The Rip Curl Pro Junior 3-Star event, got underway today in massive 5 to 6 ft waves at the world-class beachbreak of Supertubes, under clear blue skies.
Mario Azurza (EUK) was the man of the day in the massive waves coming in for the opening of the 2008 season, the basque surfer posting an impressive 15.27 point heat tally to advance to Round 2.
"This heat was amazing," Azurza said. "It is the first time I have surfed such good waves in a contest. It was like Puerto Escondido (a famous Mexican beachbreak) at Peniche today."
Azurza, who posted a near perfect 9.60 point ride after getting out of a 6 ft barrel, showed great comitment and control to tame Supertubos' waves.
"I am stoked with my result," Azurza said. "I was kind of stressed before my heat because you always want to make good for the first heat of the year. When this wave came I just paddled really hard into it and then it was just perfect."
The Rip Curl Pro Junior, first ever event to feature man-on-man heats from the quarterfinals, brought some of the most spectacular waves in a year to all under-21 best European surfers getting their go in Round 1.
Ian Fontaine (FRA), youngest of three brothers well known among the top ASP Europe Pro Junior surfers, got the second best ride of the day. Fontaine, 14, posted a strong 8.33 point ride to advance through to Round 2 and meet best seeded surfers when competitions resumes tomorrow.
Ten boards were broken during Day 1 of the Rip Curl Pro. The event is scheduled to re-start from 10 AM local time (GMT)
The swell is supposed to keep picking up tomorrow and all best seeded surfers, including event favorite Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU), will paddle out for crazy barrels and vertical off-the-lip turns.