Marco Mignot (FRA) nailed the day’s performance in the very first heat this morning. Credit: © WSL / Masurel
- Youngsters Dominate Men’s Round of 64
- Portuguese Athletes on Top in Women’s Round of 32
- Mafalda Lopes Drops Aerial 10 Point Ride in Last Heat of the Day
- Next Call 7:45 a.m Thursday
- More at www.WorldSurfLeague.com
Conditions were best early on as surfers enjoyed a relatively low tide and clean waves with good wall to work with. Sure enough the performance of the day came in the very first heat with rising talent Marco Mignot (FRA) taking apart the lefts with power and style to build a healthy 16.50 total and advance alongside compatriot Enzo Cavallini (FRA).
“I went out there calm and focused on finding that one good wave and when it came I capitalized so I’m really happy with my performance,” Mignot said. “I love being in the nature and this is one those places that’s so pretty and peaceful I just love being here.”
15 year-old Ryan Kainalo (BRA) took a page out of Mignot’s book a couple of heats later and found an excellent ride of his own with two critical turns in the lip to eventually win a difficult heat against former CT surfer Joan Duru (FRA), and form surfers Siam Nikritin (ISR) and Jacome Correia (PRT).
“The waves are pretty challenging and I’m so happy I made it,” Kainalo said. “The heat started perfectly for me, I got my best score an 8 right at the beginning and it helped a lot. I’m just out here building some experience and confidence and I hope I can make a few more heats.”
The first three heats of the women’s Round of 32 were a statement of intention from the Portuguese crew with three winners in full form, namely Francisca Veselko (PRT), Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) and Teresa Bonvalot (PRT).
Hopkins, who has been on a tear on the Challenger Series recently with three good results, kept her momentum wave going with an impressive performance in her Azores debut. The powerful regular foot broke her board going all out on a solid set wave midway through the heat, but managed to change her equipment, re-join the lineup and a second big score to take an easy win into the round of 16.
“I always go for the lip and this one looked really fun but unfortunately my board couldn’t handle it,” Hopkins said. “So I had a little bit of a workout to come in and change but thankfully I got the priority as soon as I reached the back again and a good wave came.”
The rest of the field struggled to find high-scoring rides throughout the afternoon, notably some of the most experienced competitors on the QS , including former Championship Tour competitor Pauline Ado (FRA), who advanced in uncomfortable second place positions.
The vibe got a little sleepy towards the end of the day with only average scores on the board in most heats, until Mafalda Lopes (PRT) got everyone back on their toes and fired up with a frontside rotation to score the first 10 point ride of the event.
It wasn’t a monstrous aerial but under pressure the Portuguese managed to launch and land a clean rotation on a closeout section and these are still extremely rare in women’s competitions, which is why the judges rewarded her progression with the highest score available.
“It’s incredible to get my first 10 and in such a special place, Azores is like a second home to me,” Lopes said. “I wasn’t really looking for it but that section came and I wasn’t going to waste a good opportunity to go for it!”
Surfers will be back at 7:45 a.m for the men’s call tomorrow and 10 a.m for the women’s event.
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.
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WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
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