After a week of consecutive lay-days, and uninviting conditions, the Billabong Rio Pro finally got underway on day 7 at the backup location Arpoador. Stop 3 of 11 on the men’s ASP World Title season saw round 1 successfully completed in consistently changing conditions that challenged each surfer’s skills.
In the first round of three man heats, winners progressed to round three, and second and third entered round two, the knockout round. Almost missing his heat, Kelly Slater (USA), current leader of the 2011 tour, made up for lost time. Attacking the waves with style, he sent Julian Wilson (AUS) and local wildcard Peterson Crisanto (BRA) into round 2.
Mick Fanning (AUS) was on fire up against Dusty Payne (HAW) and Simao Romao (BRA), securing a solid 15.07 (out of a possible 20). With his trademark cutbacks, and swooping turns, it’s clear why Mick Fanning is a two time World Champion.
Patrick Gudauskus (USA) upset current world number three Jordy Smith (ZAF) and wildcard Igor Morais (BRA) in the lowest scoring heat of the day. With a total heat score of 8.13, Gudauskus became one step closer to his maiden tour victory.
Day 8 of 12 saw round 2 underway, with winners progressing to round three, and losers exiting with an equal 25th and 500 points for the tour leader board. Heat number one opened up with Jordy Smith and Peterson Crisanto going head to head at backup location Arpoador. Local wildcard Crisanto wasn’t good enough for Smith, who scored an 11.67 to Crisanto’s 7.10.
Bede Durbidge (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Joel Parkinson (AUS), and CJ Hopgood (USA) were the top names to progress to round three, sending their opponents packing. Not only are points and prizes on the line, but the importance of gaining solid results before the midyear cutoff are just as good as the massive cardboard cheque.
Round three is on the cards for day 9, however with the ever changing conditions starting round 4 underway is questionable.
All the action can be viewed online at;