Bright sunshine, steady wind around 20 knots, and half-mast to logo-high set waves allowed the completion of the single elimination, and the first two rounds of the double elimination.
A 14-minute heat duration was set with the best 2 rides to count – no jumps.
Phil Horrocks (JP / NeilPryde) proved his potential in the first heat of the morning when he disposed of Scott McKercher (Starboard / Severne) to advance to the third round.
McKercher couldn’t find any decent set waves while Horrocks racked-up several quality rides on some of the best sections going against the 2004 world champ.
Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde) caused the day’s next upset when he ousted current world number 3 Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer) in a really close 3rd round heat.
The young Brit expertly hunted down the best waves against form player Fernandez, who’s won the previous two PWA wave events back-to-back.
Tactical wave selection and outright determination also helped Klaas Voget (Fanatic / NeilPryde) overcome stiff opposition in the form of Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde).
Polakow seemed to concentrate on the shorter more intense bowls, but the technique failed him as Voget found the longer walls and a larger variety of turns to beat the Australian legend and book his place in the quarterfinals.
The semis were so fiercely contested they could easily have been full-blown finals.
Baker started well against Seadi in the first semi with a mammoth long ride that mixed both aerial and turning skill in a spectacular blend.
But soon local knowledge paid off and Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish) replied with a stack of amazing waves featuring airs, cutbacks, big late hits, and some nice speed work to get around and over the white-water.
Levi Siver (Starboard / NeilPryde) and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) had a slow to start to their semi-final, which was pretty light on decent surf at the beginning.
Eventually Siver gained the edge with a slightly more top to bottom approach and wave choice that allowed him to make more of the steep faces he’d sniffed out.
Master tacticians Baker and Pritchard went head to head in the loser’s final. Both had previously stayed upwind of the peak and used both backhand and front side turns to score high, as well as keep the option to scream down the line if the right ones opened up.
But this time, not wanting to get into a scrap for the priority and positioning, Pritchard stayed near the inside and cut loose, freeing his fins Brazilian style, whilst Baker stuck with linking the outside sections all the way through to the beach.
Keeping it tactical paid off and Baker took the win and third place ahead of the American who’d gone all-out to express himself and let rip.
Single Elimination Final
Both Siver and Seadi appeared to be in second gear at the start of the final. Siver was visibly not enjoying the stronger wind and Seadi, although showing flashes of his potential couldn’t quite get up top speed and find his natural rhythm.
Siver found some chunkier swells and scored a few nice thumps off the lip later on, but then Seadi pulled an insane contorted Goyta to finish a fantastic ride in the dying seconds.
There were no arguments as to who’d won and Siver could hold his head up high after one the most impressive showings we’ve seen from him in some time.
Seadi was cool and calm about his win when a lesser mortal could have let the expectation get to him whilst under the media spotlight.
‘It was like dream come true for me to win at home here in front of my friends and family’ said the down-to earth superstar. ‘Windsurfing is not so well known here in Brazil, so to have a contest like this and the chance to show this surfing-mad country what I do, and who I compete against is amazing. I tried to relax in the final and concentrate on my own game. I could see my house from the water and that comforted me. I knew Levi had sailed really well but I did my own thing and got some nice little waves and a really sick Goyta at the end!’
Seadi has gone about his business in a calculated manner so far and you get the impression that just isn’t going to change. Whoever surfaces at the end of the double elimination will have to bring something more than special to match Seadi’s electric and energetic style.
Later in the day the double elimination was started and the first two rounds completed. With a jump thrown in to count, the level of action went through the roof.
Heat of the day was without doubt Colin Sifferlen (Starboard / Simmer) versus Alex Mussolini (JP / NeilPryde). Sifferlen landed a 10-point air chacho bolt upright and Mussolini replied with a 9.5 super-high back-arched back loop. Sifferlen’s wave scores helped him squeak through.
So far it appears that McKercher is on the warpath and might have plans on a double elimination charge. Also surviving the second round was impressive youngster Camille Juban (Quatro) who took a mighty scalp when he defeated Marcilio Browne (Mistral / Gaastra). Who knows what the third round will throw up?