- WSL / Damien Poullenot
- WSL / Damien Poullenot

The search for a magic board is a surf professional's never-ending quest. Although most CT surfers will receive more than 100 surfboards every year, of those, only a tiny percentage remain as keepers. Those keepers are often mothballed, with the surfers bringing them out for use only in competition.

Jeremy Flores of France advanced directly to Round Three after winning Heat 3 in Round One of the Oi Rio Pro at Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jeremy Flores with his trusty blade under the arm. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

Mind you, not many are mothballed for two years, which is what Jeremy Flores did for his heat win in the Oi Rio Pro. "It's the same board I rode in 2015 when I made the Final here," Flores said afterward, referring to his runner-up finish in the QS6000 Quiksilver Pro Saquarema. "And I haven't ridden it since. It's crazy."

Crazy or not, it was the use of trusted equipment that helped compose the fiery Frenchman. "I tend to lose control when I'm in a heat. I freak out, but in this heat I felt I was calm and it was a hard heat, with Owen and Leo, so I'm so stoked."

Kerr's heat-winner.
The Australian went from worst to first thanks to this ride during his Round One heat at the Oi Rio Pro.

Flores wasn't the only surfer to stumble on a magic board in an unorthodox place. Kanoa Igarashi's keeper had also been buried and its unearthing helped with his mindset and win today. "I'd been taking it all a bit too seriously, putting too much pressure on myself," he said after only his second heat win of the year. "After Bells I went home first, then had a great surf trip to Portugal and just enjoyed myself. Over there I found this board I'd left behind in the back of garage. First surf I liked it and so brought it to Brazil. It's worked."

Rookie Kanoa Igarashi of the USA advanced directly to Round Three after winning 11 of Round One of the Oi Rio Pro at Saquarema, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Kanoa lets it rip on his garage special. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

Josh Kerr was in a similar position too, even if he didn't have to rummage through continental lockups to find a magic stick. However a recent change in sponsor has seen him working with a range of new shapers, trying to nail his equipment. That takes time and the adjustment process has played a part of his horror start to the year, where he hadn't won a heat after three events. That is, until today, when he had the perfect board for the conditions.

"I just rode this board one time on the Gold Coast," Kerr said afterward. "It's a Timmy Patterson and was a bit heavier than the rest. So I put it on ice and waited for a place that was a bit wobbly and where I needed drive through the flat spots. It felt amazing and it's that little bit of magic that you need to make a difference."

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