Ricardo Christie falls in qualifying series standings after early elimination
With his eyes on requalification to the World Surf League Championship Tour (CT), a round-two exit probably wasn't what Ricardo Christie had in mind for the Azores Airlines Pro.
Fortunately for the Kiwi, the result didn't hurt him too much as he fell from 14th to 15th on the qualifying series (QS) ladder.
Christie went into the QS6000 event in Portugal, which finished on Sunday (NZ time), with some solid recent form.
The 28-year-old was looking to build on from a quarterfinal finish at the Vans US Open in early August after being unable to do so at an event in Spain at the end of August.
The highest ranked surfer in his opening heat, the Kiwi took to the water in round two with the hopes of setting himself up for a big week.
And for the majority of the heat, it looked like he was going to do enough to move on. Christie sat in second place for most of the heat, with the top two progressing, behind Japan's Hiroto Aari who had two big scores and was, for the most part, untouchable.
With scoring waves of 5.73 and 4.83, Christie was ahead, but not at all safe as the clock ticked away in the heat.
Unfortunately for the Kiwi, Brazil's Yage Araujo picked up two late scores to replace Christie in the top two in the dying minutes of the heat, sending the Kiwi packing.
The result meant Christie didn't improve his qualification scenario, with a top 10 finish on the QS needed to ensure he leaps onto the CT next year.
If he finishes outside the top-10, his chances will lie in the hands of the other surfers. If a surfer finishes in the top 10 on the QS but requalifies with a top-22 finish on the CT, the next highest QS surfer is promoted.
While Christie didn't have his way with the waves, fellow Kiwi Billy Stairmand showed what he's capable of as he put on a solid display to get through to round four before being eliminated.
Stairmand topped his heats in the first three rounds, but wasn't able to find the scores he needed to get past Brazilian duo Bino Lopez and Flavio Nakagima in round four.
He collected 1050 points for his efforts which lifted him 21 places up the QS ladder, however he remains outside the top 100 for the year.
The pair will now look to prepare for the QS10,000 Billabong Pro Cascais in Portugal later this month.
At a glance
Current men's qualifying series top 10
1. Jesse Mendes (Brazil) - 25,250
2. Yago Dora (Brazil) - 19,610
3. Kanoa Igarashi (United States) - 16,490
4. Michael rodrigues (Brazil) - 15,090
5. Michael February (South Africa) - 14,750
6. Tomas Hermes (Brazil) - 14,560
7. Keanu Asing (Hawaii) - 14,300
8. Jorgann Couzinet (France) - 13,685
9. William Cardoso (Brazil) - 13,000
10. Griffin Colapinto (United States) - 12,910
15. Ricardo Christie (New Zealand) - 10,650
Main events left on Ricardo Christie's schedule:
❑ EDP Billabong Pro Cascais 2017. QS10,000. Praia de Carcavelos, Cascais, Portugal. September 26-October 5
❑ Hang Loose Pro. QS6000. Praia de Maresias, Maresias, Brazil. October 31-November 5 (tentative)
❑ Hawaiian Pro. QS10,000. Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii. November 13-25
❑ Vans World Cup. QS10,000. Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii. November 26-December 7
All dates are in NZ time.