The QS1,500 Cabreiroá Las Americas Pro Tenerife started on the first day of the waiting period with clean three-to-four foot waves peeling down the reef at Tenerife. Surfers took on the remaining bits from a previous swell to complete the opening rounds of the men's event.
While the opening rounds usually give groms and locals a chance to shine on their home turf, today was a different story as a crew of more experienced competitors lead the charge.
A familiar face on the European QS, he's been touring for the past nine years, Eduardo Fernandes was the first surfer to find potential for good scores, packing multiple turns on his forehand for a 7 point ride and the lead. He backed it up quickly and took an easy win into Round 3.
"This place is incredible," he said. "Last year I didn't really find waves and couldn't surf my best but today was much better. It's not easy out there but if you get one of the good ones there's definitely room. I'm not sure how my season will go as I don't have a major sponsor anymore but depending on my results in these first few events, I'll see if I want to travel to more later this year."
A former Championship Tour surfer and European champion, Marlon Lipke somewhat disappeared off our radars these past couple of years. The German-born, Portuguese surfer's entrepreneurial ventures have kept him busy since he stopped competing full time but he seized the opportunity to spend a week surfing with friends and looked right at home in a jersey.
"It's super nice to be here with Roby (D'Amico) and Gony (Zubizarreta) and staying at Jonathan Gonzalez's just down the road," he explained. "I'm at a different stage in life where I don't focus on results anymore so it's nice to just have a fun trip with friends. I've competed here in terrible conditions in the past so I'm stoked to have good waves and it looks like it's only going to get better. I have a cafe in Lisbon called Comoba, and our company Jam with Gony which we're expanding really fast so that's a lot of work but I still try to get some time in the water."
Last but not least, Tenerife's own Jonathan Gonzalez made his way into Round 3 as well. It wasn't as easy for Gonzalez who got caught in a slow, low-scoring affair but the local managed to fend off his opponents and advanced in second position to keep his run alive.
"This is not my favorite wave on the whole island but I'm stoked to be surfing at home for sure," Gonzalez stated. "This is important for everybody surfing here to have a good event and show their level. I struggled a bit today but I think it's going to get better with the forecast we have now. I'm stoked to be with Deeply now, they let me choose what I want to do so I'm going to concentrate on trips and videos a lot more than events, which makes me really happy."
Competitors will be back at 9 a.m Tuesday for a potential start of the women's Round 1 and the men have a later call at 11 a.m. Conditions look tricky for Tuesday as the swell continues to die but a new push is expected to reach the shores of Tenerife Wednesday and should offer at least three good days of action towards the end of the week.
Tune in from February 4-10 for the LIVE webcast and check out all the photos, videos and updates here.