|South Africans Jordy Smith, Luke Thompson and Joshe Faulkner Relegated to Elimination Round 2
Another fired-up South African was wildcard Luke Thompson (RSA) who earned the right to compete this week courtesy of a big result on the Challenger Series in Ballito. Thompson took the lineup by storm and threatened Jack Robinson (AUS) and Kolohe Andino (USA) of relegation to the Elimination Round with fast and sharp surfing, and an undeniable element of flow.
The two-time winner this season and current World No.2 Robinson was able to catch up and overtake the young South African on his last wave but there is no doubt the wildcard will be dangerous to match up with in the Elimination Round.
Injury replacement Yago Dora (BRA) delivered the first upset of the day when he relegated CT veteran and two-time event winner Jordy Smith (RSA) and World No. 3 Italo Ferreira (BRA) to the Elimination Round.
“I knew I could get the score if I was on the right wave,” said Dora. “The best wave of the heat came at the perfect time for me and I just had to surf my best. It’s just a pleasure to surf waves like this against guys like Italo who has one of the best backhands, and you don’t even have to say anything about Jordy. He’s incredible and I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid so it was an honour to surf against them.”
World No.1 Filipe Toledo (BRA) and event wildcard Joshe Faulkner (RSA) also suffered an Opening Round loss against an in-form Nat Young (USA), and the list of surprise results continued with 11-Time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA)’s third place in the round’s last heat.
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