The Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House launched today in fun conditions with waves in the three-to-four foot range and side-onshore winds to complete the opening two rounds of competition.
Capricious weather kept everyone on their toes during a long first day of competition but the waves were breaking all day, providing plenty of opportunity for good scores on two different peaks. Surfers could choose between the closer rip bowl left that finished in the shorey or a right-hander breaking out the back in more turbulent waters but with bigger sections.
Brazil's Samuel Igo chose the first option and built momentum in his heat with rail-to-rail carves and good turns on the punchy lefts inside. With a solid lead over his competitors, the goofy foot opted to go on a final wave in the dying seconds of the heat and put together an excellent two-turn combination for an 8.33 and the win.
"I'm really happy to be back here in Portugal I always love coming here," he said. "I have like a second family here with all my friends that make me feel at home, and my boards are made here at Polen too, so I'm going to be staying for a while and train here after these two events. I had a freesurf on that left before my heat and I had a lot of fun out there."
In his third year competing in Santa Cruz, the Brazilian still have some work to do to equal or better his best result of a 17th place at praia da Mirante.
Brit's Good 2019 Run Continues in Portugal
In his fourth year competing on the Qualifying Series, Newquay's Luke Dillon seems to have found a working formula as his form early on in 2019 is the best it's been. After a slow start in the first two European events, Dillon went on to secure two good results in Brazil and Peru and comes back to the Old Continent revitalized and hungry for more precious QS points.
The powerful regular foot opted to surf the outside bank in Heat 5 of Round 2 and lead all the way in a pressure-filled heat where all competitors were in striking distance of the pole position.
"All the heats prior to mine were battling for really average scores on that left so I decided to go out to the right and tried to do a couple turns," he stated. "It's early days but I'd love to make a few more rounds here too. I took it a bit easier over last winter and tried to stay fit and train a lot. I've always had belief that I could do well but it's only started to show in the last few comps. I lost my wetsuit sponsor at the end of last year so I'm thankful for Ginsters to come onboard to help me and I'm hoping I can make the big events at the end of the year."
Rookie Sam Coffey Advances Through Both Opening Rounds
Advancing alongside Dillon through to Round 3 was young gun Sam Coffey, who actually had the heat's highest single number, but a lower back-up. The California native with a low ranking had to start in the opening round and work twice as hard today to make his way out of the first day of competition.
The 18 year-old from Santa Cruz who just graduated from high school last year is going after his first full term on the infamous grind of the QS, looking to build momentum and experience different places and cultures along the way.
"It's definitely good to get these early heats out of the way, especially in challenging conditions," Coffey said. "My first real year on the QS has been great, I've gone to cool places and had a lot of fun even if the results weren't great. This is my first time to Portugal, and it kind of reminds me of home at the moment. Waves were tricky but consistent so that's always good to get a bunch of waves and be able to build your scores through the heat."
Pedro Henrique, Nic von Rupp, Luis Perloiro and Pedro Coelho all advanced into Round 3 representing their home country of Portugal as well. Surfers and event officials will be back at 9a.m Tuesday to evaluate conditions and decide of the second day's schedule.
Watch the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House LIVE on the WSL platforms from April 8-13, and check out daily recaps, pictures, videos and more right here.