It was just another day at the beach for Italo Ferreira. With a clean Timmy Patterson-shaped swallow tail, no leash and his favorite pair of wax encrusted boardshorts he strolled down to the water's edge, tossed his board onto the whitewater and jumped in. There was no air of anxiety or stress. No pre-heat psych out. He was just going for a surf like any other day.
Ferreira opened with a playful air reverse on a thigh-high left. In total, he'd ride 15 waves enroute to a seemingly effortless heat win. Having the time of his life punting airs in the shore break, he waved and blew kisses to fans on the pier.
While Ferreira went unfazed by the conditions on hand, other competitors struggled to find fuel. The day was a bit on the grindy side as inconsistent, small surf forced surfers to get creative. There comes a moment during every U.S. Open when the Brazilian contingent make their presence felt, relishing in the knee-to-waist-high sets - today was that day.
Bino Lopes ripped an 8.17 to advance alongside Thaigo Camarao, who was gifted a score in the dying seconds to turn the heat over heartbroken World Junior Champion Finn McGill.
"It's so hard out there to choose the best waves, I just had to try and stay patient and I got lucky," said Lopes after his heat.
Dropping hammers, Pupo earned himself a pair of 7.83s to win the heat with a 15.66, which ended up being only a tenth of a point off the highest heat total of the day.
"I've been in California for almost three and a half weeks now with my family just living each day, and surfing all over," Pupo explained afterwards. "I went up to the Surf Ranch and surfed down in Trestles for that swell last week. It's a beautiful day here and I'm so happy to make it through that one. The past few years I've lost during the first round and getting a result here is key heading into Hawaii and the back half of the year."
Number one on the QS, Peterson Crisanto capped off the Brazilian charge in the second to last heat of the day. Posting an 8.77 and backing it up with a solid 7.0, he earned himself the highest single wave score and highest combined heat score. Uncorking his air game, he was able to fit a ridiculous amount of torque, style and amplitude into an extremely small space.
"I just tried to be patient. It's a little bit slow out there. I wanted to make the most of it," said Crisanto.
Interestingly, a big result at the U.S. Open could potentially lock in a spot on the 2019 CT for Crisanto. "I don't want the pressure of thinking about that," he explained. "I just want to take it heat by heat and do what I can do."
Of the eight Men's QS heats that ran Tuesday morning, Brazilians won five of them and had another three surfers take second place to advance into the next round. There are eight heats of Round 2 of the U.S. Open Men's QS remaining. The next call will be Wednesday morning at 7:30am PDT.
You can watch the Vans US Open of Surfing live on CBS Sports Network (US only, check local schedule), the WSL website, the WSL app, and Facebook.