Hitting the water to christen the double elimination were John Skye (RRD / Naish), Alex Mussolini (Tabou), Francisco Porcella (Simmer / Dakine / MFC) and Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde / MFC). From the outset Porcella and Campello took charge of the heat, selecting the best-set waves and stringing together the most technical rides.
Mussolini and Skye both looked uncharacteristically off the boil, producing only sparse glimpses of form within a somewhat disappointing heat. To the contrary, Campello excelled, delivering consistent quality in a comprehensive heat that saw him almost effortlessly advance. Joining him was Porcella, who looked to have stepped his sailing up several notches to happily outclass his rivals.
Moving onto heat 35, Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra) emerged as the man to beat. The risk taking Frenchman settled on a happy compromise between his usual balls-to-the-wall approach, and solid, secure riding.
Having dominated the heat from the green flag, the remaining sailor to advance came down to a challenge between Phil Horrocks (JP / NeilPryde) and Camille Juban (Gun / MFC), with the heat’s remaining sailor, Graham Ezzy (Dakine) looking largely unthreatening.
Ultimately it was Juban that won the judges over, having produced a fluent display of wave riding that edged Horrocks out the game thanks to better wave selection, and consequently higher scoring rides.
Dropping wind and swell forced competition to be placed on standby for much of the afternoon, before the heavyweight heat 36 could commence late into the day. Pitching Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde), Danny Bruch (Exocet / Severne / MFC), Marcilio Browne (Fanatic / North) and local Titik Lopes against each other, this was always going to be a touch-and-go battle.
Excelling in the super-fluky conditions, Polakow rose up to deliver some stunning sailing that clearly separated him from his three rivals. In contrast, local sailor Lopes had some promising looking waves, but never delivered any rides that made any real impact on his score sheet.
This left Bruch and Browne in a stand-off. Looking solid, Bruch sailed well but couldn’t match the Brazilian’s fluid and technical sailing, which included two goitas. Browne and Polakow advanced.
Wrapping up the day’s sailing was heat 37, which saw local hotshot Djo Silva (Angulo) give his rival PWA regulars a wake-up call. Fending off Silva’s persistent attacks were Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) and Dario Ojeda (Simmer / MFC / Mormaii), who had to dig deep to surpass the on form Cabo Verde local and secure their positions in the next round.
The double elimination will resume with the second round tomorrow morning, with a first possible start to competition scheduled for 10.30 am.