BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil: The Billabong Rio Pro and Rio Women’s Pro presented by Billabong, Stop No. 4 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, ran through Women’s Round 4 and Men’s Round 2 in three foot (1 metre) surf. There were thrills and upsets as the Women’s Quarterfinalists were decided and Men’s Round 2 saw some surprise defeats.
The opening heat of the morning saw French standout Pauline Ado combat progressive veteran Silvana Lima (BRA). The heat hosted a contrast in styles, with Ado’s smooth transitions against Lima’s aggressive attack. Ado got on the board first, blasting three frontside snaps on a steep right-hander for a 6.33. Lima took the next set, but failed to capitalize on her second turn, posting a small score. The European quickly extended her lead with a midrange 4, but the Brazilian veteran battled back locking in a 5.17 to get back into the game. A crucial exchange unfolded with five minutes remaining. Ado bettered her total, adding an additional 5.60 while Lima’s efforts earned a 5.67, short of the score needed to take the win. Ado moves into the Quarterfinals for the first time this season where she will face Lakey Peterson (USA).
“When you get into the Quarterfinals you start to get really good points,” said Pauline Ado. “So far this year I haven’t made one so I’m really happy. It was a tight heat and we didn’t get really high scores. I’m very happy to get the win against Silvana (Lima) and it was scary to come up against her in Brazil.”
Rookie Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and alternate Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) battled for a place in the Quarterfinals in Heat 3. The pair scoured the lineup in search of scores for the first half of the heat and it was the Australian that posted the first substantial score of a 6.00. The low-scoring affair continued, but Van Dijk found a right, blasting a two-turn combination for a 5.00 to solidify the Round 4 win.
“I definitely wasn’t comfortable in the lead in that heat,” said Nikki Van Dijk. “I only had one wave and I needed a back-up score. I’m so happy to be in the Quarterfinals and hopefully the nerves have gone now. I’m happy to be up against Tyler – we know how each other surf and we bring out the best in each other. I’m excited to put on a show for everyone and do what we do best. Being a rookie, every moment is brand new. I’ve never learnt so much in my whole life, it’s an amazing feeling.”
The final heat of Round 4 saw a Hawaiian-Aussie matchup between Coco Ho (HAW) and Laura Enever (AUS), both currently ranked 10th in the Women’s elite Tour. Ho came out of the gates on fire, posting seven scores to Enever’s three in the first half of the heat. Ho closed out each ride with a committed tail-release, adding to her high scores. Enever, on the other hand, had trouble timing her turns, opening the majority of her waves with a big open carve but coming up on the following section too late to capitalize on the follow up. The Hawaiian used priority in the last two minutes to improve her bottom score to a 6.93, enough to eliminate Enever and advance to the Quarterfinals.
“It’s hard when it’s a really close friend like Laura (Enever),” said Coco Ho. “She’s my closest friend on Tour so I knew it would get personal. I’ve felt good all week – it’s just a matter of finding your peak and putting it all together no matter who you’re against. It’s a lot of work. Sally and I have had a lot of good heats and a lot where she’s got me at the end. I’m going to try my hardest. I definitely enjoy Brazil and I feel at home.”
The opening heat of Round 2 kicked off with fireworks. Billabong Rio Pro wildcard David Do Carmo (BRA) came out of the gates firing against reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS). The Brazilian claimed a 7.00 for three big turns on his forehand and improved his situation with two backhand blast for a 7.93. With Fanning against the ropes, the veteran worked to battle back, logging a series of mid-range scores. The Australian continued to hunt the lineup, but was unable to find the near-perfect 9.10 needed to take the win. After the shock upset, the young Brazilian moves on to Round 3 while Fanning leaves the competition in equal 25th place.
“It’s amazing to be here in my country and surfing against Mick (Fanning),” said David do Carmo. “I’ve never had a feeling like that before. I’ve been watching Mick my whole life. He’s the best in the world. I’m so happy to beat him. Before I went to the water everyone wished me good luck and I got a lot of energy from them. I put it all in the water. I think I got lucky too. If Mick got my waves he would have got big scores.”
“Everything felt great leading up to the heat,” said Mick Fanning. “My aim was to get a few of those rights and they didn’t really show up. David (Do Carmo) did great and that’s the way it goes sometimes. I didn’t really feel any pressure. Everyone’s got an opportunity to go and do their best and today his was better than mine.”
