- WSL / Laurent Masurel
Highlights: Third Day of Action Narrows Fields Down in Israel
Men's Round of 64, Round of 32, Women's Round of 32 , it's all happening in Netanya.

After three consecutive lay days, the Seat Pro Netanya, Stop No. 3 of 5 on the 2021-22 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), resumed today in three-to-four foot surf at Kontiki. Conditions allowed to complete the remaining four heats of the men's Round of 64, as well as the women's Round of 32 entirely and the first four heats of the men's Round of 32.

The eliminations of former Championship Tour surfer Alex Ribeiro and event top seed Marco Mignot were the main upsets early this morning.

When the women's Round of 32 paddled out, although it was France's Juliette Lacome that came out winning in heat 1, the focus was clearly on the local pro Anat Lelior. Lelior had a breakthrough season in 2019 on the QS and qualified for the first surfing Olympic event in Japan, but then suffered an injury that sidelined her for about seven months, and is now only just starting to compete again.

"I feel like this is my first QS all over again," Lelior admitted. "Being injured really makes you grow and I feel like I'm coming to compete with a different perspective. Physically I'm almost ready, I guess I just had to jump out in the water and see if I could still float! I'm happy I made it through and am hoping I can do better in the next heat. Waves were fun and I'm excited for the rest of the event."

Nadia Erostarbe (EUK), NEtanya 2022 Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Nadia Erostarbe was the top scorer of the day, in her first visit to Israel, the Basque surfer found the winning recipe in her first heat to find an excellent 8 point ride (out of a possible 10) and a solid back up.

"I've never surfed in the Mediterranean sea and it's quite different," Erostarbe explained. "The windswell doesn't feel quite as powerful as the waves we usually surf in the oceans, but today was fun, we had a few sections. I've trained a lot in smaller surf which is my weakness and I think today it showed."

A good friend of Lelior, Erostarbe chose the best local guide to go explore the country over the past couple of lay days and soak in the culture.

"Anat took us around Tel Aviv and her family invited us to share the traditional Friday night Shabbat dinner so that was super nice."

Lelior's younger sister Noa Lelior also advanced into the Round of 16 with a strong performance. Unfortunately the strong, sideshore Northerly wind came to play spoilers midway through the morning, but nonetheless the event's top seeds put together solid performances to thrust most of the advancing spots into the Round of 16. France's Maud Le Car and Pauline Ado, Leticia Canales Bilbao (ESP) weren't able to convert their red-jersey positions and suffered uncharacteristic first-round eliminations.

The men's Round of 32 that ran later this afternoon was no stranger to surprise eliminations either with the likes of Pedro Henrique, Kyllian Guerin, Sam Piter and Charly Quivront) dropping out early from the field.

Gatien Delahaye (FRA), Netanya 2022 Gatien Delahaye (FRA) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Gatien Delahaye was the standout of that round, rounding up an impressive 14.67 total in the span of just a few minutes at the beginning of his heat.

"Everything just went my way in that heat," Delahaye stated. "I distanced myself from the rest of the guys at the beginning and that sick left just came to me. Starting the heat with an 8.00 is ideal, I backed it up pretty quickly and then just hung around the guys to try to keep them off the best waves. I'm happy to be back here, we always have a great time surfing and visiting places."

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