm super happy to see all my friends again here. When I'm competing, same as usual, I'm here to win!"
Deja Vu Early Heroes
Charly Quivront, early rounds, again. Charly is really good at starting off strong. Today he continued to show signs of brilliance despite the tricky conditions.
He built on a decent first heat and posted a solid Round Two result. If he can keep his momentum going, we predict a bright result for him in Portugal.
"I surfed the same bank twice today and had fun out there," he said. "I'm not putting too much pressure on myself, I'm out there to have fun and surf well and hopefully that's enough to make heats. "
Smart Gameplan or Opportunism?
Kaito Ohashi surfed a four-man heat, yet somehow spent 25 minutes on his own, surfing seven waves, including four above the 6-point mark. A feat neither current World No.27 Joan Duru or former CT competitor Marlon Lipke can quite claim in that heat.
Kaito simply looked down the beach at a fun lefthand bank and went to town on it, posting the biggest upset of the day in eliminating Joan.
"I thought that peak was a little bit more powerful and allowed for two really good turn sections," Kaito said. "I really just wanted to have fun in this heat, Joan and Marlon are so good I figured I should enjoy surfing against them and it worked out great. I love being here in Europe, and this event is a great training for the QS6,000 at home in Japan soon."
Into the Wind
Exciting heats yes,. Exciting maneuvers, less so. That was until Jordy Collins launched into a wild forehand rotation on a foamy left and landed it right in the shore break. That move alone got the judges excited as they rewarded him an 8.67 for a single move.
"I went for a free surf before the heat and felt like I had a game plan, but then I got out there and it felt like conditions were all over the place," he analyzed. "I was rushing and fell on some good ones, and didn't really have a score until that 8, after that I felt pretty solid. The shore break is always a funny finish as you get washed around with the sand in your hair, it makes for good laughs."
Thursday may bring a little offshore spice to the party and with the swell still building overnight, conditions could be great for Day 3 of the event, starting with the call at 7 a.m.
Find out who has it to win the Santa Cruz Pro from April 25-30, and check out all the content here.