PRAIA DE GUINCHO, Cascais - Portugal - The ASP Prime Cascais Billabong Pro, resumed around lunchtime to complete eight heats in pumping 5-to-8-foot surf at Guincho. The remaining members of the elite Top 34 in contention in Cascais put on a dominant performance to secure most of the coveted spots in the Round of 16.
Stop No. 5 of 5 on the European Qualifying Series, this event is extremely important in both the regional title race and the WCT qualifying campaigns of the World's Best. It will also help determine the winner of the Portuguese Waves Series - Cascais Trophy.
Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 26, and Michel Bourez (PYF) 28, put on an incredible show in the final heat of the day, navigating brilliant barrels to round up the no-loser round. Bourez, on his forehand, put on the brakes to slot himself into a standup barrel and concluded the ride with a powerful re-entry for a near-perfect 9.87. Duvignac answered on his backhand, racing through a speedy barrel for a clean exit and a long roundhouse cutback that was rewarded a 9.57 by the judges panel. Duvignac eventually managed to find a stronger backup on another lefthander and took the win.
â€œIt was a special heat, Michel is one of my favourites and when I saw that his wave was barrelling I knew he was getting a good score, so I thought now I have to go big or go home,â€ Duvignac stated. â€œI didn't get any good waves for the first fifteen minutes and then I got this crazy left, I pulled in and got a sick barrel so I was super stoked when I came out.â€
World No.9 Jordy Smith (ZAF) 26, one of the most powerful surfers on tour, demonstrated his talent on a large righthander with a combination of critical turns. Ponctuating the ride with a huge layback and almost losing control coming down the face of a double-overhead set, Smith stayed strong on his feet to collect a 9.40 and moved on directly to the Round of 16.
â€œIts pretty tough out there and there's a lot of water moving,â€ Smith said. â€œThere is so much power out there that if you place the board in the right place you can find yourself getting some big sections and big scores. I chose a round tail for this heat, like I said, there is so much power that when the sections do arise you can really push it and give it a good jam.â€
With a solid lead over C.J Hobgood (USA) and Davey Cathels (AUS), Smith kept building momentum and caught another great wave, on his backhand this time. Three solid turns and a ton of spray later, Smith added another excellent score to bump his heat total up to 18.07 out of 20, the highest of the event so far.
â€œI came here cause I had never been to Cascais and I've always heard it's a beautiful place. There's a lot of swell here and I thought, why not come down and have a little headstart before Peniche.â€ Smith continued. â€œIt's another way for me to stay in form and maintain my focus. It's a lot of work out there, there's a lot of paddling, just before my heat started I spent probably 8 or 9 minutes just trying to get out. It's a lot of energy and I'd rather save it for the later days, but you know when you get those good waves it's all worth it.â€
Wigolly Dantas (BRA) 24, battled his way into a round 5 berth, opposed to an in-form local hero Jose Ferreira (PRT). Dantas picked up a set wave to launch into a massive frontside turn, carved his way into the power section and finished with a daring blast on the closeout. With a 9.33 under his belt, the Brazilian was however never safe in the lead, and Ferreira took advantage of a couple of similar waves to post two good scores and steal the lead. In the final moments of the exchange, Dantas picked up another big lefthander to perform two smooth carving turns and notch the winning score.
â€œI thought that if I made it on my first turn it was going to be good,â€ Dantas said. â€œI knew I would have to go big to win, and the wave almost closed on me so I made another turn and came out safe.The white water out there is pretty crazy and I got a couple of waves on my head.â€
Brett Simpson (USA) 29, seemed in control of Heat 3 up until the defending event champion Jadson Andre (BRA) 24, started on a long and fast left on his forehand. Andre, fresh off an excellent second place in France and brimming with confidence, unloaded three crisp power carves to net an 8.33 in the dying seconds of their matchup and take the win with a narrow edge of 0.09 over Simpson. The Brazilian will skip the elimination round 4 and have a shot at another great result in Cascais when competition recommences.
â€œIt's really tough out there and if you get the wrong wave you're going to pay a lot,â€ Andre commented. â€œI went way out the back and was waiting for a set wave because I knew I was needing a solid score. I couldn't believe it when that last one came through, it was such a nice wave. I knew I had to do at least two big turns and the wave was pretty big and clean. I'm so stoked I got that score, it feels great to come back strong.â€
Jeremy Flores (FRA) 26, took a crucial round 3 win in his re-qualifying campaign over fellow French Marc Lacomare (FRA) and unpredictable high-flyer Carlos Munoz (CRI). Flores dominated the 35-minute confrontation from the start and sealed the deal on a beautiful righthander, with four consecutive turns and flawless transitions.
â€œThat wave was just perfect ! I paddled into it and saw that it had some wall,â€ Flores described. â€œI wasn't sure if it was going to close out, so on the first turn I didn't want to push too hard, but then it kept on running and that was the best wave I've got this whole event. Everything is a bonus for me now after that shocker of a year that I've had. I want to make heats and get that confidence back.â€
Surfers and event official will reconvene at 7:30am Friday morning for a potential early start of the fourth round of competition. Up first when the event resumes will be the last Portuguese in contention Jose Ferreira (PRT) against Marco Fernandez (BRA).