Mid-period swells die quickly in the Mediterranean Sea, so officials and competitors at the QS 3000 Seat Pro Netanya made the most of Tuesday's opportunities as fun two-to-three foot lines continued to roll in before an expected swell drop.
Performances spiked as the international field was thinned to the final eight surfers. Tuesdays battles were all tight affairs, much to the delight of the enthusiastic fans on hand. In the end, the French contingent won the day, nabbing four of the final eight spots.
But it was Japan's Reo Inaba who was the first to land in the Quarterfinals with his third consecutive heat win, keeping an excellent rhythm to post a solid heat total of 14.83. The selective approach paid out for Reo who only surfed five waves to advance into first ahead of South Africa's Matthew McGillivray.
"I knew everyone in that heat could have gotten some big scores so I was kind of nervous the whole time," Reo said. "But I found two very fun ones and it made me a little safer. Both lefts and rights were cool this morning with some good sections for turns."
Jorgann Couzinet kept his winning streak alive too and advanced into the Quarters for the third year running in Israel. The powerful Reunion Island surfer laid his rail game on the clean faces at Kontiki beach and walked away in first place alongside California's Kei Kobayashi.
"I'm improving on a few things as I go and building a good rhythm and some self confidence," Jorgann reflected. "We're going to have a couple days off and it'll be nice to hang with an old friend who lives here and I'll try to keep surfing and training a little bit to stay on point."
Miguel Pupo's Round Four bout wasn't a walk in the park as he faced tough competition in France's Charly Martin. Charly started strong with an 8 in the opening minutes, but Miguel slowly came back and finally posted an 8.43 to turn the heat. Charly stayed in second and will surf in the Quarterfinals as well.
"It felt good to catch a lot of waves and try to get scores," Miguel said. "It's scary to still be looking for something in the last five minutes, and with priority now people can shut you down easily. I was chasing the lefts at first but realized the rights were much better. The swell dropped a lot so I'm happy to wait for the next one to do the Finals, plus now we have time to go visit a bit before we go home."
In the final heat of the day, the French pair Maxime Huscenot and Nelson Cloarec thrusted into the number one and two spots respectively and made their way into the Quarters as well. Maxime was dealt two great waves right at the start and wasted no time to build his scoreboard, claiming an early lead that he managed to keep all the way.
"I haven't done a lot of European events these past couple of years so this year I decided to commit to the tour and maybe even try to win the title," he said. "I changed a lot of things since last year, the way I train, most of my boards. I had a good end of season in Hawaii so I'm trying to keep the same rhythm heading into this one."
The forecast showing no real swell for Wednesday and a new front moving in Thursday, event officials have called both days off and will reconvene Friday at 12 p.m to reassess conditions.
Check out all the photos, videos and updates from the Seat Pro Netanya pres by Reef.