O’Neill Deep Blue Open Goes Mobile and Scores Quality Waves At Jailbreaks
After a 2-year hiatus, the O’Neill Deep Blue Open 6-star, prime WQS surf event, today utilized its mobile boat drop option; upping anchor for the short sail to the right-hand break of Jails.
A healthy but inconsistent swell was in residence for the majority of the morning, with a buffeting wind making the going tough for the final 48 surfers left in contention for the title. However, as the day wore on, the Indian Ocean supplied the reef with some flawless conditions for the completion of round 3.
The break of Jails is situated off of the island of Himmafushi, and is fittingly named after the countries prison that is situated directly in front of the main peak. On its day, jails is a super fast and long right-hander and after a shaky start, it started to provide a snapshot of this potential, delivering some long 4 – 5ft, winding walls. This morning, as the first heat of the day hit the water, the tide began to push and increased the wave size from 2ft crumbly faces to 3 – 4+ ft and clean. However, conditions remained inconsistent and the higher scoring set waves continued to be illusive. An in-form Mikey Picon (FRA) led Timmy Reyes for the majority of the heat until Reyes hunted down one of the larger sets to lock in an 8pt score and take the top spot. Both Reyes and Picon advance to the next round eliminating Fabio Gouveia (Brz) and Matt Jones from the contest.
“That was tough, really tough.” Began Reyes. “I was in second for most of that heat and I fell on a really good wave, then I managed to chase down that last wave. I was out of position for it so I really had to race down the line to clear three big sections, I did a few big floaters over them and finally the wave slowed down so I could get some maneuvers in on the open face. I did 4 straight up lip bashes and a tail side re-entry at the end and that was enough to earn me that 8.” He added.
Marecelo Nunes (Brz) and Daniel Redman (ZAF) ensured their future in the event in heat 2 along with Australians Shaun Cansdell and Chris Davidson. Ryan Campbell (AUS) and Joel Centeio (HAW) eliminated Justin Mujica (PRT) and Daniel Jones from the contest in heat 4. While last years number three Jarrad Howse (AUS) and Leonrardo Neves (Brz) also exited from the contest today, falling to Yuri Sodre (BRA) and Greg Emslie (ZAF) in heat 5.
Heat 8 saw current world number 2 and former event champion, Trent Munro (AUS) back in the driving seat. The 25-minute bout was amongst the most wave rich of the day with sets consistently flooding the reef. Munro harvested the healthy crop to lock in a 9.5 on his first wave before backing it up with another high scorer in the twilight moments of the heat. South Africa’s Royden Bryson was also on fire and earned himself a spot in tomorrows round of 24.
“I haven’t surfed a right in a while so it was something new and I managed to get a 9.5 out of my first wave so it went really well.” Began Trent. “I haven’t ridden this board before and I haven’t surfed this wave in a while, so it was all a bit touch and go and it worked out for the better. After I had that 9.5 I really just wanted to surf and get used to the wave in case we come back here tomorrow. It’s good to see that the waves are finally picking up now. We all got caught by a 5ft set out there but unfortunately we were all to deep so we took it on the head…” He added.
The wave fest continued into heat 9 with Portuguese ripper Tiago Pires sealing his future in the contest by pulling into some of Jailbreaks steaming right-handers. Tiago now joins fellow European rider Mikey Picon in tomorrows round of 24.
“The waves are insane out there now so it was really fun to surf that heat.” began Tiago. “With the tide coming in, the waves are really picking up and running for a long way down the reef so my tactic was to choose the waves that I thought would give me high scores and I was lucky to pick the right ones.”
The remaining 8 places for tomorrows round of 24 were engaged by Jake Paterson (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kirk Flintoff (AUS) and Germany’s Marlon Lipke. Lipke surfed his way into ASP record books as the only German national ever to make it through to the round of 24 in a WQS contest.
This evening, as the sun set, the swell continued to pump and all indicators show that, after a slow start to the week, the 5th O’Neill Deep Blue Open is gearing up for another super-sized finish. Stay tuned.