The Caparica Junior Pro, opening event of the European Junior Qualifying Series resumed today in pumping three-to-five foot surf at Praia do Paraiso, to deliver an exciting day of surfing in the Portuguese sun. While conditions degraded in the afternoon with strong cross-shore winds, the excellent level of performance provided a great show for the crowds.
Yesterday's top scorer Joao Moreira (PRT), 17, continued his path of destruction through the third round, claiming a near-perfect 18.10 heat total for his slick and powerful approach on the long waves on offer. After two days of competition, Moreira is looking a strong contender to keep the Caparica event title in the country.
"I started on a proper bomb this morning, a big right-hander on my forehand and hit a couple of good sections with lots of spray, and managed to do a massive turn on the closeout section," Moreira analyzed. "I already had two good scores so I didn't have any pressure and really pushed myself on that one. This afternoon was a whole different story, the pier creates a lot of backwash and it's really hard to finish your wave properly on the high tide."
Moreira then went head-to-head with Luis Diaz (CNY), 17, in an exciting Round 4 matchup that saw the young Canary Island surfer take a slim advantage. The regular vs goofy battle didn't disappoint with both surfers fighting for the lead over the course of the 25-minute heat.
"It was super clean and easy to read this morning, I took my time and selected the right waves," Diaz said. "In that last heat it was a lot trickier and I had to stay busy and keep catching waves to try to find the better ones. All the guys were ripping today and I try to concentrate on my surfing and not pay too much attention to the other guys, but yes it feels nice to beat the best guy of the day."
Other notable Portuguese threat Luis Perloiro (PRT), 17, advanced easily through his morning bout with a solid total, but had a close-call in the afternoon blown-out surf, still managing to narrowly make his way into day 3 of competition.
"I was chatting with my coach and he encouraged me to go further south where the big lefts were this morning, it was a good advice cause the rights are a lot mellower," Perloiro said. "I managed to get a couple good scores on my forehand, I surf very often here and felt very comfortable. This second heat on high tide the waves were closing out more and I got very very lucky to make it through. I hope I can make a few more heats and hopefully surf better again."
Caribbean up-and-comer Leo Paul Etienne (GLP), 17, performed consistently throughout the day to belt two heat wins and advance into the 4-man quarters, a first in the young surfer's career.
"I managed to get good scores even though I still had slow starts, but I'm happy," Etienne said. "I've never gone past Round 3 in the past so I'm stoked and I want to make a few more. I'm going to do the whole tour this year and I'd like to rank in the top 5 to qualify for the World Junior Championships, I still have one more season in the juniors, so no pressure."
Organizers will re-assess conditions on Friday at 7:30AM for a potential early re-start of the competition.