June 10th 2003 (O’Neill Europe) The O’Neill Deep Blue Open returned to the high performance left-hand break of Lohi’s for the concluding heats of round two and the first six heats of round three. Classic conditions graced the line up throughout the day with solid 2.5-meter waves consistently spinning from the southernmost tip of Lohifushi Island. With barely a drop of water out of place, the Mobile boat drop contest in the Maldives was in store for some insane surfing.
As the heats raced by the performance levels went through the roof with many of the seasoned WQS surfers hailing the day’s conditions as the best they had ever witnessed at a WQS event.
Amongst the many stand out performances witnessed during the course of the day, was that of Italian born Federico Pilurzu who currently resides in Costa Rica. Federico attracted the spotlight this morning when he posted the highest scoring combination with a massive 9.7 and 6.83. Disposing of his challengers on his way to round 3.
“Yeah I’m super stoked with that heat! My first wave was really bad but then the next one was better and my last ride was just crazy! This is definitely the best wave I have ever surfed in a contest. Said Federico. “My 9.7 was insane! I started off with a roundhouse and a couple of cutbacks, with a good floater at the end and then just boosted, I’m so stoked.
The ever-strong Brazilian contingent that made the trip to the Maldives pushed each other to the limits, as they got progressively more radical as the day went on. Joao Gutemberg started the ball rolling in heat 7 with a fierce demonstration of style and composure to progress to round three.
“It is perfect out there but really hard work, everyone was surfing really well and there was a lot of hassling in the line up but I made it! Said Joao. “It’s paradise out here. The waves are not huge but so rippable. I’ve never experienced anything like it before at a WQS event. He added.
Flying the flag for Great Britain in round two was the British duo of Alan Stokes and Jake Boex. Taking the fight directly to their fellow competitors the Brits convincingly advanced to tomorrow’s competition. Boex, no stranger to the Maldives, closely trailed Brazilian Jean de Silva for much of the 25 minute heat before finding the tube for the second time to snatch the heat.
“Yeah I’m well pleased with that result. It was pretty close throughout the entire heat. When I got that 7.5 I knew I was in with a reasonable chance. I just needed one to back it up and luckily that set came through at the end which was pretty fortunate. Said Jake. “It’s pretty unusual for a wave at Lohi’s to hold open and barrel like that so I’m really happy I was able to sneak inside! he added.
In heat 8 of round two, Tahitian Alain Riou traded hits with Australian Zahn Foxton and Hawaiian Ian Walsh, the lead changing with each wave ridden. In the twilight moments and requiring a healthy 7.1 to slip in to the top spot, Riou plucked off another set wave and as it wrapped itself around the island he set about destroying the lip on his way to victory.
“It was a really good heat for me. Said Riou. “The waves were super good, such good conditions I hope I can continue through to the next round…this is my first time in the Maldives and I love it, it`s such a good place for a competition.
Hawaii’s Kekoa Bacalso remained in total control of his round two clash, carefully picking off the set waves for a undisputable victory. Kekoa’s devastating form continued in his round three bout. The young Hawaiian next hits the water in round tomorrow in round 4.
“It’s pretty much perfect out there right now! Said Kekoa. ” I was trying to sit deep and pick all the sets and it worked pretty good for me. Contests don’t really get any better than this and with everyone here surfing really well it’s going to just come down to wave selection. Lohi’s is the sickest wave ever, it’s a lot like Rocky Point in Hawaii but twice as long, it’s so rippable out there!
Australian Adam Robertson remained focused throughout his round 2 appointment to ensure his spot in round three.
“Stoked to come through that! Said Robertson. ” I was abit shaky at the start of the heat. I got a good one to start but lost my concentration abit afterwards but manage to come through at the end…the conditions out there are unreal today.
With the first two rounds witnessing some awesome surfing all attention started to turn to the higher rated WQS seeds that were set to hit the water in the late afternoon. With the fierce competition already raging, the round three competitors had to find their form and pull out all the stops to stay in the contest. Great Britain’s Sam Lamiroy answered the call and dug deep in his heat two clash to proceed to Round 4.
“I’m relieved that’s for sure! Said Lamiroy. “It’s so perfect out there and everyone’s just ripping in these conditions it’s just so good to make it through. I got a good start scoring a 7.0 on a fairly small wave and then was able to back that up with another high scoring ride so I’m just stoked. The waves are amazing. On some of the waves there is hardly a drop of water out of place simply awesome!
The 3rd O’Neill Deep Blue Open is gaining momentum as it charges through the remainder of Round 3 and into round 4. With such perfect conditions on offer and a world of talent ripping in the Indian throughout the early stages, who knows what the Maldives will witness as we draw closer to the final. ASP Contest director summed up the days event.
“How can you describe it? Said Matt ” It was absolutely perfect conditions for Lohi’s, perfect wind, swell direction and swell size. Just perfect for high performance surfing. The Judges have the hardest job especially as we advance through the rounds and the higher seeded surfers making an appearance. The standard has elevated since yesterday and it’s really hard to separate them. There has been guys eliminated holding two 7 (point waves scores) It’s serious out there! He stated.