It's not all palm trees and tropical waters on the QS. There are grey, windy, rainy days with sub-par waves on offer when surfers probably wish they'd chosen a different career path. However, we have a waiting period, and finals to happen on the weekend, hence the need to complete a few heats at the Caparica Surf Fest powered by Oakley QS3,000's event.
Professional surfers know as much and there was no complaining as the opening eight heats of Round 4 were sent out in chunky four-to-six foot waves with strong onshore winds destructing most sections in the lineup.
Ribeiro Continues on Portuguese High
Vasco Ribeiro couldn't seem less affected by the conditions on hand as he went out in the first heat of the day and scored the round's best result with two decent scores. Quarterfinalist last week in Santa Cruz, the former World Junior Champion kept the ball rolling in his first encounter in familiar territory in Caparica.
"There actually are some waves it's not as bad as it looks," he said. "It's just that you can't hear your scores or anything so it's pretty hard to surf a heat. I found a little left and a right to back it up and I'm happy to get that one out of the way. I made the Quarters last week so I'm hoping to go even further in this one, it's great to have back-to-back events at home for a change."
Brazilian Magician Finds Barrel in Blown-Out Conditions
Remember the description of the conditions above? Not typically the line up you'll be hunting for barrels in. Somehow, Franklin Serpa managed to find a big double-up that looked nothing like a decent wave at first, but when the lip jacked up Serpa was in the perfect spot to pull in and get out clean for a good 6 point ride in the context of his heat to advance in pole position.
"I couldn't believe it, I just paddled into that wave and there it was, a barrel," he said. "So I just pulled in and made it, I was so happy. There's a lot of water moving out there, and a strong rip but the wave still has some power so it was pretty fun."
Juniors Continue to Impress Despite Rough Lineup
The Caparica Surf Fest Junior Pro powered by Oakley continues to see surfers post massive scores despite the extremely difficult conditions on offer today.
Fernando Junior has been dominating the first three rounds of the junior event in Caparica. He opened with a decent 14.10 (which included an 8.00 point ride) in Round 1, then switched gears and posted a 17.50 in Round 2 (courtesy of 8.33 and 9.17) and a 17.00 total today with another 9.17 and a lower backup of 7.83. The Brazilian surfer absolutely destroyed the sections he found on his backhand and was simply on another level from his opponents.
"I'm stoked to be here for my first time in Portugal," he said. "I had really fun heats so far and I'm loving this right to surf on my backhand. I feel comfortable going both ways but I know my backhand is better to score big. I had the opportunity to come over to Europe for the two QS3,000 events, unfortunately I didn't do too well in these but I have this junior event to redeem myself."
Oh Wait, What's Going On Down There??
We were quietly about to wrap up the show on the main site when in the distance, coming from the South podium resonated the words '10 point ride'. Turns out, Maui's Noah Hill was putting on a clinic above the lip in the last junior heat of the day, posting a perfect 10 and a 9.67 to eliminate current No. 2 in the European junior rankings and local surfer Afonso Antunes.
"The wind really turned on and it was perfect for airs," Hill said. "I got lucky with a few sections and got opportunities to show my surfing for once. I'm not as comfortable on my backhand but I had a tough heat so I had to go big and to worked out. I need some points on the QS, so I'm taking all the experience I can get cause I want to qualify for the CT in the next few years. I've been to the Azores before but never on mainland Portugal and I'm loving it so far.
Surfers in the women's QS1,000 and women's junior division were Off for the day and might be back in the lineup tomorrow when the event resumes.
Competitors will be back at 11a.m Thursday for a potential re-start of the Caparica Surf Fest powered by Oakley.
Watch the Caparica Surf Fest powered by Oakley LIVE on the WSL platforms from April 15-20, and check out daily recaps, pictures, videos and more right here.