After a historic, and at time extremely slow day at North Point, in the last heat of the day, defending event champ Sebastian Zietz managed to scrape into what some are now calling the most perfect 10 ever:
Sure there have been bigger, hollower and even longer barrels, but, relative to the conditions and what else was on offer, this wave certainly stands at the front of the pack as one of the most impressive 10 pointers ever in a CT event.
“That wave was mental, just so long, and I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Zeitz said. “I knew it would be a half-decent barrel, but not that good. It’s always good to get through your first heat and earn the day off, but especially when you do it with a tube like that. I’m so stoked.”
Another big performance from the first day of competition saw Slater take a redemptive victory against Leo Fiorvanti, who beat him at the event last year, and was sent packing into round 2 along with Mick Fanning.
“That was a really strange heat,” Slater said. “There were some solid six foot sets coming through, even the odd eight footer, but it was so inconsistent. We seemed to be out of position the whole time. We all had such low scores that the heat was anyones’s until the last minute. It was cool to meet Mick [Fanning] in an early heat and get one up on him and Leo [Leonardo Fioravanti]. Surfing here in a contest is really cool. It’s a great wave, which is rare to score, so the fact they set up here overnight is great for the competition.”
2017 CT Rookie Ian Gouveia made as splash at North Point today with his victory over current Jeep Ratings Leader Owen Wright and Connor O’Leary in Heat 7.
“That was a really dreamy heat for me,” Gouveia said. “My favourite thing to do in surfing is ride backhand barrels, so having North Point with two other guys out is awesome. All of the Brazilians on tour feed off of each other and when I saw Jesse [Mendes] win, I was so stoked and just wanted to go out and get barreled.”
Event wildcard Jesse Mendes upset the competition as he took down 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and CT veteran Wiggolly Dantas in Heat 5. The all-Brazilian match-up saw Mendes hold the lead for the entire heat, creating space for himself with a great wave selection and solid tube rides. Medina fired back to close the gap to a 0.01-point difference, but Mendes continued his rhythm and took the win.
Later on, reigning WSL Champion John John Florence flew through his heat against rookie Frederico Morais and wildcard Jacob Willcox, 2017 World Title contender Jordy Smith was quick to fire off two 5-point rides against Kanoa Igarashi and injury replacement Nat Young.
Jeremy Flores (FRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Jack Freestone (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF) and Julian Wilson (AUS) also earned their tickets to skip Round 2 and advance directly to Round 3 after winning their match-ups today.