Day 7 Highlight Video
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Team USA Looks Dominant Going Into The Final, But Several Teams Still Have A Shot At The Gold
With 90-degree air temps and some of the best surf of the event filtering into the Playa Hermosa lineup, the international contingency of surfers raised the collective bar in Costa Rica once again for the seventh day of the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games presented by Monster Energy Drink.
When dawn broke and revealed an army of glass lines approaching the event site, surfers in the event were beaming toothy smiles as well as national pride as the race for ratings points tightened. Heading into last rounds, the USA, France, Australia, South Africa and a 'never-say-die' Peru were battling it out for spots on the podium. With a bevy of oversized flags dancing in the wind and top-shelf conditions on offer, the competitors put it on the line today fighting to bring golden glory back to their homeland.
Team USA’s Courtney Conlogue. Photo: Watts/ISA
At the head of the medal battle stood a very strong Team USA. With only one day remaining in the event, here are the point standings for countries in contention:
1st – United States – 17190 points
2nd – France – 14440 points
3rd – Hawaii – 13358 points
4th – South Africa – 12506 points
5th – Peru – 12120 points
Note: The above points show the potential maximum that each team can achieve. The final scores will be always lower
Remind us again why Hawaii isn’t a part of the US team? Photo: Watts/ISA
In Open Men's competition the opening heat of the day saw four surfers move into the sixth round. Just a step away from the final and the possibility of receiving medals are Americans Cory Lopez and Ben Bourgeois, Hawaiian Hank Gaskell and Peruvian Gabriel Villarán.
The USA's Cory Lopez was the best of the round, adding 15.16 in his two best waves. "I didn't have a lot of time to see the conditions before the heat and that made me a little nervous. But my Coach Ian (Cairns) said to me there were good lefthanders out there, so I went looking for them. It turned out to be a good strategy because the rest of the competitors were looking for the rights so I didn't have to fight for my position in the line up. It paid off with big points."
Team USA’s Ben Bourgeois. Photo: Watts/ISA
As a standout competitor throughout the event and a rising star in her own right, California's Courtney Conlogue came to the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games with a massive win at the US Open in July. "We're looking solid as a team and we're pushing each other hard and I think we're looking really strong," said Conlogue about her team. Still on a competitive role after her US Open win, Conlogue looked leagues ahead of her counterparts today when she dismantled her competition, posting a combined score of 18.10 points and showcasing how dynamic her surfing has become with some of the smoothest rail surfing ever seen in women's competition.
Another surfer that elevated the competition and the crowd was local boy Jason Torres. If you think progressive surfing is relegated to the likes of powerhouse countries like the USA and Australia, think again. Throughout the event, Torres has been ripping apart the peaks with seamless fluidity. Running on all cylinders and throwing some jaw-ping fins-free whips and punts, throughout his heats, Torres brought the hometown crowd to their feet every time he ped in. To be blunt, this kid is impressive. And although he would bow out of the event in his Round 9 Repercharge heat to French ASP Pro Jeremy Flores and South African Brandon Jackson, Torres remained upbeat on his performance.
"It's really hard to surf against some of these guys. We (Team Costa Rica) have worked so hard to get here," said Torres. "I thank God for us being here."
France's Jeremy Flores has also been a crowd favorite throughout the event, testing the limits of progressive surfing time and again. In the waning minutes of the adrenaline-fueled Round 9 Repercharge heat, Flores whipped a yet-to-be named turn that left the beach and the commentators speechless when he tweaked his board and himself underneath the cascading lip, rotating a grab-rail reverse in the process and riding out as smooth as butter. The turn alone sealed his heat and raised Flores' status as one of the most innovative surfers today.
"I've been hurting myself lately doing airs, so I'm trying to do some other stuff that's a bit softer. I've seen Josh Kerr and Dane Reynolds do those before," said Flores about his massive turn, "but the first person I saw do that was Andy Irons and he's one of my favorite surfers."
In the Longboard Division, the six surfers that remained alive today are: Kekoa Uemura (HAW), Ben Skinner (GBR), Tony Silvagni (USA), Antoine Delpero (FRA), Remi Arauzo (FRA) and Harley Ingleby (AUS).
Rounding out the day's competition was the Aloha Cup, a team event saw the likes of Australia, France, Tahiti and Peru dominate the competition amid the high tide and trying conditions that followed.
As the event came to a close, the ratings race turned into a sprint heading into tomorrow's final day of competition.
The contest will be web LIVE everyday at www.BillabongISAWorldGames.com