Suffering Saquarema! Not a stellar start for Hawaii surfers in Brazil

While the Kauai Red Raiders were notching a 14-1 blowout win in their Division II baseball quarterfinal game on Oahu, the starting nine for Hawaii at the Quiksilver Pro Saquarema wasn’t having nearly the same success in Brazil.

The second QS 10,000 contest in as many weeks got going Thursday, but just three of the nine Hawaii surfers survived their first-round heats in Itauna. Some solid sets rolled through for much of the opening day with the best rides coming off multiple maneuver waves and quickly connected turns.

Maui’s Dusty Payne continues to be a Qualifying Series tour de force as he won both his first and second-round heats against some stiff competition. Of the 96 surfers in round one, only Aussie Tom Whitaker scored a higher two-wave heat total than Payne’s 16.96. Payne was never in danger of falling out of the top two and he had all three of his opponents combo’d by the final horn. He and Spain’s Aritz Aranburu (11.26) moved on to round two, but Haleiwa’s Kiron Jabour (10.73) just missed out in third place.

Payne continued to show similar consistency in round two, picking up another win to move into the final 24. His back-to-back waves in the seven-point range put him in the lead and he held on with Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle in second place. American Conner Coffin came up just shy in third and Aussie Wade Carmichael finished fourth by way of an interference call.

Another Maui competitor, Granger Larsen, has joined Payne in round three with a pair of second-place results in the opening rounds. He was the most active surfer in his first heat and was able to hold off local Brazilian Hizunome Bettero in third place to move on with France’s Joan Duru. Larsen then took second with heat winner and world tour rookie Italo Ferreira. Brazil’s Alejo Muniz was unable to join countryman Ferreira in the top two.

Just six of the 12 second-round heats were completed Thursday, so Payne and Larsen are two of the 12 surfers who have advanced into the Round of 24. They have already been joined by Stuart Kennedy, Alex Ribeiro, Jack Freestone, Nathan Yeomans, Cooper Chapman, Thomas Woods, Connor O’Leary, Ferreira, Duru and McGonagle.

Freddy Patacchia was the third Hawaii competitor to survive round one and he’ll be on tap in round two when action resumes. Patacchia took second place in a loaded heat late Thursday. He took some time to get going, but a 7.83 got him back in the mix and his 6.17 backup vaulted him into second place. He survived there despite a continuous onslaught from Mason Ho, who wound up in third. Aussie Dion Atkinson won the heat with a 16.10 total.

Things only get tougher for Freddy P in round two. He’ll be taking on last year’s event winner Wiggolly Dantas, an in-form Luke Davis and first-round top scorer Whitaker.

The rest of the round wasn’t as kind to Hawaii’s six other entrants. Torrey Meister was first up but took third in the contest’s opening heat. Keanu Asing also took third, barely coming up short of his required backup score multiple times. Jabour lost out to Payne and Tanner Hendrickson was in position to advance, but an interference call ended his opportunity. Ho just missed out before Ezekiel Lau had perhaps the toughest result of all, starting quickly but finishing fourth despite a 13.67 total.

Big names still on tap in round two include Adam Melling, Matt Banting, Jeremy Flores, Carlos Munoz, Jesse Mendes and Kanoa Igarashi.

Action is scheduled to resume today at 8 a.m. local time, which is seven hours ahead of Hawaiian time. Live coverage can be found at 1 a.m. HT on Oceanic Surf Channels 250 and 1250.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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