Stepping onto the black sand of Santa Barbara beach, the competitors of the Azores Pro were greeted by meagre offerings from the Atlantic. But 'QS surfers are accustomed to 2ft wobbling peaks, so they proceeded to launch lofty boosts, and demolish feeble sections all day long.
The highlight from day one was a perfect ten from WCT surfer, Felipe Toledo, who made the most of his slender frame and refined aerial repertoire. All of the top seeds cruised through, and, unsurprisingly, those hailing from lands with lacklustre waves seemed to thrive.
On day two the waves started much the same, and once again the competitors made feeble bumps seem like thoroughly rippable walls. The clear standouts were those straggling WCT competitiors currently staring into the abyss, and they made the quality known as some larger lines pushed in throughout the afternoon.
Brett Simpson posted a solid 8.00, followed by 9.13 on one of the fun-looking lefts which started to pulse during the Round of 48. "It's probably one of the better heats all together I've had in a while," said Simpson. "It felt nice and luckily we got some fun, clean little waves. This wave tends to trick you, you see it outside and then it moves back and forth, so I was just trying to stick to the lefts, I like to use my backhand when it's small."
Fellow WCT surfer, and winner of the US Open, Alejo Muniz dominated his heat with some razor sharp small wave surfing. "I had a really tough heat yesterday on the high tide," said Muniz. "You always want to surf well, whether you make it or not, so my strategy today was to just surf better and put together two big scores.
Other heat winners of note included the Hawaiian, Granger Larsen, who currently sits just outside of WCT qualification, and Frederico Morais, part of the new generation of Portuguese surfing.
"I'm stoked to make my first heat in a Prime, it was a tough one !" Morais said. "Conditions are not easy so I'm stoked and I can't wait for the next round. My bet was on the lefts like in Lacanau, I went out there doing pretty much the same thing and it's been working so I'll keep going!"
As this is written, day three is already under way, so for more information click here: http://www.aspeurope.com/azores/