Round Two is where things get serious (read: and messy!), the top-seeded surfers enter the draw and from there points and prize money go up much faster. The Seat Pro Netanya pres by Reef completed that round today, as well as four heats of the next, and logically bigger numbers dropped. Oh, and so did names.
Kei Kobayashi stole the show with an incredible first heat early this morning, and a near-perfect wave of 9.93 for two forehand rotators. The San Clemente kid charged into Round Three where he confirmed with another big win.
"I've been working a lot and watching clips of myself trying to figure out what I need to do in those QS events," he said. "The past couple of days I haven't been surfing very well and it sort got into my head, but finally this morning in the free surf I did a couple good airs and it put me right back in the mood. My friend Griffin (Colapinto) qualified last year and I really want to do the same this year for my second full season on the QS, it was really inspiring."
And just like that we lost one of the big names in the comp. France's Marc Lacomare couldn't quite match Kei's flair, and Miguel Blanco got the better of their exchanges to sneak into second and eliminate Marc.
Miguel Pupo tied with Kei for the day's highest heat total of 18.00, and made sure no one forgot he's right up there aiming for the win. In his heat though, maybe more interesting was the battle for second place once again.
European rising talent Andy Criere fought hard to fend off amateur World Champion Jhonny Corzo and perennial threat Eduardo Fernandes . The three surfers had scoreboards that would have won them most other heats today, but ultimately it was Andy who came out on top for a spot into Round Three.
"I worked a lot this past winter, preparing for big heats like that," he said. "I've worked on boards as well and feel good physically at the moment. I got two good waves at the start and had to manage it from there. I'm super motivated and I always want to do my absolute best in each heat so I'm stoked when it works out like that."
Team Japan shined bright in the morning with Reo Inaba and Arashi Kato both scoring above 14 point totals to advance. Unfortunately while Reo kept his high-scoring run going into Round Three, Arashi's was brutally halted by Tomas Fernandes and Aritz Aranburu in the afternoon.
"I had two fun heats and pretty good scores so I'm happy," Reo said. "Waves are kind of tricky but at the same time it's very similar to what we surf in Japan, so I made it work for me. I'm stoked to be here, I expected something very different but it's really cool."
Another few upsets included the losses of Carlos Munoz, Jonathan Gonzalez and Adrien Toyon. Unfortunately all Israeli hopes vanished as well in Round Two as no local surfer managed to advance past this one.
Competitors and organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m Tuesday in expected clean conditions to potentially complete the third and fourth unds, ideally setting up for finals day in the best conditions.
Check out all the photos, videos and updates from the Seat Pro Netanya pres by Reef.