First Perfect 10-Point Score in China Registered by Frenchman Marc Lacomare
Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival Presented by Quiksilver
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wanning, Hainan Island, China
After yesterday's conditions, competitors and organizers of the Hainan Classic - an ASP 4-Star organized by the ISA - couldn't have expected much better. But China continues to surprise and impress. When the first heat horn sounded this morning, conditions had improved overnight, the waves were larger, the offshore winds were howling and the big scores started dropping early and often.
"It's just getting better and better the bigger it gets and it's just pretty much unreal for four guys to have a heat out there at the moment, especially for half an hour," said Dion Atkinson (AUS), who won the opening heat of the Round of 32 with a score of 15.43. "Every ride is almost too long, your arms are pretty done by the end of [the paddle back out]."
And that was just the beginning.
As each heat progressed on Day 2 of the Hainan Classic, the second event of the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival Presented by Quiksilver, the level of surfing continued to improve.
At some point during the day, surfers caught notice of the wave further up the point.
"During my heat I was watching the point and I saw all the guys getting barrels so after my heat I gave [the beach marshals] my singlet and ran back up the point and just got a couple," said Romain Cloitre (FRA), who was another heat winner in the Round of 32.
The sand bottom top-of-the-point section was barreling, and the pros in the lineup were comparing it to "Kirra going left!" As Fernando Aguerre, the president of the ISA, pointed out, "it's probably the best warm-up area for a contest ever."
"We knew this wave was going to be good, but we never knew it would be this good," Aguerre continued. "Some of the guys who were freesurfing up the point were calling it one of the 10 best waves in the world. The guys are going up there and getting barreled and then paddling out for their heat and getting long, amazing waves. China has been very good to the ISA, the ASP and everyone involved."
As if the day's proceedings needed more excitement, Heat 6 of the Round of 32 witnessed the best wave of the event and the first perfect 10 in a contest in China. Already proving to be one of the in-form surfers in the competition, Marc Lacomare (FRA) took off on a six-foot set, and began the ride with a massive floater followed by a fins-free snap, which could have been the end of the ride, as he side-slipped down the face.
"I thought I was going to lose it, but I held on and saw this little barrel and pulled in," he explained.
After the full cover-up, he flew out onto the open face and made a swooping turn and punctuated the ride with a layback snap just as the wave closed out.
"It's good when everything comes together; that barrel was a nice little bonus, so I'm stoked," Lacomare said. "I'm not that stoked that he beat me at the end."
Despite the perfect ride, Lacomare was bumped into second late in the heat when his fellow countryman, Joan Duru recorded a 9.0 for a total heat score of 17.0.
"The conditions are perfect, and I was with Marc so I wanted us both to make it - then he started with a ten, and it was a sick wave," Duru said afterward. "After I got my two good waves, we were just having fun outside; we just wanted to surf, it was like a freesurf with just four people. It was amazing."
Competition resumes in the morning with the first heat of the Round of 16. After all 8 heats are completed, the contest will progress into the quarterfinals, which will be run in man-on-man format. According to the Surfline forecast, conditions are expected to hold steady, with a slight decrease in the swell in the afternoon.
The webcast will be live at the sound of the first heat horn, at 9:00am local time (5:00pm PST - 8:00pm EST). Watch it online on www.hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com/hainan-classic/live.