The Foster’s ASP World Tour is enjoying its first ever stop in Chile, South America, this week for the third annual Rip Curl Pro Search surfing event. Top ranked competitors experienced a mixed day of results in Round 1, highlighted by current world number 1 Mick Fanning and world number 2 Taj Burrow’s dramatic heats in the middle of the day.
Fanning, who has a 1st place finish, 2nd place finish and 3rd place finish in the three events this season, was lucky to advance through his Round 1 heat against close friend Dean Morrison (Coolangatta, AUS) and Chilean Wildcard Christian Merello. Fanning was forced to sit in second place behind Morrison for most of the heat with only one good score, but seized his chance to win with 12 seconds remaining in the heat when he paddled into a great right hand wave.
Fanning pulled into a long tube ride and then finally emerged with fist clenched, much to the delight of the large local Arican crowd. World number 2 Taj Burrow didn’t get the fairytale ending that Fanning did though in his Heat 10 battle against young gun Australian Ben Dunn and event Wildcard Kekoa Bacalso (Hawaii).
Burrow struggled to find a good wave all heat and when Bacalso found two deep barrel rides going right, the West Australian faced a hard uphill points battle. Bacalso, the former ASP World Junior Champion, held strong and won through to Round 3 ahead of Burrow and Dunn.
Other standouts of the day included Billabong Pro champion Damien Hobgood (USA), Bobby Martinez (USA), Joel Parkinson (Aust), Raoni Monteiro (Brz), Pancho Sullivan (Haw), Jeremy Flores (Fra) and eight time world champion Kelly Slater (USA), who only arrived in Arica late last night. Stay tuned on ripcurl.com/chile.