The churning sandbar surf break of Mundaka in Northern Spain showed precisely why it is regarded as Europe’s best left hander yesterday, turning on perfect 1.5m tube rides for round three of the Billabong Pro.
Australian world title contender Joel Parkinson (Aus) mastered the Mundaka tubes like a long time local, as the ideal wind and tide combined to create an all time surfing session. The 24-year old fell 0.3 of a point short of a perfect score, with the event high 19.70 out of 20. A 9.97 on his opening ride, before backing up with a 9.73 two waves later, the current world number four didn’t put a foot wrong, notching up a third 9.40 in his destruction of countryman Jarrad Howse. Parkinson’s heat score was the second highest of the year.
Fellow Aussie Mick Fanning fired on all cylinders in his round three match up against Toby Martin, posting a virtually unbeatable two wave total of 18.00 out of 20.00. A late charge from Martin with an 8.67 in the final 5 minutes had him back in contention before 25-year-old Fanning secured an 8.33 on his final ride leaving his opponent requiring a 9.33. The pact Parkinson and Fanning have made to halt Kelly Slater’s eighth crown here in Spain is on target, despite the fact the childhood friends are on track to face off in the Quarter Final.
After posting one of the top scoring rides in his opening heat, Hawaiian Bruce Irons kept the momentum going in round three, scoring a 9.17 barrel ride to defeat Australian Luke Stedman. The backside aerial antics of the 26-year-old paid dividends, backing up his 9.17 with a 4.67 and easily winning the exchange. Surfing smart and holding priority at crucial moments in the match, Irons will now meet inform Parkinson in round four.
The power attack of Pancho Sullivan chalked up the second heat win of the day for the Hawaiians when he blasted past world number nine Tim Reyes (USA). Top to bottom backside bashes were rewarded kindly by the judging panel with consecutive mid range 7 point rides. Reyes had the opportunity to snatch the win in the dying stages needing a solid 8.03 score but fell short, posting a 7.07 with only moments remaining.
World surfing tour veteran Victor Ribas (Brz) won through round two over Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) in early heats and then caused a major upset by defeating Floridian goofy footer CJ Hobgood in round three. The small stature of Ribas was well suited to the peeling left hander, pulling off a long barrel ride in his opening heat, before constancy paid dividends against Hobgood. The 34-year-old opened with a 5.50 and backed up with a 5.77 on his final ride to narrowly outpoint the 2001 world champion in a wave starved heat. Ribas will now face a tough ask against lightening fast Fanning in round four.
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