Day 1 at the QS 10,000 EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira and no time to slack as the world's best surfers entered competition around around noon when Round Two started. While the morning was a foggy affair with competition called on and off a few times due to the lack of visibility, the afternoon was already a spectacle with good four foot surf serving plenty of opportunities.
Ten current or past Championship Tour competitors surfed, starting with current rookie Griffin Colapinto. The Californian destroyed the poor little rights at Ribeira d'Ilhas and posted two 8+ scores to advance into Round 2 with ease.
"It was pretty tricky out there with the tide peaking in our heat," he said. "Having two circuits going on at the same time so you don't feel as much pressure is exactly what I dreamed of. Paddling out for my heats I know I have the two opportunities to re-qualify so that's good. I'm super stoked and fired up for this European leg, I haven't done it before so I'm ready!"
Ricardo Christie had a similar approach on his forehand to build his 14.70 heat total. Christie won in Martinique last year so you know he's not a complete stranger to righthand points either and he could be a threat if conditions hold up.
"It's nice to have some waves and I'm stoked to get through so I get to have another one out there," he said. "I've been at home lately surfing heaps and spending time with the family it's been fun! I haven't spent a winter home in years cause I was living on the Gold Coast for a while and traveling, so it's nice to stay there and surf all my locals."
Not everyone had a brilliant opening day like these two though, and a few big upsets already rocked the QS scene. QS No. 2 Peterson Crisanto and World No. 31 Ian Gouveia for example suffered shock eliminations in their first heat.
It was mostly a day for the regular footers as Sebastian Zietz's performance in Heat 5 attested, but a few goofies managed to make their mark as well. Silva was one of them, Yago Dora didn't quite go crazy, but he made sure to get a win into the following round as well, Rafael Teixeira and Joan Duru all advanced.
"I arrived here late last night super jetlagged and barely got any sleep so I wasn't super confident going into that heat but I knew it would take good waves to make it through," Zietz said.
Mihimana Braye on the other hand had plenty of water time ahead of the event and it showed when the Tahitian goofy selected the right waves repeatedly. Not only did he get them but he surfed great too, applying his lethal Tahitian power to every turn to post two solid 7s and take first place ahead of Duru.
"Portugal is so great," he said. "I came here for the World Juniors and got my best result ever. I came down here a week ago to practice on the wave and have plenty of good feedback from the local I'm staying with."
The day ended with another major upset and the elimination of the current QS leader Seth Moniz.
Surfers will be back at 7:30 a.m Tuesday to continue Round Two.
Tune in from September 24-30, 2018 for the LIVE webcast and check out all the results, photos, videos and updates right here!