Photo: Adriano De Souza is amped to be through to the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinalists in the 2008 Globe Pro Fiji were decided in three to four foot waves at Cloudbreak today. Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbidge and Mick Fanning, who are rated first through fourth respectively, all advanced through Round 4 today.
Current World No. 6 Adriano de Souza posted the highest single wave score of the Round 4 – 9.00 points out of 10.00 – to narrowly defeat Fred Patacchia (HAW) in the last heat of the day.
“I watched a couple heats before mine and there weren’t many scores, the waves were pumping in Bede and Luke’s heat, but later in the afternoon the scores weren’t as high,” de Souza said. “I was looking for the sets and I waited for 12 minutes for my first wave. When it came I was thinking, ‘Wow, it’s really perfect.’ I did two massive turns and did a floater at the end. When I landed the floater at the end I was pumping my fist and going, ‘Yeah! I’m going to get the big score,’ and then I got the 9.00 so I am really happy.”
World No. 5 Andy Irons’ early exit may open the door for de Souza to move into the ASP Top 5 after the Globe Pro Fiji. A Brazilian surfer hasn’t finished in the Top 5 since Victor Ribas (BRA) finished the year World No. 3 in 1999, but with seven events still to go, de Souza knows he has his work cut out for him.
“I’m looking for Top 10 this year, so the more heats I make it through will bring me closer to my dream,” de Souza said. “It’s really good for me to make the quarters and getting through World No. 2 Joel Parkinson and into the semis would be even better. It’s still early days and I’m not looking for a title, but I’m looking for Top 10 this year and putting all of my energy toward achieving that goal.”
Eight-time ASP World Champion Slater is looking for a title and, after eliminating defending Globe Pro Fiji Champion Damien Hobgood, he is one step closer to posting what could be his third win of the 2008 ASP World Tour season.
“It’s kind of shame we weren’t on opposite sides of the draw where we could have met up in the final if we both had a good run,” Slater said. “Between us we have won the last three events here, so to meet in the fourth round is a little early. You’d hope we’d come against each other later if we both made it that far. It was a slow heat and we both had different game plans. I was going to sit deeper and try to surf the wave and he was going to stay wide and look for the barrel and the inside ones and my plan worked out.”
Slater faltered in the last ASP World Tour event in Tahiti when he was eliminated by event wildcard Manoa Drollet (PYF), but still maintains his undefeated record against his co-tourers in 2008. Because wildcard Bruno Santos (BRA) won in Tahiti, Slater is the only member of the ASP Top 45 with a victory under his belt this year.
“It’s just an odd thing that I had those two wins and then a wildcard wins the third event,” Slater said. “I haven’t lost to a tour guy yet this year but it’s in the cards. It’s going to happen at some point, whether it’s in the next heat, or if I win this contest, in the next contest. You have to capitalize on these runs when you get them. There aren’t that many contests, so if you win one or two in a year, it’s a pretty good year, and back to back is nice. I’m just pretending I’m starting from zero now to try to get my head back into the ‘trying to win’ phase.”
Slater will maintain his ratings lead after earning his quarterfinal berth today. Even with a win, World No. 2 Parkinson cannot take overtake him.
“They were saying that nobody could pass me if I made the quarterfinals so as far as the ratings go, I’ll stay on the top no matter what happens here,” Slater said. “But every contest is an opportunity to try to get a few a more points. Another win would be nice, especially in Tavarua, it’s one of my favorite places.”
Parkinson eliminated Hawaii’s Pancho Sullivan to secure a semifinal berth against de Souza.
“I thought there was going to be more action,” Parkinson said. “My first wave got me off to my start and I was going to build from there, but in the end all I was trying to do was back it up. It was only a 6.8 but a 7.0 today was a pretty high score so I was just trying to back that score up. We both had a few opportunities but Pancho fell on one that probably could have changed the heat for him.”
Parkinson is Slater’s closest competition at present but regular contenders like reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and Taj Burrow (AUS) are also looking to close the gap in Fiji.
“Everyone always hopes that there is one or two guys around them who loses so that they can climb up the ratings and creep closer to their goals,” Parkinson said. “But everyone sitting at the top is staying there so that will make for an interesting final stage.”
There is a strong likelihood that the Globe Pro Fiji will finish tomorrow. Seven heats of competition remain and event organizers are aiming for a 7am start. An official call will be made at 6:30 tomorrow morning.