BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Saturday, May 18, 2013) -The Billabong Rio Pro returned to Barra Da Tijuca for the second consecutive day and saw flawless performances from the ASP Top 34 as they battled through Rounds 3, 4 and 5, deciding the event’s Quarterfinalists in improved three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) barrels.
Filipe Toledo (BRA), 18, 2013 ASP Dream Tour rookie, put together an immaculate alley-oop to air-reverse combination, securing a perfect 10-point ride for the effort. While fellow competitor Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, went on to earn a perfect 10 of his own in the amazing Round 4 affair, Toledo’s back-up score of 8.43 was enough to secure a spot directly in to the Quarterfinals over Smith and two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 31.
“That was my first perfect 10 on the tour and I’m at a loss for words right now,” Toledo said. “I can’t even describe how I’m feeling. I’m just so stoked to compete against Jordy (Smith) and Mick (Fanning). I competed with them in the same round at Bells and to win this heat in Brazil is amazing. When I saw the sets coming, Jordy had priority and he was paddling for the one behind me. I knew it was going to be good. I went for the first big air and I was so happy that I made it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to do another one.’ I had that other section and I made the second air. I’m so excited right now, I don’t know what to say.”
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, put in a strong performance in his Round 4 match-up against Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, and Nat Young (USA), 21, earning a spot directly in to the Quarterfinals following a priority interference by Burrow. While Burrow posted two near-perfect scores, de Souza earned two excellent rides of his own, posting a 15.90 out of 20 heat total to secure the Quarterfinals berth.
“Before the heat started I was really focused,” De Souza said. “I knew Taj (Burrow) was going to be dangerous and I have a lot of respect of Nat young, but Nat was in the middle of us and I knew it’d be hard for him. Taj was on fire during the whole heat and I just focused on my waves. 5 minutes before the heat ended I heard Taj got an amazing wave, but then later I heard Taj got the interference. I was happy to make it, but it’s too bad for Taj. He’s an idol of mine and an amazing surfer.”
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, took a massive Round 4 victory to secure his best result of the season, relegating local talent Gabriel Medina (BRA), 19, and 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, to Round 5. Buchan placed his bets on a bank down the beach and the choice paid off, as the Avoca Beach native was the lone surfer in the heat to find a rhythm while securing his position in the Quarterfinals.
“I feel good,” Buchan said. “I saw waves down the beach and was watching free surfers half and hour before I surfed and saw a few. You’ve got to take a gamble sometimes and I think it’ll pay off. I didn’t really think it was that big of a gamble and was able to find a really good one. I’m stoked because that’s a good round to get out of. I always try and win that heat when I get in it. I see it more as a one-winner round rather than a no-losers round. I knew it’d be a big heat against Gabriel (Medina) and Kelly (Slater) and knew most of the crowd’s focus would be on them, so I could do my own thing. I knew it’d be hard for Kelly to repeat his performance from earlier today and I’m happy to get past those guys in that heat.”
Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 24, ASP WCT Rookie, has put together a breakthrough result at the Billabong Rio Pro to match the best result of his budding career. The Kauai native navigated the challenging Barra Da Tijuca lineup with ease, donating incredible performances in both Rounds 3 and 4 to advance to the Quarterfinals compliments of some of the day’s most exciting barrels.
“Conditions changed quickly out there,” Zietz said. “I was frothing watching the heat before and thinking I was going to get pitted. I got one barrel, but ended up looking for some ramps. I was just trying to make the Quarters here in Brazil, that was my goal, so I’m happy. Hopefully I can break through to the Semis or even a final.”
Kelly Slater, 11-time ASP World Champion, dominated the Barra Da Tijuca lineup in Round 3, effortlessly driving through draining barrels to secure some of the highest scores of Billabong Rio Pro competition. Slater drove through a deep tube in the opening moments of his Round 3 bout against Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 27, for a near-perfect 9.97 and backed up the ride with a similar score for a 19.67 (out of 20) heat total.
“I hadn’t surfed in a week,” Slater said. “I thought it was going to be an air game and Pat is deadly with his airs. It was killing me to have such a good heat against Pat (Gudauskas) because I want to see him make heats. It’s a weird thing when you surf against your friends. I had a feeling once that squall passed that it would calm down and get glassy and that’s exactly what it did. I was looking for those ones like I had in the first heat, those ones the knuckle off of the outside reef. You want to get that first one that’s peaky and doesn’t have too much white water in the way.”
While Slater was unable to reproduce the same magic in Round 4, the veteran quickly rebounded to surpass Taj Burrow in a hard-fought Round 5 clash to earn his position in the Quarterfinals.
“Taj (Burrow) definitely brings the best out in me,” Slater said. “I didn’t want to surf, the waves were terrible and the waves ended up getting good out there. Taj just had a couple of heats where he wanted to surf this year and the call didn’t go his way. He was decisive and I didn’t want to surf. They took a poll and the guys wanted to surf, so we went ahead with it.Taj started off with that barrel and I knew I had to do something. Luckily I was able to get that air reverse.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am local time and will crown a champion by day’s end.
The Billabong Rio Pro will is webcast LIVE via http://wctbrasil.com/rio13
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.10 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.50
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.13 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.00 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.14
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.40 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.77
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.94 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.83
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.97 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.01
Heat 7: Glenn Hall (IRL) 12.33 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.43 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.17
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 17.47 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.34
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.43 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.67
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.17 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.00
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.53 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 13.33
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.90, Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.30, Nat Young (USA) 5.57
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.77, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.41, Kelly Slater (USA) 7.33
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.10, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.84, Glenn Hall (IRL) 6.05
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.43, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.20
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.03
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.20 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.20
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.83 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 2.86
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.43 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 13.63
UPCOMING BILLABONG RIO PRO QUARTERFINALS MATCH UPS:
QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
QF 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QF 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
QF 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)