It wasn’t a perfect day for the big names’ start, as same wind blown consistent waves were breaking when the ASP caravan arrived on site at 8 AM. With the four first heats of round 3 done yesterday and dominated by defending European Pro Surf Tour champion Michel Bourez (PYF), all favourites were ready to get their spot for round 4 and join the tahitian powerhouse.
Twenty heats were ran today for this third day of competition and it was definitely chaos amongst the best seeded surfers. With all WQS #3, #4 and #5 being eliminated, surfers chasing points to climb will have a good opportunity tomorrow when competition resumes. We are down to 48 surfers and precious points and dollars will make the pressure rise.
After his third place in the Ocean & Earth Pro 4 Star WQS last week, Daniel Ross (AUS) kept up the good work using power and style to post the highest heat score of the event, 17.00 points thanks to an opening 8.83 backed up with an 8.17 getting his round 4 ticket easily ahead of Asher Nolan (USA).
WQS #3 Tiago Pires (PRT) was the big upset of the day, the portuguese 26-year-old from Ericeira losing in heat 13 to Bobby Hansen (NZL) and Nathan Carroll (HAW). Surfing with a foot injury he got while he was practising last week in Lanzarote, Pires couldn’t defend his chances and suffered a lack of waves, leaving home before the hawaiian showdown where he will try and get the WQS crown.
Marc Lacomare (Hossegor, FRA) created the first upset of the day just after the horn sounded, eliminating current WQS #5 Jay Thompson (AUS) to secure his spot in round 4, Thompson not finding any waves to get through his first battle. “Stoked to get through this heat... It wasnt’ easy on the paper and I made it so I just hope things stay like this for me. It’s not going to make any big difference for me on the ratings but it brings confidence and as I am just starting on the WQS it’s important."
Lacomare was given a wild card into round 3 and after his surprising equal 9th in the Rip Curl Pro Super Series in France earlier this year, the rising 17-year-old could soon be a serious threat to any surfer.
Kept away from the contests since the beginning of August because of a knee injury, Patrick Beven (FRA) surfed his “comeback" heat against former ASP World Tour member Jarrad Howse (AUS), and seemed in top form when he opened the battle with an 8.50 out of possible 10 to take control and eventually finish first.
“I’m stoked to be back on tour. I missed so much events, and the biggest ones, so I hope I can keep the good feeling going and get through a few rounds here. I won this event twice already, got a European Pro Surf Tour title in 2005 here so I like the wave and I’m confident with my knee," said Beven.
Last year’s European Pro Surf Tour #2 Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) was another giant killer today when he managed to grab a second place in heat 12, posting a low 10.44 points total to defeat WQS #4 Ben Bourgeois (USA) and reach round 4 where he will face Aritz Aranburu (EUK) and Royden Bryson (ZAF). Getting his part in the “favourites’ chaos", Jean-Sébastien Estienne (GLP) finished up the work when he dominated WQS #22 and La Santa Pro 2004 champion Kirk Flintoff (AUS), making this third day of competition a “black thursday" for the best seeded surfers.
Along with these promissing performances went some of the most unexpected upsets, current World Qualifying Series top surfers suffered some early losses today, giving close ratings followers a good opportunity. With the current international ratings remaining very tight, all surfers from the top 30 can still hope to qualify for next year’s ASP World Tour.