The rub against the old World Qualifying Series is that the events were held in crap conditions and the performance level consisted of connecting three average turns to the beach. And while it doesn't look like the surf's improved much, based on Julian Wilson's record-setting Round 2 showing at the Saquarema Prime, butt wiggles and wanky turns are a thing of the past.
In 30 blistering minutes of surfing, Wilson tore into the marginal beachbreak. On one wave, with a vicious vertical backside snap and well-execute 360 air reverse, Wilson landed the highest heat score ever at an event at Brazil's Itauna Beach -- a near-perfect 9.87. He then backed that up with an excellent range 8.47, to give him a combined 18.34 heat score -- again, a record at Itauna.
"These heats with three other guys in the water are difficult and you've just got to go out there and have fun without putting too much pressure on yourself," said Wilson in his post-heat interview. "I chose to stay a little farther away from the rest of the guys during the heat, but I felt a little lost even after I got that high score. This event is really important, it's a Prime. A win here is equal to a semifinal in a ASP Tour and I'm going after points to improve my seed to remain in the WT after the mid-year rotation."
Amongst the slew of Brazilians to advance, other winners on the day included Jadson Andre, who seemed to be carried on confidence alone. He noted, "It's not easy out there and it's not that fun when the waves are like this."
While still nursing a neck injury sustained during the Billabong Pro Rio, Michel Bourez, who's sitting seventh in the world at present, continued his winning ways. Frenchman Marc Lacomare also inched closer to his goal of qualifying for the World Tour. And America had something to cheer about as Cory Lopez and Nate Yeomans dominated their heats.
As they say, still a lot of surfing left, and while the waves may not be the best in the world, apparently the same can't be said about the level of surfing.