Both QS and longboarding events got underway today in the windy two-to-three foot surf of North Fistral and competitors made the most of the conditions on offer. Heavy showers punctuated the morning but the sun eventually came through for the afternoon crowd. Here's a rundown of what happened in each category:
Daiki Tanaka completely stole the show in Round 3 with an inspired performance to post a 16.24 heat total, the biggest of the event so far. Lightning fast in the mushy surf, the Japanese managed to fit multiple vertical turns in the smallest sections and impressed by the speed and power he could generate.
"My board felt great and I found some super fun waves," he said. "It's my third year coming here and I really enjoy it. I'm traveling with a couple of friends and we usually try to go check out the festival too when we're out of the event, so hopefully not before Sunday!"
Junior surfer Ellie Turner scraped through a slow scoring matchup at low tide and managed to advance into the Quarters where she'll carry the British hopes. The Bude local is continuously improving and starting to challenge the best European juniors for the top spots.
"It's always nice to be surfing here and being able to go home after a day competing," she said. "It was actually quite fun, there some good sections out there, they're hard to find but they're out there! I feel quite good about my surfing at the moment so I'm hoping I can make a few more heats here."
With the top seeds only entering in Round Two, the first four heats gave us a glimpse at the local hopefuls, new and former competitors, coming to rub elbows and challenge the best European surfers.
Elliot Dudley (pictured in the header) posted the round's best scores and showcased his flow and nose ride skills at high tide. The Welsh surfer, a former amateur European champion, gracefully navigated his 9'8 single-fin along the rights and lefts of Fistral. In the next round, he'll be sharing the lineup with other Brits, including current rankings No. 4 Jack Unsworth.
"I used to come here a lot when I was younger, but I haven't competed for probably about ten years," Dudley said. "I really wanted to see everyone and see if I could still surf well against the guys. I'm trying to concentrate on flow and glide and I guess my board allows that, especially in these sort of conditions that are not perfect."
2018 European Longboard Champion Justine Dupont unsurprisingly took out the opening heat. Nienke Duinmeijer, currently second on the regional rankings posted the second highest single score of the round and advanced into the Quarters as well.
"I haven't really surfed a longboard since the event in Biarritz and it took me a while to get my footing back," Justine explained. "But I'm very happy to win heats, especially in those difficult conditions. I have great boards and that definitely helps a lot. I hope I can keep going like that and the vibe here is really cool as always."
Longboarders will be back early Saturday for the 8 a.m call while QS surfers will be back at 10 a.m. Tune in from August 8-12, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here! For more information about the festival, visit boardmasters.com.