The O’Neill Pro Cordoama pres. By Nissan, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 1-Star men’s event, got underway in South Portugal today, the beautiful beach of Cordoama delivering clean two to three foot (0.5 to 1 meter) waves for the kick-off of the event.

Following the Under-21 competition that saw Brazilian Thomaz Peterson (BRA), 19, get away with the title yesterday, the event crowd witnessed some intense action with several big scores being posted for Day 1, 18-year-old Pierre-Valentin Laborde (Hossegor, FRA) taking control in the second last heat of the day.

Laborde, who placed equal 9th in the Junior contest yesterday, came back with superb surfing for his ASP WQS start this year, the young French man dominating his three-man battle over last year runner-up Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) and Jose Ferreira (PRT) with an impressive 17.00 point heat tally out of a possible 20 to advance through to Round 3.

“The waves were just so fun today," Laborde said. “ I felt just like at home on these small but fast lefthanders and I enjoyed my time in the water a lot. I had Eduardo (Fernandes) in my heat and he got the best score of the day so it was a high scoring heat and I am stoked to end up first with such a combination of high scores."

Laborde, whose heat result is the best of the week thus far at Cordoama, had to battle against an inform Fernandes, runner-up in both ASP Pro Junior and ASP WQS events last year at Cordoama, a serious threat for the French favorite in the event. Having no other goal than make it as far as possible, Laborde will be confident when he paddles out for Round 3 tomorrow.

“I just want to take it by heat and get that kind of scores," Laborde said. “I want to enjoy my upcoming heats as much as I enjoyed this one today and I hope it can take me to the end."

In an exact copy of the Pro Junior event opening three days ago, the other inform surfer of the day was Germany’s and Algarve resident Nicolau Von Rupp (Algarve, DEU), 18, who came up with another solid start in the event posting 15.67 points out of a possible 20 to get his Round 3 berth and show his opponents he was hungry for a better result than in the Pro Junior event.

“I was pretty nervous before my heat having in mind my early loss in the Pro Junior," Von Rupp said. “Then I was the last to find a good set wave and had to catch up with the guys so I started off with an average but secure ride than tried to let my surfing speak and let the pressure go. I am stoked it went right in the end and I am really looking forward to bettering my best result here which is a semifinal a couple of years ago in this event."

Laborde and Von Rupp’s performances were closely followed by Fernandes remarkable assault, the 22-year-old Portuguese competitor finding his rhythm to score the best single ride of the day, a 9.33 out of a possible 10 that showed how strong he was in the waves of Cordoama.

With 32 men only remaining after today’s eliminations, the next three days will allow organizers to use the best moments of the tide and give the title contenders some good scoring potential for an exciting finish planned on Sunday.

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