Conditions settled down quite a bit after an epic opening day in pumping surf yesterday, and surfers took on leftover three foot peaks at the Ballito Pro pres by O'Neill.
You'd have to be looking from far, far away not to notice a little trend in the early rounds. Green, yellow, more green, more yellow. In other words, Brazil's domination continues with 8 of 11 athletes advancing through the 10 heats ran today.
Conditions definitely favored the dynamic, powerful and progressive style of surfing Brazilians have made their trademark and today's results honestly shouldn't be a surprise to most.
Out of those 8 Brazilian athletes, one name is worth giving it a little more attention. The 2015 World Champion Adriano De Souza injured his right leg last October in Portugal and is just coming back to competition.
De Souza joined the world's best surfers back in Rio a couple of weeks ago but was quickly eliminated by eventual winner Filipe Toledo in the Round of 32. Months out of the lineup, the powerful regular foot has put in the work and has a great opportunity to gauge his current form against an extremely talented field in Ballito this week.
"I've been waiting for this for so long, it was a long eight months trying to get back," he said. "I put everything I can in those months to get ready and fit. I'm so hungry to make heats and come back strong next year. This is a great event for me to make some points because I'm fighting in two divisions this year, on the QS and CT."
World No. 4 Jordy Smith controlled his first heat and made it out in pole position in front of very enthusiastic crowds around lunch time. The big South African made small work of the little sections on offer and showed why he's one of the best in the world, scoring turns in and above the lip for a solid 14.50 winning total.
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