Since this is the highest point-rewarding division for each team, all the nations applauded every single wave that was surfed. The flags of the world moved from one podium to another; bringing the Olympic spirit to the Portuguese coast once again.
The surfer of the day
USA team member, Ben Bourgeois, WCT surfer and 1996 World Junior Champ, was the surfer of the day, scoring 17.83 and 18.17 in his first and second round heats respectively achieving an amazing 90% points average.
The great wave selection, smooth-style surfing and powerful moves gave Bourgeois the first place in both heats. "This is a lucky day!" Bourgeois said, "I'm feeling good, I'm having fun, the waves are coming to me! Its always good to be part of the US Team, luckily we have a break between the WCT events right now, so I can be here in this great contest".
He will now join countrymen Nat Young, Dillon Perillo and CJ Hobgood, who also surfed well, in the third round.
The Mexican dark horse causes the upset of the day
Australian Dayyan Neve, one four WCT surfers in this event, faced a highly motivated Diego Cadena of Mexico in the second round of the Main Event.
Neve started the contest well, scoring the highest combined score of the Open division so far (18.67), comprising a perfect 10 and an excellent 8.67. He was really confident, until he faced Mexican star, Diego Cadena and Simon Merchand of France.
While Neve was falling off his board and having a hard time finding the right waves, Merchand and Cadena were ripping. The Mexican sealed the heat in the last ten minutes, when he combined a series of powerful top to bottom moves that were rewarded with an 8.83 and an 8, creating the fifth best score of the event so far.
"It feels good to know it (that he beat a WCT star). Anyway, during the heat I thought I was losing. At the beginning I couldn't find a wave, but then a right brought me back to life. Then I found the good ones and pushed my limits", Cadena said after his heat. "If you don't risk you don't win. I was mad and decided to put all on the line, that wave came and I knew I had to do something good… I was lucky to land that reverse."
Costa Rica in victories
One of the nations that has shown a great deal of development on the last few years, Costa Rica, had an almost perfect performance today, with three out of his four Open Men team members going straight into the third round. Of the so called developing surfing countries, Costa Rica's performance today was clearly the best.
Luis Vindas, Jairo Perez and Jason Torres made their way to the third round. Torres posted combined scores of 14.5 y 15.5 in his two heats, attracting the attention of the crowd. His best wave of the day, an 8.5, came when he dropped into a set wave, snapped of the top, got barrelled, made a strong off the lip and ended with an air reverse.
"I am really happy for making it through the heats that I've competed, it is hard, because this is the first time that I compete in the Games. I feel really good with my surfing but not confident, because anything can happen", Jason said and added: "Two heats are not too much. What's important here is winning. But to tell the truth I'm really happy, because I saw lots of surfers from strong countries losing and for me to be "alive" for another round is amazing."
Most of the powerful surfing nations have came to Portugal with some of their best athletes but the Brazilian Team didn't show up with any WCT nor WQS surfers. Despite this they are already showing that they have arrived with one of their major weapons: consistency.
Of all the participating countries, the only one that has all their surfers in the main event is Brazil.
Considering that this event runs double elimination rounds it is still is too early to chose favourites but its clear that the Brazil is hot property.
New Vice President
The International Surfing Association Biennial General Meeting (BGM) was held yesterday in the Costa de Caparica Hotel. One of the most important facts of the night was the election of two Vice Presidents. After the votes were counted Peruvian Karin Sierralta will be the new Vice President assuming responsibilities next Monday.
Mike Gerard from United States was re elected while Maile Aguerre from Hawaii, will leave the ISA Executive Committee next Sunday but will continue with her duties as the Pan American President.