Just eight surfers remain in the draw at stop 3 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour, the Billabong Rio Pro, with the quarter-finalists being decided today in barreling two-metre waves at Barra da Tijuca. Local rookie Filipe Toledo (BRA) and South African Jordy Smith (ZAF) were among the stand-outs, both surfers scored perfect 10s in the tricky conditions – wowing the crowds with their freakish ability.
Filipe Toledo took to the skies with incredible aerial display, pulling a spectacular alley-oop, followed by an air-reverse on the same wave. The perfect 10 was the first of Toledo’s short career at the elite level and his back-up score of 8.43 easily secured him a spot in the quarters heading into the final day.
“That was my first perfect 10 on the tour and I’m at a loss for words right now,” Toledo said. “I can’t even describe how I’m feeling … I went for the first big air and I was so happy that I made it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to do another one.’ I had that other section and I made the second air. I’m so excited right now.”
Jordy Smith, the tour’s largest surfer, muscled his 6’4” frame through what looked to be an impossibly deep Barra tube ride to earn his perfect score from the judges. Many say the South African is in career best form. He has drawn Toledo in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.
American legend, Kelly Slater (USA) might not have managed a perfect score, but the sport’s best came very close, locking in the highest two-wave combined heat total of the day.
Kelly Slater drove through a deep tube in the opening moments of his Round 3 bout against fellow American Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 27, for a near-perfect 9.97 and then he later backed up the ride with a similar score for a near-perfect 19.67 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Late in the day, Slater accounted for Australian Taj Burrow in a closely fought Round 5 match-up, with the 11 time world champion defeating Burrow on 15.01 points to 14.03 points.
“It was killing me to have such a good heat against Pat (Gudauskas) because I want to see him make heats. It’s a weird thing when you surf against your friends,” said Slater. “As for Taj, he always brings out the best in me … Taj started off with that barrel and I knew I had to do something. Luckily I was able to get that air reverse.” Slater will next meet former Billabong Rio Pro champion, Adriano de Souza (BRA) in the Quarter-finals.
Adriano De Souza is an undisputed crowd favourite in Rio, and today the 26 year-old world rated number four took down fellow Brazilian Miguel Pupo (BRA) in Round 3, then won his Round 4 clash ahead of Burrow and Californian rookie Nat Young (USA) to advance into the final day where he will match-up versus Slater.
Fellow Brazilian, Gabriel Medina (BRA), also won his way through three rounds today, constantly igniting the crowds with his impressive aerial display. Medina heads into the final day with incredible momentum, his repertoire well suited to Barra's shifting and often unpredictable beach break waves.
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, took a massive Round 4 victory to secure his best result of the season, relegating local talent Gabriel Medina (BRA), 19, and 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, to Round 5. Buchan placed his bets on a bank down the beach and the choice paid off, as the Avoca Beach native was the lone surfer in the heat to find a rhythm while securing his position in the Quarterfinals.
Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 24, ASP WCT Rookie, has put together a breakthrough result at the Billabong Rio Pro to match the best result of his short career. The Kauai native navigated the challenging Barra Da Tijuca lineup with ease, putting in incredible performances in both Rounds 3 and 4 to advance to the Quarterfinals compliments of some of the day’s most exciting barrels.
Glenn “Micro” Hall (AUS) caused the upset of the day, with the ASP WCT rookie eliminating reigning World Champion and 2012 Billabong Rio Pro finalist, Joel Parkinson (AUS) in Round 3.
The equal 13th place finish for Parkinson is his second consecutive poor result; last month at event two at Bells Beach, Australia, Parkinson was sent packing by rampaging Brazilian Raoni Monteiro (BRA) The Billabong Rio Pro will conclude tomorrow, with event organizers expecting to kick-off proceedings at 7am local time. A champion will be crowned by day’s end.
UPCOMING BILLABONG RIO PRO QUARTERFINALS MATCH UPS:
QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
QF 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QF 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
QF 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.03
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.20 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.20
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.83 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 2.86
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.43 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 13.63
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.90, Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.30, Nat Young (USA) 5.57
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.77, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.41, Kelly Slater (USA) 7.33
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.10, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.84, Glenn Hall (IRL) 6.05
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.43, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.20
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.10 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.50
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.13 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.00 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.14
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.40 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.77
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.94 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.83
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.97 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.01
Heat 7: Glenn Hall (IRL) 12.33 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.43 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.17
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 17.47 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.34
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.43 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.67
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.17 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.00
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.53 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 13.33