Dean Vandewalle (BEL) was impressive on the lefts tonight. Credit: © WSL /  Masurel

Competition got underway today at the Men’s QS5,000 and Women’s QS3,000 Azores Airlines Pro, completing the opening rounds of both the men and women’s competitions as well as four heats of the men’s second round.

Stop No. 2 of 6 on the 2021-22 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the Azores Airlines Pro will really launch the regional series as there are virtually no points on the board from the opening stop in France earlier this summer.

Extremely tricky conditions on the competition bank challenged competitors with a powerful rip wreaking havoc in the lineup, despite waves absolutely firing only a hundred meters away up and down the beach.

A few surfers did manage to find decent scores in the bumpy surf, namely Frenchmen Charly MartinNicolas PauletMihimana Braye and their compatriot Nahia Milhau.

“I was a little bit off at the beginning of the heat,” Braye explained. “So I tried to reset in the heat,  re-position myself a bit deeper and it worked out cause I got two good ones at the end. I knew my surfing was good and my board works well, I just needed to be on the right waves.”

The horizon cleared towards the end of the afternoon as on the lower tide surfers opted to move to a different peak with cleaner and longer walls. Things started to heat up with Martin and Paul Cesar Distinguin (FRA) putting on a show in the first heat of the men’s Round of 96.

Dean Vandewalle (BEL) in the following heat posted the first excellent score of the event with a two-turn combination on his backhand to take an easy win into Round 3.

“That peak over there was mainly lefts and super fun so I’m glad I managed to get a couple,” Vandewalle said. “The swell’s been building so tomorrow should be fun too!”

Event officials will be back at 7:45 a.m to check conditions on Tuesday.

Watch Competition LIVE!
Watch the entire event unfold LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and WSL’s YouTube channel.

The Azores Airlines Pro will unfold from November 1-6, 2021 at PRAIA DE SANTA BARBARA, Sao Miguel – Azores Islands. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.

The Azores Airlines Pro are organized by DAAZ Eventos with the support of the following event partners:  Azores Airlines, Governo Regional dos Acores, Turismo dos Açores, Câmara Municipal da Ribeira Grande, MEO amongst others.

About the WSL 
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing. 
 
A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.
 
The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.  
 
Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including WorldSurfLeague.com
 
WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
 
The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.  
 
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.