PRAIA DE SANTA BARBARA, Sao Miguel – Azores Islands (Wednesday, September 18, 2018) – The Azores Islands Pro resumed in picture-perfect conditions on the morning of Day 2 with three-to-four foot waves and a glassy lineup. The remaining 12 heats of Round 1 were completed in beautiful waves, but unfortunately mild side-onshore winds came to spoil the party as soon as the top seeds in Round 2 paddled out.
Current Qualifying Series No. 2 Alex Ribeiro (BRA) enjoyed the very last bit of the good half of the day in Heat 1, Round 2 and posted two decent scores to make his way into Round 3.
“I feel great and always love coming here,” Ribeiro said. “Conditions were a little bit slower than they’ve been but still super fun and I’m stoked to make my heat. The forecast is pretty exciting for the next few days so I look forward to competing more.”
Despite nursing an ankle injury sustained on this trip overseas, Jackson Baker (AUS) managed to surf through the pain and win his second heat in Azores. The Australian locked in the highest single score of the second round so far, a solid 7.50 for a massive forehand turns combination.
“When I first got injured I felt the worse and thought I was flying home,” Baker explained. “I left it a couple of days and the physio said it was only a sprain so I did everything I could to get here. I want to surf to my full potential but it still feels a bit stiff. I’m just trying to stay positive, that’s how I got through the injury and I’ll keep pushing through.”
Brasil’s Victor Bernardo broke a long stretch of early exits so far this year, with a solid performance to advance into Round 3. The dynamic regular foot went to the air as the wind continued to come up and landed two 6+ waves for the heat win.
“That onshore really got strong right before my heat,” Bernardo said. “I changed my whole plan, even my board choice, I grabbed a groveler and went for it. Surfing is all about keeping a positive mindset, I’ve lost in first rounds a lot but I know I can do it and will just keep doing my best. ”
Tahitian powerhouse Mihimana Braye (PYF) took the win in Heat 4 before once again competition was called off for the rest of the day as the tide neared its highest point and conditions really deteriorated. In the earlier heats, the biggest performance came from Frenchman Marc Lacomare (FRA) who destroyed the clean rights on his backhand to advance into Round 2 alongside Mitch Crews (AUS).
Competitors will be back at 7:45 a.m Thursday to potentially start back with Heat 5 of Round 2 featuring the recent runner-up in Pantin Jake Marshall (USA) as well as Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Samuel Pupo (BRA) and Ethan Ewing (AUS).
The Azores Islands Pro will unfold from September 17-22, 2019 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 Islands 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, SEAT , MEO amongst others.