Fired up from the Brazilian upset over Fanning, the crowd looked for a repeat as wildcard Peterson Crisanto (BRA) took to the water to face 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA). Unphased by the energy on the beach, Slater opened with seamless carves for a 6.67. A mid-range score on a tight tube ride left Crisanto on the hunt for a 7.30 with 10 minutes on the clock. Slater used priority to deny Crisanto a building wave and closed on a layout that improved his bottom score to a 5.17. Crisanto botched the landing of an air reverse on a last ditch effort to overcome the lead but came short of the 7.84 needed to avoid elimination. Slater will advance to Round 3.
“I’ve surfed against a lot of wildcards and you never know what will happen,” said Kelly Slater. “It’s all about the mindset that they come into the competition with. I didn’t underestimate him. Out there, if you get two good turns on the face it’s a good wave for today. The swell is going to fill in and it’ll give us more opportunity. It’s tough out there and you’ve got to fit your turns in quickly.”
A battle of the goofy-footers kicked off when Owen Wright (AUS) and Travis Logie (ZAF) fought hard to avoid a crucial Round 2 elimination. Logie got on the board first, with a solid 6.67, but Wright stayed in the hunt with a 5.17. Logie continued to lead the affair, knocking in a similar score of 6.00. Wright hunted the ramps on offer at Barra Da Tijuca, but failed to land any attempts and while the Australian logged a 6.00 at the back half of the heat, he was unable to surpass Logie.
“It’s super fun and I was excited to get out there,” said Travis Logie. “Round 2 is a killer and you never want to be in it. I am in Round 2 in every contest so I’m used to the pressure. Owen (Wright) is a really tough draw in any conditions. Thankfully for me he didn’t do anything big. I stuck to my guns and pulled through with the win.”
The beach filled with spectators to watch local favorite Miguel Pupo (BRA) take on the Spaniard Aritz Aranburu. Both athletes stuck to what they know best: Pupo trying to maximize his air game while Aranburu worked his powerful backhand carves. With choppy surf and unpredictable ramps, the vertical approach won out. Anaburu’s scored an early 6.83 and found a similar wave in the final 10 minutes, cutting through the foam for progressive-style carves. Unable to land big cleanly, Pupo found himself short of the excellent score he needed, allowing Anaburu to advance in another upset.
“It was going to be a hard heat,” said Aritz Aranburu. “I knew I couldn’t do much against Miguel (Pupo) if he started doing airs but I thought that if I played a smart heat and could get some open faces I could do some damage. Luckily the waves came my way and I made it so I’m stoked.”
Round 2 Heat 11 saw Sebastian Zietz (HAW) and Jeremy Flores (FRA) trade off several exchanges in the windblown afternoon conditions at Barra da Tijuca. Zietz, a Quarterfinalists last year at the Billabong Rio Pro, posted a heat-high 8.27 on a righthander for a powerful forehand carve and fins-free snap on a closeout section, establishing a solid lead. Not to be outdone, Flores fought back, logging a 6.93 and then a 7.77 for a seamless combination of backhand snaps. Zietz backed up his excellent score with an additional 7.47, edging out the Frenchman for a spot in Round 3 and the highest two-wave heat total of the day.
“You don’t really know how you surf,” said Sebastian Zeitz. “It feels good but unless you do a really big air or something you don’t know what the judges are going to give you. I’m really happy with the score I got. It’s hard to shake the nerves off after not doing so well in the first three events of the year. Hopefully I can get past Round 3 and go all the way here.”
Rio Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Match-ups:
Quarterfinal 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)
Quarterfinal 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Quarterfinal 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Quarterfinal 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)
Rio Women’s Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Pauline Ado (FRA) 11.93 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.84
Heat 2: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 14.94 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.50
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.17 def. Tatiana Weston Webb (HAW) 6.43
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.26 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 13.90
Billabong Rio Pro Round 3 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. David do Carmo (BRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Sebastian Zeitz (HAW)
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Billabong Rio Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: David Do Carmo (BRA) 14.93 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.26
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.84 def. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 6.77
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.66 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.66
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.37 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 15.13
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.26 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.40
Heat 6: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.56 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.30
Heat 7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.67 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.17
Heat 8: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 14.06 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.60
Heat 9: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.83 def. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 13.83
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.10 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.10
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.70 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.70
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.50 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.34
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