Round of Twelve Decided at Quiksilver Pro Portugal
Julian, John John, and Jay Advance as Tiago is Eliminated
High performance surfing continued to shine at Ribeira D’Ilhas on Friday as the draw of 96 surfers had been cut to the final 12 of the Quiksilver Pro Portugal 2011. Solid four to five foot disorganized point surf was on offer for the second day in a row and the surfers left standing in the Round of 24 did not disappoint. While a bit messy, the rights did allow for some progressive surfing to take place. The smaller, more lined up sets that hugged the reef were the highest scoring rides of the day, while the larger sets broke wide with less critical sections for competitors to capitalize on.
After the fall of their national surf hero Tiago Pires in the Round of 48, Portuguese fans were still amped to see the remaining surfers battle it out in the overhead surf for the Round of 24. As the tide filled in after mid-morning, conditions improved and the action heated up.
Florida’s Cory Lopez squeaked by New Zealand’s Richard Christie in Heat 1 in a wave starved affair, followed by future star Gabriel Medina taking down Basque pro Aritz Aranburu in mixed up conditions that actually allowed Gabriel to go left at the right point-break.
San Clemente, California’s Patrick Gudauskas advanced after eliminating a red-hot Travis Logie in a heat that saw consistent sets swinging wide down the point. Patrick’s board looked to be the right shape for the conditions as he linked several turns with fin free snaps to take the heat win.
Pipeline wonder kid John John Florence continues to show his skills in smaller surf and edged out an in form Brandon Jackson in Heat 5. John John’s extended grab-rail 360 air set up two more solid turns to get the highest wave score of the heat.
New Zealand ripper Jay Quinn annihilated the improved conditions later in the morning and posted the highest single wave score (9.5) and highest heat score (18.6) to advance over defending Quiksilver Pro Portugal Champion Hodei Callazo. The Volcom team rider used superior wave selection and precise on-rail surfing to take the win and is the only Kiwi left standing in the event.
World Tour rookie Julian Wilson has had an unexpectedly tough year on tour after his stellar tour-qualifying performance in Hawaii at the end of last season. The Aussie regular foot showed spectators and judges why he got the shot at the big leagues by posting 2 out of the top 4 highest scoring rides of the entire event and easily dismantled a blazing Joan Duru in the last heat of the day. Huge carves that threw buckets of spray and controlled fin-free tail drifts were the keys to his success.
With conditions expected to improve over the remaining two days of the event, contest organizers plan on running the No Losers Round of 12, the Round of 12, and the Quarter Finals on Saturday, and finishing the Semi Finals and Finals on Sunday. Local weekend crowds and increased wave size will undoubtedly create action packed heats, and some serious drama, as the mid-year cut off for World Tour qualification looms just around the corner.
Watch the live webcast at www.quiksilverlive.com
Photos courtesy ASP Europe.