Kelly Slater and John John Florence were in predictably dominant form at the Volcom Pipe Pro yesterday, winning their Round 3 and 4 heats in emphatic fashion and booking their places in the quarter-finals. Aritz Aranburu, the sole remaining European in the draw, helped bring about what was perhaps the day’s biggest upset — the elimination of Jamie O’Brien in Round 4. Needing a score of just 0.38 and with only a minute and a half left on the clock, Aritz opted to go on a small inside left and grovelled his way cheekily to the shore. It proved to be an astute tactical move, and O’Brien was duly relegated into 3rd place.
Bruce Irons caught the highest-scoring wave of the day for the second time this event, and was unlucky not to make it through to Round 4. Irons was clearly waiting for the bombs, twenty minutes of the heat having passed before he so much as looked at a wave, but the tactic seemed to have paid off when he posted a 9.6 with his first ride and moved into the lead. He still had no back-up score, however, and was overtaken first by John John, then by Seth Moniz, forcing him to take off late under the lip of a hopeless close-out just as the buzzer sounded; he needed only a 1.24.
The draw for the quarter-finals looks like this:
H1: E Lau (HAW), A Aranburu (ESP), S Zietz (HAW), I Gouveia (BRA)
H2: M Bruneau (HAW), K David (HAW), JJ Florence (HAW), I Walsh (HAW)
H3: K Slater (USA), B Toth (PRI), H Gaskell (HAW), K Andino (USA)
H4: M Ohno (JPN), K Jaquias (HAW), CJ Hobgood (USA), M Ho (HAW)