The women's QS10,000 ABANCA Galicia Classic Surf Pro got underway today in tricky three-to-four foot surf, affected by the strong Northeasterly winds of Pantin.
The second, and only other event in that category after the VANS US Open of Surfing, Pantin this year will have an even greater implication in deciding next year's class of Championship Tour competitors than ever before.
Of course at that level of competition you'd expect the world's best surfers to come to the party, and they did just that. Of the 12 heats of Round 2 where the top seeded surfers entered, 8 were won by current CT athletes and virtual qualifiers from the QS top spots.
Bronte Macaulay got the show underway in the first heat of the second round with a dominant effort to post a 14.93 heat total, the second-highest of the whole round. Her highest score of 8.83 reflected the near-perfection of two big drawn-out carves on a clean open face and a little re-entry to cap off her effort on a long left.
"It was really tricky out there and tough to decide whether to sit on the right by the rocks or try to find lefts in the middle," she said. "I feel like I was in between for most of the heat and I'm happy I got a good one at the end just to make sure I go through. This event is really important for re-qualifying and it's our second ever QS10,000 so I just want to back myself up."
Current World No. 8 Tatiana Weston-Webb transitioned from the Pacific waters of Tahiti to chillier conditions in Galicia perfectly and posted one of the strongest results of the day as well with two solid scores. The powerful goofy foot went with the progressive approach on a big, fins-free closeout turn to seal the deal in the last few minutes of her heat and solidify her win.
"I only landed last night and am still struggling a little bit so I was just out there looking for an open wave to do a couple of turns," she said. "I just came from Tahiti where I was watching the guys comp and having a little vacation. Watching big Teahupo'o from the channel is like a 7th wonder in the world, it's absolutely amazing."
Two-time winner in Pantin, Sage Erickson comes fresh off winning the US Open on home soil and carried her momentum into the opening day in Galicia. The talented regular foot did struggle to find her rhythm at first but managed to post two big scores before the horn to make her way into Round 3.
"That's not the way I want to start a heat ever but I just thought there's tons of opportunities out there and I embraced the challenge," she explained. "Waves have been so fun these past few days and the forecast looks good for this week so I'm excited and I hope I can perform a little better in the next heats."
In the final heat of Round 2, Amuro Tsuzuki demolished a left on her backhand for a 9.07 to take the round's highest combined heat total. A steady riser through the QS ranks, the Japanese surfer advanced ahead of World No. 10 Johanne Defay into Round 3.
"My ultimate dream is to be a Championship Tour surfer," she said in her post-heat interview, and the level she displayed on that wave proves she's got what it takes to battle with the best in the game if she gets the right wave.
Competition wrapped up with the first half of Round 3 early this evening and witnessed surfers go to town on the lefts again with some spectacular scores dropping again. The day's massive upset result was the shock elimination of Nikki Van Dijk after she received an interference in her opening heat in Pantin.
Surfers will be back for a 9 a.m call for the women's field Monday while the men will come in later around 12 p.m for a potential start of their event.
The ABANCA Galicia Classic Surf Pro is scheduled from September 1-7, 2019 at playa de Pantin, Galicia / Spain. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.