Day One Of Brazilian Schin Nova WCT Event Turns Into An Aerial-fest

NOVA SCHIN FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY BILLABONG
(31 October — 9 November)

EVENT #10 ON THE FOSTER’S ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) MEN’S WORLD TOUR

NOVA SCHIN FESTIVAL ROUND ONE HITS THE ROAD AND SCORES

The decision to move two hours drive south from the home base of Joaquina, Florianopolis, Brazil proved successful today for the organisers of the Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong.

Getting underway in fun one metre (three foot) beach breaks at a location known as Imbituba, contestants in 10th event on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour had the huge crowd enthralled as they put on amazing displays of new-school surfing.

Obviously, due to the potential for the 2005 Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour title to be wound up in here in Brazil, the major focus of the day was on the early performances of Kelly Slater (USA) and Andy Irons (HAW) but there were plenty of cheers throughout round one as both local competitors and the international field effortlessly completed some massive aerial manoeuvres. Slater even described the day as being like one massive “expression session.

In the first heat of the day Cory Lopez came out of the starting blocks with all guns blazing. He certainly showed that he wasn’t going to let the nightmare preparation he faced in the four days leading up to the event affect his performance.

After facing visa problems on arrival into Brazil, Lopez was forced to spend time in Argentina until the dramas were solved and he arrived in Florianopolis at 2am local time this morning. He then had to scrounge up equipment after his luggage did not arrive. After only a couple of hours sleep he was on hand at 6am ready to compete.

“I tried to come to the event a couple of days early to get warmed up but unfortunately my visa had expired a week before I got here, said Lopez. “They almost sent me back to Atlanta USA, but luckily instead they sent me to Buenos Aires. I had to sit there for Saturday and Sunday until the consulate opened and then I somehow made the lady give me my visa in one day.

“I made it here at 2am this morning for the 6am call, Lopez continued. “It was an adventure but I’m here and luckily I came out on top. I got to my room and Chris Ward and brought two boards over for me. My luggage hadn’t arrived either so that was lucky. I’m in a borrowed wetsuit also… I don’t know how it all came together!

Following on from Lopez’s strong showing was a head turning display from Brazilian Marcelo Nunes. Obviously gaining extra confidence surfing in front of a home crowd he executed numerous large aerials to blitz his heat against Damien Hobgood (USA), and fellow Brazilian Pedro Henrique.

Sitting right on the cusp of the re-qualification boundary, a big result here is important for Nunes’s future on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour.

“This event is very important for me. I really need a good result here so I can keep going on the tour next year, said Nunes. “I’m very happy to win that first heat and even happier that it is in Brazil. I feel good and confident in front of this home crowd. I’ve been training out here and even though it’s smaller today there’s still some good waves and luckily I caught a few. It was good to beat Damien. I knew I had to do some big turns to beat him as he is such a great surfer. I’m 28th at the moment so I really need this result. But I’m confident — I have good boards and a lot of people helping me.

Making a comeback after a serious medial ligament tear in his knee saw him withdraw from the tour back in September in Japan, was Joel Parkinson (AUS). Although seemingly struggling at the start of the heat, right on the final buzzer Parkinson showed the form that had him sitting in number five on the rankings prior to his injury. Parkinson now sits in 14th and will endeavour to climb back into the top 10. He was elated with his first round win.

“It’s unreal. I was so nervous to see how I’d go and I really thought I was going to strruggle more than I did out there, said Parkinson. “I’d been surfing really good at home but the waves are so much weaker here and I was struggling in the free surf this morning. But with each wave I felt more confident and now I think I’m almost 100 per cent.

Parkinson defeated Travis Logie (ZAF) and Diego Rosa (BRA) and like all winners of round one will receive instant passage through to round three.

Also getting off to a late start in his heat against Mark Occhilupo (AUS) and local Guga Aruda, was Kelly Slater. He too found some late momentum to come in with a win.

“I never really got in synch in that heat and I don’t think anyone else did either. I thought I was in last actually! And then I heard I was in first and that Occy needed a 6.0 or so to catch me. I just never really found my feet out there so it was good to win a heat knowing I didn’t surf all that well. I think it was a cumulation of a few things, jet lag, climate change, sitting around doing nothing. I actually changed the fins in my board too which made it feel terrible… so maybe it was good just to get all that out of the way and I can get into gear from here.

Knowing he has a huge task ahead of him in the Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong, Irons took it to his fellow competitors Taylor Knox (USA) and Guilherme Ferreira (BRA) by posting the highest score of the day, a 9.5 out of a possible 10.

On that wave he launched a typical Irons attack pulling off some huge power gouges. On returning to the beach however Irons played down both his sterling performance and the enormity of what lies before him.

“The waves were pretty soft and slow as the tide got higher, said Irons. “One of the guys out there was really aggressive and it was hard to catch waves but I got a good one at the end which came in a bit wider and it lined up well. I’m glad to get that one out of the way.

“Everyone’s talking the title showdown up and there’s so much going on, but really I’m in cruise mode, he continued. “There’s a lot riding on it and it’s a long shot but I’m just having fun with it and I’m not going to get too stressed out. It’s plain and simple what I have to do and I’m going to go for it and try to win every single heat.

The full results of round one heats one to 12 can be found at www.aspworldtour.com or at www.billabongpro.com

Organisers will convene at 6.30am at Joaquina to analyse current waves conditions and forecast swell predictions.

Tuesday 1 November, 2005
Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil

Live on www.aspworldtour.com and www.billabongpro.com.