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Billabong Rio Pro finishes round 2 at Arpoador

After the second consecutive day of action at the Billabong Rio Pro, the 12 heat matchups of round 3 are set. Today saw the completion of the round 2 eliminations in wonky lefts at Arpoador.

There were some heart-breakingly close heats today, with 8 of the 12 heats being decided by less than 2 points. Perhaps the closest of the day was between Kieren Perrow and Gabe Kling in heat 7. Kieren led the entire heat with a pair of mid-range scores. With 3 minutes left, Kling finally connects with a solid wave on his backhand for a 6.33, leaving him needing a 5.17. With under 2 minutes to go, Kling snags another wave from Perrow and tags it to the beach. After a breathless pause that lasted an eternity the score is announced: 5.07. Down goes the Floridian by one tenth of a point.

The highest heat total of the day went to another Floridian in Cj Hobgood, who beat Julian Wilson in heat 10. CJ was able to mix some great rail work on the outside sections, with a couple smooth punts in the shorebreak for the highest 2 wave total, 16.50 out of 20. Julian did show some poise for a rookie, nearly stealing the heat in the last 3 minutes after being comboed by a veteran for the entire heat. Wilson got a one turn 7.77 in the dying minutes with a ridiculous backside blow-tail to nose-pick where he rode out fins first before somehow recovering in the whitewater. He then went on to find a little ramp with seconds left and still needing a 8 plus and boosted a huge shuv-it, but it wasn’t enough to catch up with a rampaging Hobgood.

Another close battle took place in heat 8, where fellow countrymen and roommates Josh Kerr and Chris Davidson had the misfortune of drawing each other. Neither showed signs of backing down, but Kerr was able to nail the coffin shut with a well-deserved 7.57 with 5 minutes to go. Back to Oz for Davo.

Top seeds Jordy, Parko, and Adriano all were able to advance comfortably out of the loser’s round and into round 3. Parko had the highest scoring ride of the day, a 9 for a solid left that saw him link a swooping carve into a series of 3 rapid hooks under the lip. Adam Melling would also get a 9 in his heat win over Alejo Muniz, where he did a huge backside snap-floater into 2 big turns on the inside.

While high scores were dropped by several surfers today, the level of surfing didn’t seem to reflect that very much, due to the tricky conditions. Compare one of todays 9 point rides with a 9 point ride from another tour stop beachbreak like Supertubos or Hossegor, and the contrast is rather stark. Tuberides are uncommon here, and the bounce in the wave made big aerials tough to time correctly, so the big scores were generally from larger waves where the surfer was able to fit in more than 2 turns before getting exploded onto the beach. Even the top seeds were digging rails and getting caught awkwardly by the lip. Not exactly the most exciting surfing to watch.

I hate to beat a dead horse here, but pass me the baseball bat because the wave quality here is not world class by anyone’s definition. I understand the allure of holding your event where it will draw the biggest crowd, but they’re gonna have to stop calling it the “dream tour”. I can’t imagine any of the top 32 have dreams about surfing a crowded, gutless, backwash-y closeout, surrounded by screaming Brazilians.

The round 3 draw is listed below. With a slowly fading swell, organizers are expected to move back to Baha da Tijuaca, which is far more swell exposed, to make the 7 am call tomorrow. There is a new swell forecasted for sunday, so the goal would be to get through rounds 3, 4, and 5 before then, and have good surf for the final heats.

contest site here.

Billabong Rio Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.67 def. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 7.10
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.60 def. Igor Morais (BRA) 10.17
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.50 def. Simao Romao (BRA) 12.10
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.43 def. Ricardo Santos (BRA) 12.66
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 11.77
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.77 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.07
Heat 7: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.50 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.40
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.74 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.53 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.40
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.50 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.70
Heat 11: Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.44 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.40
Heat 12: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.00 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.27

Upcoming Round 3 Match Ups:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Dan Ross (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Billabong Rio Pro Returns to Arpoador to See Top Scores in Round 2