- WSL / Laurent Masurel
Highlights: Fun Opening Day In Azores
Competition starts with men and women action at Santa Barbara, Azores.

Strange things happen this time of year and today waves played trick or treat for the opening day of the Men's QS5,000 and Women's QS3,000 Azores Airlines Pro.

The treat was a firing West bank where all free surfers and competitors warming up were getting barreled, throwing big turns and launching airs all over the place.

The trick part unfortunately happened on the comp bank, with a weird rip wreaking havoc in the lineup and making surfers jobs a whole lot harder all of a sudden.

The event ran through the men's opening round, the women's opening round and the first four heats of men's round two.

Nahia Milhau (FRA) Nahia Milhau - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Only a few people actually managed to find decent scores in a very bumpy lineup, those include Frenchmen Charly Martin, Nicolas Paulet, Mihimana Braye as well as their compatriot Nahia Milhau in the women's first round.

"I was a little bit off at the beginning of the heat," Braye explained. "So I tried to reset in the heat, re-position myself a bit deeper and it worked out cause I got two good ones at the end. I knew my surfing was good and my board works well, I just needed to be on the right waves."

The horizon cleared slightly towards the end of the afternoon as on the lower tide surfers opted to move to a different peak with cleaner and longer walls. Things started to heat up with Martin and Paul Cesar Distinguin putting on a show in the first heat of the men's Round of 96.

Francisco Almeida (PRT) Francisco Almeida - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Dean Vandewalle in the following heat posted the first excellent score of the event with a two-turn combination on his backhand to take an easy win into Round 3.

"That peak over there was mainly lefts and super fun so I'm glad I managed to get a couple," he said. "The swell's been building so tomorrow should be fun too!"

Event officials will be back at 7:45 a.m to check conditions on Tuesday.

The Azores Islands Pro will unfold from November 1-6, 2021 and will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.

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