PRAIA DE RIBEIRA D’ILHAS, Ericeira / Portugal (Thursday, September 26, 2018) – The QS10,000 EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira resumed in quieter conditions today to whittle the field down further in fun three-to-five foot rights at Ribeira d’Ilhas.
Pictured: California’s Jake Marshall (USA) continues an impressive break out summer leg through Europe. – Credit: © WSL / Poullenot
The opening two heats of Round 3 were an all-Australian take out with Cooper Chapman (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Jacob Willcox (AUS) and Morgan Cibilic (AUS) advancing.
Ewing and Chapman, both barely sitting within the Top 100 on the QS, upset compatriots Matt Banting (AUS) and Jordan Lawler (AUS) who are currently much more in the Top 10 conversation. The two surfers advancing are already guaranteed their best result of the season which will help them stay in the field for the major events of Hawaii and into the beginning of next season.
“All these guys are good friends and it was an important heat for all of us,” Chapman said. “Banting is looking really good for qualifying, Jordy (Lawler) is right up there and both Ethan (Ewing) and I are scratching to stay in the 100s so we all had our hunger out there. I was lucky to get that good start and just clung on with another clutch ride at the end.”
In Heat 2, young Aussies Willcox and Cibilic got the better of experienced Brasilians Krystian Kymerson and Flavio Nakagima.
The following heat result came with absolutely no surprise as Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Jake Marshall (USA) have been on an absolute tear across the European leg. Both posted a 7+ score on the board to take the first and second advancing spots respectfully.
“There’s no explaining this good run, every heat is a different situation,” Pupo said. “The lineup here is huge, every couple of feet makes a difference and at the beginning I just tried to distance myself from the other guys and find some waves. I’m feeling really comfortable right now with the results I’ve just had and I probably have a different approach from the other guys who are trying to get the results. I’m just trying to keep my ball rolling.”
A pair of powerful goofy foots in Joan Duru (FRA) and Nat Young (USA) took out Heat 4 as Duru remains one of the last few current Championship Tour surfers still making heats in Ericeira. The Frenchman posted one of the biggest totals of the day with 15.17.
Pictured: Miguel Pupo (BRA) is guaranteed to improve his season tally and looks very strong for a return to the Elite Championship Tour next season. – Credit: © WSL / Poullenot
“I’m stoked to be here it’s definitely the start of a good leg in Europe for us,” Duru said. “Waves are super fun and the forecast looks good so I look forward to the rest of the event. I got to surf some other breaks around as well which were super fun too and less crowded.”
The following and last heat of the day seemed like a done deal midway through with World No. 5 Italo Ferreira (BRA) in a commanding position and Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) in second. But as waves seemed to no longer offer any sections, Ian Crane (USA) somehow found an inside ride with a clean vertical wall to attack on his backhand for an excellent 8.50, moving right into first place.
McGillivray wasn’t going to stop trying and as he swung onto a set wave, the South African locked in a succession of clean carves for a 7.77 to overtake Ferreira in the dying minute of their battle, ending the run of the event’s highest seed in impressive fashion. California’s Crane paddled in victorious and is guaranteed his biggest result in recent years.
“I haven’t claimed a wave in a while but I don’t know I was just so happy to make the heat,” Crane said. “I’ve never made it out of that round in a 10,000 so I was just so happy. Watching the waves before our heat it looked really fat so I knew I had a good score just cause I was able to do good turns.”
Senior Manager, Tour & Competition, Travis Logie decided to call competition off for the rest of the day as opportunities became far and few as the tide neared his highest point at Ribeira d’Ilhas. Competitors will be back at 7:30 a.m for the next call on Friday.