Top Seeds Rebound Through Rookie Massacre in Round 2 Billabong Pro Santa Catarina
Round 2 of the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina was completed today in offshore but challenging two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Praia da Vila.
The third stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina saw a routing of the rookie class in today’s elimination Round 2 as the top seeds enjoyed an impressive return to form.
Taj Burrow (AUS), 31, current ASP World No. 1, recovered from a dismal Round 1 performance with a combination of powerful gaffs and aerial finesse.
“I was just looking to get a couple waves out there that lined up," Burrow said. “I’m staying down in Praia Rosa (backup site). When I woke up this morning, it was massive with white-water out to sea and I think I needed a bigger board. It’s much more manageable here and the bank has definitely shifted since yesterday. Stoked to get through."
The Western Australian posted a convincing win over wildcard Tanio Barreto (BRA) to advance through to Round 3 and keep his stellar competitive run alive.
“I never like being in Round 2," Burrow said. “No one does, but just looked at it as another opportunity to figure out the bank. It’s tricky at the best of times and has certainly changed a lot since last year. That said, I felt like I had a better rhythm today than I did yesterday and I hope I can keep the momentum building in the coming days."
Burrow will surf against lethal goofy-footer Travis Logie (ZAF), 30, in Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina.
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 2, was another to rebound in today’s trying conditions, showcasing his patented variety of repertoire, including an impressive alley-oop 360 to close out his heat.
“I was just lost at sea yesterday," Slater said. “Every wave I paddled for seemed to evaporate after one turn. In today’s heat, I was just focused on getting a lot of waves and picking ones that would allow for a lot of manuevers. It worked out and I’ll keep tweaking things as we move forward."
Defending event champion, Slater is still suffering from an injury to his right foot sustained while training in Bells Beach, but the Floridian muscled through today’s elimination Round 2 and remains hot on the heels of ASP ratings’ leader Burrow.
“It’s still pretty ginger," Slater said. “I didn’t tape it today because I’m no doctor and sometimes when you tape it, it stresses other parts of the foot. It went fine though. It feels good to put a heat together here and hopefully I can build a bit of a rhythm."
Slater will face 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 21, in Round 3.
Dan Ross (AUS), 27, current ASP World No. 13, proved the form surfer of the day, dominating the shifting afternoon conditions to post the highest heat total of the day, a 16.93 out of a possible 20.
“I’d been paying close attention to the conditions prior to my heat and it looked like it was improving," Ross said. “I went out there and found the best ones and surfed them well. That’s all it takes. I’ve got some really good boards under my feet from Christian Bradley (I’ve been getting good ones from Rod Dahlberg too) and I feel very confident right now."
Ross will battle fiery Sydney-sider Chris “Davo" Davidson (AUS), 33, in his upcoming Round 3 heat.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, current ASP World No. 19, continued his momentum-fueled run today, besting lethal Hawaiian rookie Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, in their Round 2 bout. After a 33rd to start the season, Bourez backed it up with a 9th a Bells and will look to keep the roll going as the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina moves into Round 3.
“I had a bad start this year but I’m rebounding in these last two events," Bourez said. “I’m just trying to build a good seed heading into J-Bay (where I did well last year) and at home in Tahiti. All I am thinking about is getting home and having a good event. I’ve been sick for the past few days, but I’m feeling better now. I have great boards and I’m looking forward to the rest of the event."
Bourez will take on Byron Bay natural-footer Kieren Perrow (AUS), 33, in Round 3 of competition.
Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 13, was the sole rookie to survive today’s onslaught by the upperclassmen, overrunning ASP Dream Tour sophomore Drew Courtney (AUS), 31, this afternoon.
“Every heat counts at this level," Andre said. “Adriano (de Souza) is my inspiration these past few years and to be representing Brazil with him now is very special. Hopefully I can keep my results coming because you want to be in the Top 32 after Tahiti."
Andre draws tour veteran Damien Hobgood (USA), 30, in Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina.
When competition resumes, up first will be current ASP World No. 4 Bobby Martinez (USA), 27, against Luke Munro (AUS), 27, in the opening heat of Round 2.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
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