Daniel Alves: going down

The Ladies and Drop Knee division saw a rich mix of nationalities and high performance riding in tricky 2-3 foot peaky waves at Praia Grande, Sintra.

In Round 1 of the Drop Knee, Nuno Leitao scored a near perfect 8.5 and managed to back it up with a 7.5 to hold the highest individual wave score and highest combined heat score of the day. Unfortunately Leitao was unable to keep his momentum throughout Round 2, finishing third behind Raul Reguera in second and Mason Rose taking out that final heat of the day.

Marina Taylor, the only female Drop Knee competitor in the event, put on an impressive performance to top local rider, Nuno Neto in their Round 2 heat. Both will advance into Round 3, facing some of the best seeded Drop Knee riders in the world. Taylor will face Ardiel Jiminez, Dave Winchester and Brazilian ripper Daniel Alves, where she will have the chance to cause huge upsets if victorious.

Other Drop Knee standouts included Pierre Maroun, Aden Kleve and Miguel Feliciano who will compete in Round 3 against the local wild card Renato Paco and the top seven seeded Drop Knee riders.

The international contingent of Ladies put on a show of stylish, high performance riding, with icons like Neymara Carvalho and Lilly Pollard fighting their way into the final 16. A fierce Japanese presence has put defending champion, Miya Inoue, Ayaka Susuki Akiko Sato and Sari Oohara into a commanding position, taking up a quarter of the final 16 slots, with two on either side of the draw, making an all Japanese final a very possible scenario.

With a slow start to the 2011 Women’s World Tour, the Sintra Portugal Pro has become a key event on the tour, bringing a diverse field of competitors from all corners of the globe together, competing and pushing each others riding to new heights.