Rankings Leaders Stumble, Leaving the Door Open For CT Qualification Hopefulls
While the women’s CT hopefuls stood their ground, a different story unfolded in the opening heat of men’s action.
One of 2022’s most exciting CT rookies, Joao Chianca (BRA), had the opportunity to clinch his spot in Round of 32, but the matchup proved to be difficult for the Brazilian. An electric start from Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) left Justin Becret (FRA) and Lucas Silveira (BRA) fighting for the advancing spot, as Chianca was still looking for a score of consequence heading into the final minutes. When the horn sounded, Chianca was left needing an excellent 8.77.
Immediately following that affair, Oahu’s own Ezekiel Lau had an opportunity to further his chances of requalification and opened up in dominant form with a quick, 11.50 heat total. But, WSL Rip Curl Finals contender Ethan Ewing (AUS) utilized his world-class forehand to post an event best, near-perfect 9.50, as well as a 17.27 heat total, and Jesse Mendes (ITA) earned an excellent 8.00 to overtake the advancing position, eliminating Lau and solidifying Gentil’s qualification.
“I love this wave and it’s just been such a good trip, and it definitely takes a little bit of time to get used to the power over here,” said Ewing. “I was there once (in a qualifying race) and you can almost feel the pressure of being in that spot. It’s so exciting to watch and congratulations to all the guys and women who are making it happen this event.”
With Lau, Chianca, and Liam O’Brien (AUS) faltering, Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Morgan Cibilic (AUS), Jacob Wilcox (AUS), and Imaikalani de Vault (HAW) all had an opportunity to strike.
Rodrigues, Cibilic, and deVault all made their opportunities count to advance into the Quarterfinals as Wilcox unfortunately fell short.