The last event on the European schedule this season, the event on the island of Lanzarote will see the European champion crowned, and Cardoso was the most impressive on Wednesday.
The Brazilian powerhouse left his three opponents in a combination zone, needing two scores to overtake the lead, and was left to reflect on some stunning scores.
“I missed the first set and only started on the white wave after it,” Cardoso said. “I did a couple turns and got an 8.7 and I thought ‘wow if I get an 8.7 for that one I can’t wait to get a clean one’.
“I got a good one and had that massive score of 9.77, it’s so cool. I got two nines in Europe and I was hoping to get a quarter-final or better so I’m hoping to get a good result here and get to Hawaii in a better position.”
Billy Stairmand, the sole representative of New-Zealand’s surfing talent pool in this event, came out on top from the most disputed heat today, beating Hawaii’s Fredrick Patacchia with an excellent heat total of 16.97 out of 20.
“That was fun,” Stairmand said. “Everyone was sitting wide and I just wanted to sit deep and have my own little peak, just go out there and have as much fun as I could.
“I was out there and I saw a big set coming, I just took off and I knew I only had to do two or three turns to get a good score just because it was a bigger wave.
“I had a good first turn and a sucky section came along and I just tried to go big and throw some spray for the judges.”
Stairmand will next take on Jean Da Silva of Brazil, while Fredrick Patacchia of Hawaii will deal with an all-European affair against Maxime Huscenot, Jonathan Gonzalez and Alain Riou.
Round of 96 results
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.00, Guillermo Satt (CHL) 7.57, Antonio Marques (CNY) 6.00, Andre Silva (BRA) 5.83
Heat 2: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.83, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 12.93, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.77, Vicente Romero (ESP) 11.03
Heat 3: Granger Larsen (HAW) 15.73, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 11.20, Dimitri Ouvre (GLP) 8.10, Miguel Villalba (ESP) 3.84
Heat 4: Evan Thompson (USA) 13.33, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.73, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 11.30, Bruno Rodrigues (BRA) 3.30
Heat 5: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.66, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 10.87, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 10.07, Cory Arrambide (USA) 7.50
Heat 6: Gabe Kling (USA) 15.26, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 11.57, Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) 9.06, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 7.67
Heat 7: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.43, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 10.80, Ty Watson (AUS) 10.10, Carlo Zapata (PER) 5.84
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 12.17, Michael Dunphy (USA) 11.90, Borja Agote (EUK) 11.50, Eneko Acero (EUK) 11.43
Heat 9: Jean Da Silva (BRA) 15.00, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 13.04, Jano Belo (BRA) 12.10, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 5.70
Heat 10: Billy Stairmand (NZL) 16.97, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.94, David Do Carmo (BRA) 14.84, Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN) 10.40
Heat 11: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 15.33, Cristobal De Col (PER) 12.50, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.80, Paulo Moura (BRA) 7.07
Heat 12: Alain Riou (PYF) 14.00, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.70, Bino Lopes (BRA) 9.00, Dillon Perillo (USA) 8.37
Heat 13: Medi Veminardi (REU) 12.34, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 10.43, Luke Davis (USA) 9.74, Travis Logie (ZAF) 9.64
Heat 14: Patrick Beven (FRA) 14.20, Jay Thompson (AUS) 13.40, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.17, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 11.70
Heat 15: Hodei Collazo (EUK) 11.34, Brian Toth (PRI) 11.30, Chase Wilson (USA) 11.03, Alexandre Chacon (BRA) 5.37
Heat 16: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 18.37, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 15.87, Halley Batista (BRA) 11.10, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 10.16
Heat 17: Glenn Hall (IRL) 15.70, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 12.27, Sidney Guimaraes (BRA) 9.15, Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.27
Heat 18: Nic Von Rupp (DEU) 15.60, Luel Felipe (BRA) 14.00, Perth Standlick (AUS) 13.44, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.04
Heat 19: Adrien Toyon (FRA) 13.67, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 13.64, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 10.96, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 8.97
Heat 20: Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 15.67, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.10, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 8.87, Mickael Picon (FRA) 6.27