|Old Guard Falls in Men’s Elimination Round
Taj Burrow (AUS), who returned to this competition as an injury replacement, was dispatched by Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Jack Freestone (AUS). Burrow, the 18-year CT veteran, showed he hasn’t lost any of the flair that earned him the tag of the most exciting surfer of his generation, but unfortunately fell victim to the slow conditions on Day 2 at Strickland, only finding one set wave in the 35-minute encounter.
“That didn’t really feel like a normal heat,” Colapinto said. “There wasn’t that usual pressure. Taj and I were talking about what boards we’re on and what’s going on in his life, so it just felt like a normal free surf. I was a little nervous because Jack and Taj are such high-performance surfers in waves like this, so anything could have happened. I decided to go sit on the left and, sure enough, that set came, so I’m glad it paid off.”
15-year CT eteran Jeremy Flores (FRA) also fell short of advancing at Strickland Bay with a loss to rookie Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) and injury replacement Liam O’Brien (AUS) in Heat 2 of Elimination Round 2. In a heat where the wildcard held the lead for its entirety, the result was decided on the final siren with McGillivray and O’Brien splitting the peak on a set and the South African gaining the lead on the right while O’Brien went left to hold Flores from the opportunity to find a score.
“It was a nerve-wracking heat,” said McGillivray. “I got given a gift at the end there. It is tricky conditions and with it being so slow, you have to be patient. In previous heats, I haven’t been patient enough so I was focused on making better decisions in that heat. It wasn’t going my way until I got that right at the end and had an opportunity with Liam taking the left, so I’m grateful for that. I’ve had a few elimination round heats now and it doesn’t get any better. It’s a tricky round. I came into this event feeling a lot more relaxed with a bit of confidence from my result in Margaret River. I felt more sure of myself, but I still have more work to do.”