A fuller tide made no difference to the women in their Round One matchups with great surfing on display to begin the history-making Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000. With a quick one-heat Round One to get done, Round Two brought out some of the best up-and-coming surfers from around the region, and the world.
Brisa Hennessy dominated her Round One debut with an excellent 8.83, the highest single-wave score of the day, and immaculate 16.50 heat total -- also the day's best. The South Shore, Oahu, native has her local break to train on and it showed brilliantly here at Drill Hall Beach. The 17-year-old just began her plans for a full Qualifying Series (QS) schedule along with the Junior Tour and will be looking for a big result here.
"There are some diamonds in the rough out there, you just have to keep busy and find them. It's gorgeous here, I haven't been to this side of the island yet and it's just amazing. I've been practicing a lot of lefts back home like Kewalos, it's a little longer and mushier than home, but I'm happy to get some training in there. This will be my first year doing the whole QS for a learning experience and hopefully grow through them."
Rachel Presti put on a show of her own with two excellent scores on her dynamic backhand. The Floridian talent put her knowledge of the break to use and waited patiently for her rides -- now, she hopes to turn that experience into a QS result.
"That was so great, I was just trying to get a good wave at the beginning and then back it up really fast," she said. It was a bit difficult to stay in rhythm with some of the lulls out there in our heat, but this is my favorite place and I love surfing here. Surfing here before helps a lot because you know where to sit and what waves to look at. It's nice to be competing in a QS3,000 after coming up through the QS1,000s and making some heats."
Malibu, California's Frankie Harrer found an 8.17 to begin her campaign here after winning her first QS event at the Wahine Pipe Pro just two weeks ago. Harrer took that confidence and put it on display with a commanding performance that left her opponents in a combination situation (needing two new scores) when the final horn sounded.
"I was a little nervous trying to get some scores on the board at the start, but that allowed me to open up a bit more at the end which was great," she said. "I don't think I've ever surfed a wave on my forehand that's open like this so it's really cool.
"Barbados is such a good place and I haven't been here since the Pro Junior at Soup Bowl -- it feels great to be back here. I haven't actually been on this side so it's a cool contrast to see both."
While Zoe McDougall took control of the opening heat, Maddie Peterson's last-minute heroics earned her a spot into Round Three over Costa Rican Emily Gussoni with a 7.33 on her last scoring ride. The New Jersey native finished her Junior Tour career last November on this very island at Soup Bowl and now looks forward to building her QS with a big result here.
"This is my favorite place and I thought I'd never be back here to compete so when they announced this event I was so happy," Peterson said. "The first heat of any event I'm always a little shaky and when you don't get a fast start it's even worse on the nerves. This year I just want to accumulate points, since I couldn't get into the QS6,000s in Australia, and just earn my way into the bigger events next year."
A 7:30 a.m. EDT call will determine an 8:00 a.m. start for either Round Three of the women or Round Two of men. Tune in live at 8:00 a.m. to see more.