Day three at the Billabong Rio Pro, Brazil, saw the event moved back to the prime location Barra Da Tijuca. The beach break dished up plenty of left-handed rides, and small tubes for the guys to slot into; just what the ‘goofy-foot mafia’ would like (surfers who ride right foot forward). However, three of the top seed surfers were sent packing after being knocked out in round three of competition.
Bobby Martinez (USA) was responsible for the first and biggest upset, knocking current world number one Kelly Slater (USA) in a close heat, scoring 14.50 over Slater’s 14.10. Opting to stick with the left hand breaks, Martinez utilized his priority (where the surfer has first option for the wave) in order to secure his round four placement. After struggling at past events, drawing top seeded surfers early on, Martinez was in great spirits. Slater on the other hand, remained in the water like a bouey for two hours after his heat finished, which stirred the other surfers in the water.
Just 30 minutes later, Josh Kerr (AUS) was responsible for the second upset of the day, sending current number three Jordy Smith (ZAF) packing. With a standout performance, Kerr unleashed a massive air to secure a round 4 entry, which was quickly backed up with another win in round 5, defeating Adriano De Souza (BRA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS), and advancing him to the Quarterfinals.
The third upset of the day came in the final heat of round three, where Brazilian Raoni Monteiro trumped current world number 6 Mick Fanning (AUS), with a score of 14.48 over Fanning’s 13.37. Fanning was left needing a 7.35 in the final minutes, but couldn’t find the right wave to advance him to round 4.
Round 4 got underway with the winners progressing straight to the Quarterfinals, with 2nd and 3rd surfing again in round 5, in a knockout round. Taj Burrow (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA) and Daniel Ross (AUS) were first to hit the water, with Burrow coming out triumphant. Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Bobby Martinez followed, with Parkinson the winner and moving to the Quarterfinals. Josh Kerr (AUS) and Owen Wright (AUS) also secured Quarterfinal spots.
With three of the top current leaders out of finals contention, the challenge for Billabong Rio Pro Champion just got slightly more exciting. Scoring 10,000 points for a victory, and 8000 points for second place, the winners could highly elevate their position on the leader board, just in time before the mid year cut off.
Watch all the action live online at; http://aspwtrio.com.br/brazil11/live-en