A Brazilian Storm blew through New Pier on the Durban beachfront on Thursday when 12 surfers from the biggest country in South America advanced to the last 64 of the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley in small wind affected waves that tested the ability of the world's best surfers.
The 12 qualifiers will join up with 14 of their compatriots who were seeded directly to the Round Four, giving the Brazilians a significant 26 surfers in Round 4 of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series QS3,000 rated men's event.
Marcos Correa delivered the day's highest single ride score, a 9.17, in his early morning Round of Two heat, and nobody else managed to breach the 9.00 mark throughout the day. With his backup ride of 6.83, the Brazilian's heat total of 16.00 was second only to that of Kilian Garland. The current WSL North America No. 3 strung together a pair of high eight point rides for a total of 17.50 that left his three opponents in a combination situation and needing to replace both their scores to claim victory.
South Africa's Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) produced an 8.67 while winning his Round Two heat and backed that up with another winning performance in the Round of Three to progress. There he will be up against former WSL elite Championship Tour (CT) member Davey Cathels, fellow Australian prodigy Jack Robinson and the flamboyant Costa Rican Carlos Munoz.
Salt Rock, South Africa's own Shane Sykes was the only other local to advance to the last 64 where he joins fellow South Africans Lightfoot, and Round Four seeded surfers Michael February and Beyrick De Vries -- along with wildcards Jordy Maree and Joshe Faulkner](/athletes/7248/joshe-faulkner) when the men's contest resumes on Saturday.
The first three heats of the JQS1,000 junior men's event were held at the end of the day and, just as he had done in his two men's event heats earlier, young Brazilian talent Mateus Herdy again advanced to the next round by using his trademark aerial maneuvers.
"It feels so amazing, it's such a good place. I did a couple of good heats and I'm pretty stoked to advance to the next round so I'm just taking it heat by heat, I'm focused and I want to keep it this way," said Herdy. "This morning I surfed at high tide and it was a little bit hard to find a good wave in the bowl. The conditions are hard but when a wave comes it's actually quite fun, you just have to stay focused and be ready for whatever changes happens out there in the ocean."
Experienced Brazilian campaigner Thiago Camarao also struggled with the conditions but managed to win his low scoring encounter with a pair of five point scores.
"It was really tough. The conditions are hard to surf and to decide which wave to catch," said Camarao. "And everyone is still ripping so you need to be ready for any kind of conditions. My board is feeling great. It's the same board I've been using for the past couple of events. It's great to advance this round and I'm going to keep this board for the next one! I'm still staying in SA for a month for events in Cape Town and Ballito."
"The waves are kind of difficult today, but my home break is a lot like this, so its fine" said Ohashi. "I don't know what happened with Jorgann, I just want to get to the next round, so first or second, it's okay. I love South Africa, I have so many South African friends. Dale Staples is one of my best friends and he helps me with everything over here."
Despite only having one counting score Couzinet still managed to advance to Round Four when his 7.17 single ride was 0.01 of a point better than Gustavo Ramos total of 7.16, giving the Frenchman second place.
Friday 16 June is Youth Day in South Africa and the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley will crown the junior men and junior women champions by the end of the day
An outreach program will be conducted by Surfing South Africa (SSA) on Sunday 18 June. Participants will be involved in beach activities, water coaching, a tag team contest, beach relays and all participants receive breakfast, lunch and a commemorative medal.
The Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing is proudly supported by Hurley, Tsogo Sun, Durban Tourism, Skullcandy, El Jimador, Yesman, California Dreaming, World Surf League, Surfing South Africa and Accelerate Sport.