The sun finally came out over Galicia and gave Day 3 of the Pull&Bear Pantin Classic Galicia Pro a completely different face. People showed up in big numbers to watch some of the best QS surfers on the planet battle it out in good, four-to-five foot surf.
Tension rose up a notch during men's Round Three, where the last four-man heats were completed this afternoon. A few surfers competed twice to earn a precious spot in the fourth round.
In one of the most exciting heats of the afternoon, Weslley Dantas launched a big alley-oop for a 9.27 and an early lead. Tomas Hermes answered with solid rail surfing and two 7+ rides to steal the lead from the Brazilian. Jorgann Couzinet was all but in the winning discussion in that heat until a last-second effort worth 8.50, relegating Tomas in second, and more importantly eliminating Weslley with the heat's highest score.
"It was a bit crazy out there, I'm just stoked I found those good lefts and especially that last one," he said. "Hearing Weslley and Thomas' scores I knew I needed something big and I really focused everything on trying not to fall on that second turn. I'm trying to surf my best in each heat and trying to forget all the qualification discussions because I've gotten ahead of myself in the past."
Championship Tour veteran Josh Kerr put on an aerial clinic on the Pantin lefts this afternoon and landed the biggest and most technical air we've seen all event for a near-perfect 9.93. The difference between a good air and a great air is subtle, and this time it was a tweak in the grab that made half the judges panel drop the perfect score.
"In my mind as I was going into it I thought it'd be sick to do a backside indie, I haven't pulled one of them for a while especially with good height like that one," he said. "I'm having a really bad year on Tour so I've come here for the first time in over 10 years, just trying to cover all my bases and see where it leaves me at the end of the year."
As competition heads toward the three-man and man-on-man heats, upsets get more common and today delivered a number of shocking results. Among them were the eliminations of Leonardo Fioravanti, Patrick and Tanner Gudauskas, Alejo Muniz, Ian Gouveia, Willian Cardoso and Ethan Ewing, just to name a few.
The defending event champ in Pantin, Kanoa Igarashi wrapped the last heat of the day with a second win to keep his chances of back-to-back titles alive. Earlier in the day, Kanoa claimed the event's overall best heat total of 18.20.
"I won here last year and had a really good time," he said. "The fans are really behind me and I appreciate that, it's what really drives us and gives us that extra 10 percent of energy when you need it."
Competition will resume Friday morning early with an 8 a.m call for the men's Round Four, and a 10:30 a.m call for the women's Round Two.
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