SATA Airlines Azores Pro 2014

SATA Airlines Azores Pro 2014

Santa Barbara pumped 4-6Ft waves on the opening day. Photo: ASP/Poullenot

The ASP Prime event in the Azores launched yesterday in excellent 4-to-6-foot hollow waves at the pristine praia de Santa Barbara on Sao Miguel Island. Surfers put on an incredible show mixing deep barrels and high-performance manoeuvres to complete the opening round of competition and reduce the field down to 48.

Brazil's Caio Ibelli got the best of the hollow conditions in the morning, clocking the most time in the barrel to post an impressive 9.53 before backing it up with another solid score for the win.

“I’ve been here five days already and yesterday the waves got big and I broke all my boards," Ibelli commented. “I was kind of bummed, but I went out there and looked for the barrels cause I don’t feel comfortable doing turns on this board. There’s nothing better to get barrelled like that early in the morning, I’m stoked to be here in the Azores."

Sitting in 34th position on the QS rankings, the young Brazilian and former ASP World Junior Champion is in need of a big result to improve his position and close the gap with the leaders.

“I got a 9th in Ballito and then lost first round in the US Open," Ibelli said. “So basically I came here to try and get a good rhythm back and back-up my result. I have no pressure I just want to surf and have fun. I’m going to stick around today and try some boards to get used to them."

Later in the day, fellow Brazilian QS warrior Italo Ferreira collected the highest single score for one manoeuvre, a near-perfect 9.67 when he launched into a massive alley-oop landed perfectly into the flats.

“That’s my favourite air, the conditions were perfect for it this afternoon with that little sideshore wind," Ferreira commented. “It is a little dangerous sure but I’ve been practicing a lot this kind of manoeuvres and feel confident I can land them safely."

Event wildcard and Portugal leading junior Vasco Ribeiro dominated heat 10, advancing with a three-point difference ahead of current QS leader Matt Banting.

“I’m really happy, I think I got a little bit too excited with the waves so I’m stoked that I got a couple," Ribeiro said. “I’ve been watching the previous heats closely and I knew I could get the scores with turns, but yes when the occasional barrel came across I went for it."

Despite living just a couple of hours away on mainland Portugal, Ribeiro admitted his lacking experience in Azores, making his performance even more impressive.

“Some heats go your way, others don’t," he added. “Matt is an amazing surfer, off course I’m happy to beat him this time but I wouldn’t read too much into that, it’s just a heat."

Willian Cardoso recent runner-up at the Vans US Open of Surfing started his Azorean campaign with a solid heat win. The talented Brazilian executed his game plan to perfection, concentrating on finding clean long waves to perform his signature power turns.

“I feel great, it’s a good way to start," Cardoso said. “I saw a couple barrels this morning but I know they’re hard to find and even harder to make, so I looked for turns mainly. That result in California put me in the race again and gave me a lot of confidence so I hope I can keep at it here and do good again."

UPCOMING SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND 2 MATCHUPS:

Heat 1: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Marco Fernandez (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)

Heat 2: Jack Freestone (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Mason Ho (HAW)

Heat 3: Jesse Mendes (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Nathan Hedge (AUS)

Heat 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Steven Pierson (PYF), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)

Heat 5: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Granger Larsen (HAW), Ricardo Christie (NZL)

Heat 6: Lucas Silveira (BRA), Santiago Muniz (ARG), Matt Banting (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)

Heat 7: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)

Heat 8: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Willian Cardoso (BRA), Marc Lacomare (FRA), Vicente Romero (ESP)

Heat 9: Joan Duru (FRA), Mitchel Coleborn (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA), Nathan Yeomans (USA)

Heat 10: Jose Ferreira (PRT), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), Cooper Chapman (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)

Heat 11: Brett Simpson (USA), Yadin Nicol (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Hiroto Arai (JPN)

Heat 12: Michael Dunphy (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Wigolly Dantas (BRA), Kiron Jabour (HAW)

SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Heat 1: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.60, Mason Ho (HAW) 11.34, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 7.04, Tiago Pires (PRT) 6.43

Heat 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.84, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 11.34, Bino Lopes (BRA) 5.94, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 5.60

Heat 3: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.16, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 11.03, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 9.50, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 8.17

Heat 4: Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.90, Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.10, Pedro Henrique (BRA) 10.03, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 8.00

Heat 5: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.34, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 11.60, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.66, Medi Veminardi (REU) 7.70

Heat 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.70, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.23, Dale Staples (ZAF) 9.96, Connor O'Leary (AUS) 7.10

Heat 7: Steven Pierson (PYF) 14.17, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 12.07, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 8.33, Charly Martin (GLP) 7.64

Heat 8: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.24, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.60, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 11.07, Michael Rodriguez (BRA) 6.07

Heat 9: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 12.90, Glenn Hall (IRL) 12.77, Jay Thompson (AUS) 12.24, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 9.10

Heat 10: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 16.34, Matt Banting (AUS) 13.47, Brian Toth (PRI) 9.57, Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 5.86

Heat 11: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 11.66, Granger Larsen (HAW) 11.46, Thomas Woods (AUS) 11.03, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10.60

Heat 12: Lucas Silveira (BRA) 14.10, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 13.46, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 11.73, Manuel Morgado (PRT) 6.50

Heat 13: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 14.14, Vicente Romero (ESP) 13.27, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.04, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.83

Heat 14: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 15.67, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 9.97, Gavin Gillette (HAW) 9.84, Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.13

Heat 15: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.53, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.93, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 10.60, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 9.16

Heat 16: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.44, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.07, Torrey Meister (HAW) 11.10, Dusty Payne (HAW) 9.80

Heat 17: Joan Duru (FRA) 10.60, Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.70, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 7.74, Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS) 5.67

Heat 18: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 13.77, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 12.23, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 9.33, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 8.37

Heat 19: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 11.33, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 9.00, Marlon Lipke (PRT) 8.86, Tim Reyes (USA) 7.86

Heat 20: Jose Ferreira (PRT) 13.16, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 12.27, Dillon Perillo (USA) 8.87, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.20

Heat 21: Brett Simpson (USA) 14.34, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 11.30, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 7.70, Davey Cathels (AUS) 6.33

Heat 22: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 11.50, Wigolly Dantas (BRA) 9.44, Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 8.26, Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 6.60

Het 23: Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.37, Conner Coffin (USA) 7.46, Cory Arrambide (USA) 7.00, Messias Felix (BRA) 0.73

Heat 24: Michael Dunphy (USA) 10.86, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 10.10, Adam Melling (AUS) 9.83, David Do Carmo (BRA), 9.60