Intense Aerial Action For Early Pro Rounds

No holds barred seemed to be the theme of the day, with Challenger Finals and Round 1 of the Pro Men and Women. Today’s conditions had plenty of wind, sunshine with consistent head high waves that occasionally reached logo high on sets.

Challenger Rounds

The Women’s Challenger round was won by Dominica Osman (Argentina), with Camila Curinao making her way into second, only just ahead of 12-year-old local, Noni Stuven. Dominica dominated the heat, with a good top-to-bottom surf style of riding on well-selected waves to qualify for the Pro Women’s competition.

The Men’s Challenger final had whittled down 24 contenders into a four-man final. Vicente Gonzalez started strongly, with some good turns and an aerial in his first wave. He then backed that up with plenty of time to spare, to assert a dominant lead that he maintained the entire final.

The battle for the second position was more intense between Lucas Meldrum, Finn Mellon, and Tomer Shamgar (Israel). Shamgar was sitting in fourth place for most of the heat, but rode a peeling wave from very deep and finished with a perfect aerial to jump into second place in the final minute of the heat.

Pro Men’s Round 1

The Pro Men’s started with a cracking heat that included 2023 World Champion Marcilio Browne (Brazil), former Chile finalist Camille Juban (Guadeloupe), Adam Warchol (Poland), and Shamgar. By the end, less than two points would separate first from fourth. Browne’s perfection was unmatched in the first exchange, with a 7.23 that included multiple top-to-bottom turns in the pocket and a solid aerial to finish. He found reasonable back-up waves, but nothing that matched his first. After a shaky start, Juban showcased his aerial excellence with two airs on one wave. In the last two minutes and still needing a decent back-up, he did a radical tweaked air off the main peak to take the lead.

Alex Vargas (Chile) nailed his start to Heat 2 with a 6.50 on his first wave, schooling the spectators in how to ride Matanzas. He easily found several back-up scores to maintain the lead, while Takara Ishii (Japan) just knocked out Takuma Sugi (Japan) and Dieter Van der Eyken in a tight aerial battle for second place.

Federico Morisio (Italy) exhibited the results of his lengthy stays in Chile, sailing fast and timing aerials perfectly. On a smaller set, he pulled off multiple aerials and a goiter to lock in his progression to the next round. Local Arnaud Frennet scored a good set from deep and did several critical aerials to get the best wave of the heat but couldn’t find a back-up. Miguel Chapuis (Spain) was sitting in third for most of the heat but pulled a goiter right in the last minute to sneak into second place.

Morgan Noireaux and Jules Denel crafted a complete French domination of Heat 4. Morgan’s superior wave knowledge, aggressive turns, and aerial prowess had him pegged as a safe Round 1 bet for progression. But Jules Denel hammered home a 7.77, with multiple, beautifully timed aerials to take the win.

Antoine Martin continued the French attack in Heat 5 with a good mix of fin slides in the pocket, aerials, and a one-handed lip hit for his best wave score of 7.77. Liam Dunkerbeck (Spain) just snuck into second place with a solid aerial performance.

Last year’s winner, Philip Koster (Germany), tested his bag of tricks with big tweaked aerials, power turns, and some goiter and wave 360 attempts. But it was Marino Gil Gheradi (Spain) who threw solid spray, made good aerials, and even pulled a taka to progress in first place.

Thomas Traversa (France) and Victor Fernandez (Spain) pulled multiple aerials and hard-hitting turns in the pocket to fight off local ripper Benjamin Fabres and progress.

But the show-stopper was Julian Salmonn (Germany), who came out with guns blazing in the final heat of the Pro Men’s. He connected four strong aerials to score an 8.63, the highest wave score of the day. Bernd Roediger (Hawaii) had to settle for second but still got the third highest heat total of the day.

Pro Women’s Round 1

Heat 1 of the Pro Women’s had dominant performances from Justyna Sniady (Poland) and Sarah Hauser (Hawaii). Both showcased strong snaps in the pocket and attacked the end section.

Lina Erpenstein (Germany) had her best wave in the final minute of Heat 2 and did multiple lip smacks to take the win ahead of Maria Morales Navarro.

Young gun Alexia Quintana (Spain) had a stand-out performance with fast snaps under the lip of some good-sized sets. Quintana was well-rewarded and finished with the highest heat total of the women. Lisa Wermeister just snuck into second with some great wave selection and strong turns.

The dropping evening wind of Heat 4 didn’t stop Jane Seman (Australia), who found multiple good waves in her heat and attacked sections with speed. Pauline Katz (Switzerland) let her Canary Islands experience shine to cement her position through to Round 3.

The Pro Men’s and Women’s are likely to continue tomorrow, with finals possibly running on the weekend.

Follow the live competition scores on LiveHeats. The full Live Broadcast will be streamed on the IWT Wave Tour YouTube channel, and the official IWT event page.  Follow on social media channels @IWT_Wave_Tour and @PWAworldtour.

Photos by @fishbowldiaries

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