Stairmand leads way at Saquarema
New Zealand's Billy Stairmand starred on the first day of action as the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime got underway at Itauna Beach in Brazil.
In perfect conditions offering waves in the range of six to eight feet, Stairmand claimed the highest heat total of the opening round of 96.
Stairmand scored 17.06, including a single wave 9.23, to set the pace early on at Saquarema in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m really happy, the waves are great and I caught one of the long lefts to win that heat,” said Stairmand. “The conditions are excellent and this place is fantastic, a point break with incredible lefts, it’s really good.”
Also impressing as the ASP World Tour event kicked off were defending champion Kai Otton and top seed Alejo Muniz who both posted heat victories.
“Conditions are perfect and the waves are fantastic,” said Otton. “I’ve been so stoked since yesterday (Monday), when I went for my first surf. It’s really a lot of fun.
"Conditions this year are better than last year when I won in really choppy and heavy waves. If things continue as they are it’s going to be great and I’m going to do everything I can to win the contest again this year.”
Second seed Gabriel Medina was less convincing, ending up second to qualify from his heat.
“The important thing is to get into the Round of 48,” said Medina. “I was able to do that and now I just have to loosen up and just surf my next heats more relaxed.”