November 3, 2003 (Joaquina, Florianopolis, Brasil) Current ratings #3 TajBurrow (Aus) was today eliminated by Brazilian wildcard Renan Rocha in roundthree of the Nova Schin Festival WCT Brasil. The US$250,000 ASP WorldChampionship Tournament (WCT) relocated further south back to Silveira thismorning, with all 16 heats completed.
Peaky 3-4 ft (1.3) waves were on offer at Silveira beach, as thousands ofspectators soaked up the surfing action.
Burrow, who finished runner-up in the previous tournament in Spain, made aseries of uncharacteristic errors today and bowed out of the tournament withhis fourth 17th place finish of the season. Former WCT campaigned Rocha, onthe other hand, picked off a couple of good rides for a strong lead. He thenbroke the nose of his surfboard, but remained in the lineup and usedpriority to add further pressure on his opponent and achieve a careerhighlight, while the West Australian ultimately required another ride worth7.24-points.
“I’m pretty stoked,” began Rocha, surrounded by media. “I’d like to comeback and be on the WCT against the best surfers in the world, so to surf athome with this beautiful crowd makes me feel really comfortable. It’s thebest thing to surf at home with best surfers, so this is one of the besttimes of my career.
“It was hard to find a good one out there, but I found a high scoring ridein the middle of the heat,” he continued. “He didn’t get a good wave, sothat’s the way it happened. I was trying not to lose priority, to be sure ifa good wave came I could stop him from getting it.”
Reigning world champ Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) earlier eliminated Nova SchinFestival WCT Brasil Trials winner Tanio Barreto (Brz). The Kauaian got offto a quick start, before posting the best single score of the day for a 9.17and convincing victory.
“So stoked to be out of that round,” said Irons. “I was lucky to find a goodwave toward the end. It lined up all the way across and I was able to do acouple of snaps.
“I’ve got some catching up to do right now,” he added, of the rating race.”I’m just taking it one heat at a time like always.”
Six-time world champion and current ratings leader Kelly Slater (FL, USA)then survived an extremely strong challenge by Brazilian wildcard OdirleiCoutinho. Despite leading throughout, Slater’s opponent picked off one ofthe day’s best waves and earned the heat’s top score of 8.5 with a confidentbackhand attack. He only required another ride worth 5.33 during the finalfive-minutes, but the Floridian used priority to advantage and held him off.
“I had a lead and just sat on him with priority and tried to keep him offwaves,” explained Slater. “I’m in a position right now where I don’t want tohave close calls like that, but when I do I have to play the tactics. It’snot really how I like to win, but he got the one great wave of the heat, soI was pretty much playing catch-up.
“After watching Andy win his heat, there was a bit of added pressure,” hecontinued, of his nearest rival. “Right now I can’t afford to let him gettoo far ahead.”
Australian Richie Lovett (Manly, NSW) overcame local Brazilian favorite NecoPadaratz this morning. The current #21 clinched his maiden WCT victoryearlier this year in California, and today sealed victory on his final rideto silence the very vocal supporters. He’ll next meet fellow Australian JoelParkinson (Gold Coast) in round four, who was one of the day’s standouts.
“I was definitely the underdog in that heat,” reasoned Lovett. “It wasn’t avery high scoring match as we struggled to get any sort of momentum going,and were catching a bunch of average waves. Conditions were pretty tough,and it’s hard hearing the whole crowd scream as soon as Neco stands up anddoes anything. I kept thinking he must have been scoring eights, so I’mreally happy to get through. I took the gamble of surfing another bank atthe start and it paid off.”
Taylor Knox (CA, USA) posted an 8.17 too take control of his match againstLuke Hitchings (Bronte, Aus). The Australian also collected some good scoresin what proved a great heat, but ultimately required another ride worth7.65-points.
“He inspired me after I had to watch his first good wave,” explained Knox.”He surfed really well, but I was lucky enough to get one at the end andcomeback. He’s an incredible surfer, so it’s always good to get those heatsout of the way.”
The Californian will now face Beau Emerton in round four, after heeliminated fellow Australian and current #11 Luke Egan in another toughbattle. Emerton was losing throughout, but came back with a backhand barrelone ride, and then a commanding re-entry on his last.
Yesterday’s Foster’s Expression Session held at Praia Mole proved successfuldespite the difficult conditions. A handful of the world’s best took to thewater and entertained the large Sunday crowd, with Mick Fanning (Gold Coast,Aus) winning US$2,000 for the best maneuver and Luke Stedman (Avalon, Aus)another US$1,000 for the best ride.
Tomorrow’s decision will be made at 6:30am from the main site at Joaquina.
Nova Schin Festival WCT Brasil Round Three (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receivesUS$4,000)
H1: Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.0 def. Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz) 12.17
H2: Jake Paterson (Aus) 11.5 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 9.66
H3: Richie Lovett (Aus) 11.7 def. Neco Padaratz (Brz) 10.93
H4: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.34 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 6.9
H5: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.67 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 13.7
H6: Beau Emerton (Aus) 16.0 def. Luke Egan (Aus) 15.34
H7: Trent Munro (Aus) 10.96 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 8.27
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 15.67 def. Tanio Barreto (Brz) 9.84
H9: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.83 def. Odirlei Coutinho (Brz) 13.0
H10: Kalani Robb (Haw) 12.84 def. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 6.67
H11: Michael Lowe (Aus) 14.9 def. Toby Martin (Aus) 12.34
H12: Lee Winkler (Aus) 11.33 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.4
H13: Renan Rocha (Brz) 12.66 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 9.1
H14: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 13.37 def. Paulo Moura (Brz) 11.74
H15: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 9.23 def. Tom Whitaker (Aus) 8.73
H16: Shea Lopez (USA) 11.1 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 5.03