Santa Cruz’s Nat Young produced the second highest scoring wave in his Round of 64 heat at the World Surf League’s EDP Vissla Ericeira Pro, event No. 5 on the Challenger Series, in Portugal on Wednesday.
The problem? The 32-year-old goofy-footer didn’t get a backup score. Young scored at 6.77 for his lone wave ridden in the 30-minute heat in 4- to 6-foot waves.
He caught his wave midway through the heat, which temporarily thrust him into second place. He made a go on a wave in the final 30 seconds of the heat, but heat winner Jabe Swierkocki (13.50) of Ventura utilized priority and jumped in front of Young.
The last wave didn’t carry much weight, though. Swierkocki threw away his score, a 1.93.
“Watching all the heats this morning, it has been pretty slow,” said Swierkocki, in his post-heat interview with the WSL. “Whoever has kinda had a quick start, but made sure they got a good wave, seemed to making the heat, so that was the plan. I got a quick start and kinda waited and made sure if another good wave came I was on it.”
Swierkocki finished with wave scores of 7.33 and 6.17.
Alejo Muniz of Brazil produced a two-wave total of 13.40 for second place in the heat. Both he and Swierkocki advanced to the Round of 32.
South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray (5.17) also only caught one wave and took fourth in the heat.
Young and McGillivray were both eliminated. Young tied for 33rd place and earned 700 points, and McGillivray tied for 49th and earned 600 points.
It has been a disappoint season for Young, who started theyer on the Championship Tour but failed to survive the midseason cut. He entered this week’s event in Portugal ranked No. 31 on the Challenger Series with 6,200 points.
The top 10 surfers on the CS at the conclusion of the six-event season advance to the CT. American Cole Houshmand (24,020) and Australian Jacob Willcox (20,610) have secured spots on the CT for the 2024 season.