SATA Airlines Azores Pro 2014: perfect surf at Sao Miguel | Photo: ASP/Damien Poullenot

The world's best surfers have kicked off the SATA Airlines Azores Pro 2014, at Praia de Santa Barbara, on Sao Miguel Island, Azores.

The decisive Prime event opened with excellent four-to-six foot hollow waves, offering deep barrels and perfect wave faces for high-performance maneuvers. Caio Ibelli impressed with the highest heat score of the day.

"I've been here five days already, and yesterday the waves got big and I broke all my board. I was kind of bummed, but I went out there and looked for the barrels cause I don't feel comfortable doing turns on this board. There's nothing better to get barreled like that early in the morning, I'm stoked to be here in the Azores," says Ibelli.

Vasco Ribeiro, the event wildcard, lacks experience in Azores, but he clearly dominated his heat against current QS leader Matt Banting.

I'm really happy, I think I got a little bit too excited with the waves, so I'm stoked that I got a couple. I've been watching the previous heats closely, and I knew I could get the scores with turns, but yes when the occasional barrel came across I went for it," underlines Ribeiro.

Hiroto Ohhara, from Japan, turned the heat in the last minutes with a fast right-hander, as he came flying out of the barrel to collect an 8.67. Seconds later, he backed it up with several carving maneuvers to turn the lead and advance in first.

"I almost fell in the barrel but thankfully my board just kept the line and I made it. Before that wave I was starting to get nervous, I wanted to paddle over to another peak and couldn't find the right ones, so I guess I got lucky. Azores remind me of Niijima a little bit, it's very similar and I love it here," concluded Ohhara.

SATA Airlines Azores Pro 2014 | Round 2 Matchups

Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Marco Fernandez (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Jack Freestone (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Mason Ho (HAW)
Jesse Mendes (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Nathan Hedge (AUS)
Tom Whitaker (AUS), Steven Pierson (PYF), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Granger Larsen (HAW), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Lucas Silveira (BRA), Santiago Muniz (ARG), Matt Banting (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Italo Ferreira (BRA), Willian Cardoso (BRA), Marc Lacomare (FRA), Vicente Romero (ESP)
Joan Duru (FRA), Mitchel Coleborn (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA), Nathan Yeomans (USA)
Jose Ferreira (PRT), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), Cooper Chapman (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Brett Simpson (USA), Yadin Nicol (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Hiroto Arai (JPN)
Michael Dunphy (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Wigolly Dantas (BRA), Kiron Jabour (HAW)