Conditions got tough for the first round of women's competition in over a year as the wind came up strong and onshore, deteriorating the two-to-three foot peelers. However competitors milked every ounce of power from the ocean and a few of them put on impressive performances in the mushy surf.
New Generation Dominates Women's Opening Day
Juliette Lacome was first to harness the right sections in the opening heat, but it was really when Aelan Vaast paddled out that judges and spectators realized how high the scores could potentially go. The 16 year-old from Tahiti really put her board on the rail and managed to combine two big backhand turns for an 8 point ride.
"It's actually really fun," she said. "I'm thankful I found some good waves and did some good turns so I'm really happy. It's my first time down here in Caparica so it's a great experience and always fun to compete with my brother in the same event."
In the following heat, rising talent Noa Lelior brought raw power and a little progression to her backhand game as well and posted an even higher 8.33 to advance in first into Round 2.
"It was really windy and tricky but still fun," she said. "But I'm glad I was able to find a couple of good little waves. I'm going to rest a little now, eat and maybe have a little surf before dark to prepare for tomorrow. I've surfed a lot at home and a little bit in El Salvador to prepare for the ISA games in a few days."
Lucia Machado was in total control of her fate in the dying seconds of Heat 5 as she'd built a comfortable lead over her competitors. However, not one to let an opportunity go by, the Canarian started on a little right corner and linked two big turns together for an 8.00 of her own, and overall the biggest heat total of the round with 15.50.
"I didn't expect such a high score on my last wave but it was a nice surprise," she admitted. "I was a bit nervous at first but after my first good score I calmed down a little bit and then I had fun."
Mixed Crowd Rules Men's Opening Day in Caparica
In Rounds 1 & 2 of the men's QS3,000, a mixed group of young up-and-comers and long-time tour campaigners showed the true potential of the Caparica surf even at small size.
Competitors in the men's field will start early on Day 2 with a call at 7 a.m while the women will come later in the picture with a 12 p.m call.
Watch the Estrella Galicia Caparica Surf Fest LIVE on the WSL platforms from May 18-23, and check out daily recaps, pictures, videos and more right here.