Costa da Caparica, Portugal – Demi Boelsterli came up huge Friday through the repercharge heats and now sits two rounds away from a medal. Boelsterli hacked, gaffed, carved and blew tail en route to a combined score of 18 points, eliminating top Australian seed Claire Bevilacqua in the process.
Team USA surfer Demi Boelsterli. Photo: AJ Neste/Surfing America
As coach Joey Buran noted, "We can't really win the event today, but we sure can lose it." Fortunately, the American squad delivered on all fronts as top nations such as Brazil, Australia and South Africa all lost surfers in the double-elimination event. The only American to go down was 17-year-old Nat Young, but his fate was decided by some questionable scoring by the international panel of judges.
Team USA! Photo: AJ Neste/Surfing America
Once the U.S. squad had time to cool off after the inconsistent judging melee, Womens Bodyboarder Keila Grozden grinded through her two repercharge rounds, busting a huge el rollo to keep her medal hopes alive.
Next up for the PacSun USA Surf Team was ASP World Tour surfer Ben Bourgeois. Benny B. drew fellow tour mate Dayyan Neve and the two practically had a man-on-man heat. Their WCT level of surfing extremely exceeded those of their other two opponents, with Bourgeois coming out on top after dropping a nine-point ride in the last minute of the heat. Malibu's Dillon Perillo finished second in the following heat. Now both surfers will compete first thing in the morning, followed by C.J. Hobgood – America's only Open Mens surfer still in the qualifying rounds.
Ben Bourgeois ripping to victory over Australia’s Dayan Neve. Photo: AJ Neste/Surfing America
With just two days remaining, America's medal hopes are looking promising as they sit in second place behind Australia. But it is still too early to determine if gold will be the outcome. Although, if Saturday is anything like Friday, it very well could be.