Small Countries, Big Wins At Day Two Of The Billabong ISA World Surfing Games
As an increasing swell delivered perfect and sometimes barreling waves in paradise at Panama's Playa Venao, the second day of the premiere world team surfing event got underway. Surfers from each division, both in the main event and repechage, hit the water.
The days schedule included Men's Qualifying Round 2 and 3, Longboard and Open Women's Qualifying Round 2 and the first round of repechage for all divisions. 48 heats were surfed today, with a total of 96 heats completed thus far out of the total of 189 heats needed to finish the event.
After day one yesterday, National Teams representing Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa had all of their surfers in the main event, but today, they all lost at least one surfer to the repechage. Now, all of the 27 countries registered in the event have a minimum of one surfer in jeopardy of elimination in the repechage.
With the Men’s Main Event Round 3 completed, the 12 surfers who advanced, and who are now three steps away from the big final are: Thomas Wood (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA), Dylan Southworth (MEX), Michael Campbell (AUS), Santiago Muniz (ARG), Klee Strachan (RSA), Marco Giorgi (URU), Luis Iturria (URU), Drew Courtney (AUS), Rafael Pereira (VEN), Martín Passeri (ARG) and Manuel Selman (CHI).
Australia, the four-time ISA World Surfing Games team champion, is currently the country with the highest number of surfers in the main event, with six of their team members still on the fast track to the final.
For the second day in a row, Team Uruguay pulled off big wins in the Open Men division. In a stacked heat, Luis Iturria (URU) advanced in first and Diego Cadena (MEX) placed second. As they exited the water, the two surfers embraced as they congratulated each other, showing great emotion and national pride.
In the previous heat, another Uruguayan, Marco Giorgi, posted the highest combined score of the event so far, 17.10 (8.17+8.93) to beat Thomas Wood (AUS, 2nd), Gary Saavedra (PAN, 3rd) and Taumata Puhetini (TAH, 4th).
Later in the day, both Iturria and Giorgi made it through to the fourth round with stunning performances. "I’ve been feeling pretty good about my surfing," said Iturria. "We had really tough opponents but we made it through. I'm concentrating on my surfing and on the waves. I'm trying my best to take Uruguay furtherin the Games."
In the Women's division, Silvana Lima (BRA) was the absolute standout. She posted a combined score of 16.67 (8.50+817) to beat Paige Hareb (NZL, 2nd), Tanika Hoffman (RSA, 3rd) and Pamela Verboonen (MEX, 4th).
"I feel verycomfortable in this competition and I just want to surf well," said Lima. "My board is really good and I am eager to improve, to score nines and eights. No matter who I face in the water, I just want to surf well and rip it."
Other top performers in the Women's division posting combined heat totals of over 13 points and winning their respective heats were Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Cannelle Bulard (FRA) and Nikkita Robb (RSA).
Two-time ISA World Champion Longboarder Matthew Moir had another great day, posting a combined of 12.00 (6.17+5.83) to beat Martín Pérez (ARG, 2nd), Cristian Santamaría (CRC, 3rd) and Matt Cockayne (NZL, 4th).
The South African, Moir, said, "I caught two good ones and made it through. The waves here are really fun, good for competitive surfing, and the beach is beautiful. The surfers from the South American countries have obviously improved over the years."
The star of the day's Longboard division was last year's medalist, Harley Ingleby (AUS) who posted a combined total of 17.00 (9.33+7.67). Other highlights in the Longboard division included Antoine Delpero (FRA), Caio Husadel (BRA), Piccolo Clemente (PER) and Tony Silvagni (USA).
Down the beach, the repechage rounds began with do-or-die excitement. The best performances of the round were made by Leandro Usuna (ARG) in the Open Men division, Lani Doherty (USA) in the Open Women and Patricio Gonzalez (MEX) in the Longboard division.