SAQUAREMA, Rio de Janeiro / Brazil (Wednesday, May, 23, 2012) - Sunny skies and long lefthanders in the 4-6 foot range (1.5-2 meters) were on hand at Itauna Beach, Saquarema for the ASP World Prime Quiksilver Saquarema Prime presented by Coca-Cola. Competition on Wednesday included some big wins and heavy upsets with the conclusion of the Round of 48.
Kai Otton (AUS) continued his quest to repeat his victory of last year’s Quiksilver Saquarema Prime event by qualifying into the No-Losers Round of 24 along with Sebastien Zietz (HAW), who had been leading the heat until the very end when Otton came from behind to take the 1st place position and eliminate Michael Dunphy (USA) and Luke Davis (USA).
“The waves are a little smaller than yesterday (Tuesday), but they’re still perfect,” said Otton. “I think choosing the right ones are fundamental in these conditions. If you catch a good one, they’re going to open up and you can really let loose. But that heat was difficult because everybody surfed so well, especially Sebastien (Zietz) who gave me a hard time. For me, it was important to be able to qualify into the next round and keep my hopes alive of winning the event again.”
Heat 3 of the Round of 48 became the highest scoring heat so far of the 2012 Quiksilver Saquarema Prime with three surfers scoring waves in the 9 point range. The surprising standout in today’s competition was young Australian surfer Perth Standlick, 21, who scored a 9.60 on his last wave for a heat wave total of 17.93 out of a possible 20 points. In 2nd place and also qualifying into the next round was Glenn Hall (IRL) who added a 7.80 on to his 9.43 on his two best rides, eliminating Damien Hobgood (USA) who scored a 9.0 on his best wave.
Another in-form surfer to win his heat was 18 year-old Kolohe Andino (USA) who scored a 9.37 and an 8.0 on his highest scoring waves of the heat alongside Romain Cloitre (FRA) to defeat Billy Stairmand (NZL) and Joan Duru (FRA).
“Yesterday (Tuesday) the waves were even bigger, but today it’s glassier with perfect sets coming in and I was able to show some of my ability,” said Andino. “I was able to get two good waves and complete some more polished turns. Afterwards, I threw an air on the rights, but it was nothing special and I’m stoked to make it into the next round because the waves here are so good.”
ASP veteran, Chris Ward (USA), 33, was able to show his experience on the long lefthanders of Itauna by scoring a 9.57 on his highest scoring wave to qualify into the No-Losers Round of 24 along with Jean da Silva (BRA) and eliminating the Top Seed of the event, Alejo Muniz (BRA) and big wave charger, Gabriel Villaran (PER).
“I caught such a good left that I thought I wasn’t going to be able to paddle into,” said Ward. “But I won the paddle battle and it was worth it because it opened up and was really good. I was stoked with the score the judges gave me and at the end I just stayed on the rights and tried to throw a couple of airs and just had fun until the horn sounded.”
In terms of upsets, besides Alejo Muniz, six other ASP World Tour surfers were eliminated from competition, including: Damien Hobgood (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Brett Simpson (USA), Yadin Nicol (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA) and local surfer, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) who made it to the Finals of last year’s Quiksilver Saquarema Prime.
Unlike the first two days of competition, a 7:30 am (local time) call is set for Thursday morning for the 3-man No-Losers Round of 24 where the heat winner will qualify directly into the Round of 16, while the remaining surfers will compete in man-on-man elimination rounds. The first surfers to compete tomorrow will be Hizunome Bettero (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL) and Sebastien Zietz (HAW).