BELGAS, Peniche/Portugal - The world's best surfers showcased their unparalleled versatility today, trading the barrels of Supertubos for punchy two-to-three (1 metre) peaks at Belgas for Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, today’s Rip Curl Pro Portugal bore witness to major developments in the ASP World Title Race, with two major contenders bowing out in Round 3 of competition.
Travis Logie (ZAF), 31, current ASP World Tour No. 34, caused the upset of the event this afternoon, eliminating reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 3, Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, from competition with a frenzied backhand assault on the Belgas righthanders.
“I can’t believe it,” Logie said. “Halfway through that heat, I was comboed and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Then I got two good rights and surfed them for all I was worth. The scores didn’t come through for a while because there were a lot of waves close together. Then it came out that I had taken the lead and Mick (Fanning) got that good one right at the end. He just missed out and I’m so stoked.”
After dispatching of current ASP World No. 5, Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, in Round 2 yesterday, Logie’s confidence is running high with intentions of carrying him to a solid result in Portugal towards his requalification campaign.
“It’s a crucial event for me for sure,” Logie said. “I’ve had so many close calls this year that haven’t gone my way and I really need to put some results on the board if I want to make the cutoff after Pipe. After these last two heats, I have a lot of confidence and hopefully things keep going my way.”
Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 27, caused another monster upset in the opening heat of the afternoon, eliminating current ASP World No. 4, Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, with an inspired display of progressive surfing.
“I had a little free surf this morning and had a few fun ones,” Wilkinson said. “My board felt really good and I was just excited to surf a heat and see what the outcome was. That was the third heat I’ve had Taj (Burrow) this year and he’s got me twice before. It feels good to get him back. The forecast doesn’t look excellent for the remainder of the period and I feel like if we continue to surf in beachies, I can compete with the best of them.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, survived his Round 3 heat against compatriot Gabe Kling (USA), 30, this afternoon, coming one step closer to clinching an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title.
“You can’t really have a plan out there. You have to be active and catch a lot of waves. I was just trying to figure it out while I was out there. I have to win some heats and surf the same way. I need to be aggressive and go for big scores, but you also have to be smart and pick your waves.”
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, current ASP World No. 2, kept his ASP World Title hopes alive this afternoon, besting replacement surfer Dean Morrison (AUS), 29, in the final heat of the day.
Owen Wright (AUS), 20, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 8, kept the action hot and heavy, collecting this season’s fourth Perfect 10 for a fin-free turn straight into a full rotation mute grab on his forehand.
“I had actually creased my board on the wave previous and I was really just coming in to change boards,” Wright said. “I was really just going for broke and the section presented itself. I actually got more height than I thought I would and rotated out of it clean. I was pretty psyched when I heard the score.”
One of the form surfers of the event last season as a wildcard, Wright’s campaign was cut short because of a blown ear drum in the Semifinals. Into Round 4 of competition already, the young Australian is moving ever-closer to notching his first ASP World Tour event win.
“I have great memories from this event last year,” Wright said. “I have some bad memories too, but I feel like I’ve put those behind me and I’m moving forward. That was a great heat for me and hopefully I can move forward.”
Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, fellow 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 10, was not to be outdone in the race for 2010 ASP Rookie of the Year, executing two high-profile aerials on his final wave to edge past Brett Simpson (USA), 25.
“I had lots of opportunities but I kept falling,” Andre said. “I knew I needed a big score at the end and that wave was perfect. When I landed the second air I was so happy.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am for a possible 8:30am start at Belgas.
When competition resumes, up first will be Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, Michel Bourez (PYF) and Adrian Buchan (AUS), 27, in the opening heat of Round 4.
Magicseaweed, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for the swell to dip slightly tomorrow before filling in for a potential finish on Thursday at Supertubos.
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN’S ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.67 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.50
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.00 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 7.56
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.17 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.40
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.90 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.24
Heat 5: Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.60 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.67
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.17 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.60
Heat 7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.04 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.93
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.60 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 8.50
Heat 9: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.77 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.70
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) 17.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.80
Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.83 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 13.67
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.17 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.26
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN’S ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Travis Logie (ZAF), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF)