|The last heat of the Round of 16 saw another big elimination with Italo Ferreira (BRA) dispatching Kelly Slater (USA). Trailing Ferreira, Slater took off on a medium-sized wave under priority for a 7.10, but it was not enough to capture the lead. The ocean went flat for the 11-time World Champion, moving Ferriera into the Quarterfinals and eliminating Slater in Equal 9th place.
“I thought we would have more opportunities,” said Slater. “All our opportunities came in the first half of the heat, and then it went slow. I didn’t read the waves super right. I probably had the chance to win the heat but it just came down to being a slow heat. It’s a little frustrating because this is the event where all the top guys seem to be doing well and it’s about losing ground with all the guys that are behind me. I’ll get passed by Gabriel Medina. I need to win a couple of contests to be in any kind of World Title contention.”
More than halfway into Heat 2 of the R/16, it looked like a big upset was unfolding with two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) needing a big score to match Ryan Callinan (AUS). A flurry of rides in the last few minutes saw Medina come alive, finding his best two scores to nudge out Callinan and advance to the Quarterfinals.
“That was a tough heat, it’s really slow out there, I’m so happy to make it through,” said Medina. “I had to work really hard on that one, but in the end, it all paid off. Ryan (Callinan) is a great surfer, he always pushes me in every heat that we have, and it’s always been close calls. I stayed with priority for almost 20 minutes and nothing came, I was just asking God to please give me a wave. I got that first one, which was good, then Ryan got the second one, which was okay but too fast. When I saw the set coming, I knew I had another chance. I didn’t even think, I just went for that one and I’m so happy to make it through.”
Sebastian Zietz (HAW) and Adrian Buchan (AUS) are also through to the Quarterfinals after eliminating Michel Bourez (FRA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW), respectively.