Surfers in the Quiksilver ISA World Surfing Games today took full advantage of the double elimination system to stay in the hunt for the seven individual titles and the additional team points at stake in the world?s biggest surfing event.
A solid head-high wind swell gave the competitors ample scope to display their talents as the onshore breeze backed off during the day and the face of the waves became smoother at the three venues being used simultaneously on the Durban beachfront.
Contest director Marcos Bukao from Brazil decided to run a format comprising mostly repecharge rounds in the various disciplines, giving those surfers who had finished third or fourth in their earlier ?winner?s stream? heats a second chance to reach the final. These cutthroat heats were closely contested as only the top two advanced to the next repecharge round, while the other two were eliminated from the 2002 event.
The open men?s surfing discipline being staged at North Beach produced some lopsided results with the likes of Brazilian Mariano Tucat producing an explosive performance to notch up 22.17 points, nearly four times the scores recorded by his Jamaican and Swiss opponents, in round one of the repecharge.
The second repecharge round proved far closer with surprise winner stream ?losers? Simon Nicholson (SAfr), Mikael Picon (France), Wilson Nora (Brz) and Americans Jeremy Sommerville and Todd Holland all advancing a step closer to Sunday?s grand final.
Round three of junior (U/18) men at the New Pier on Dairy Beach saw the likes of Masato Nakano (Jap), Travis Lynch (Aus), Brazilians Martins Bernardes and Simao Romao, Hodey Picavea (Spain) and local Ricky Basnett easily advance to the last 12 of the winner?s stream with comfortable heat victories.
The second and third round of repecharge heats ended the 2002 quest for glory for Australians Leigh Sedley and Tevita Gukilau after they placed fourth in their respective heats, as did Johnny Fryer (UK), Loic Erran (France) and Morgan Faulkner (USA).
However, 15 year-old Brazilian Adriano de Souza stormed through his second and third round repecharge heats. The highest scorer on the first day of the event and a subsequent loser on day two, he demonstrated the form that could well still take him to the junior grand final despite having to compete in the extra four heats he will need to negotiate via the repecharge route.
The four women bodyboarders who have reached the winner?s stream final are Neimara Carvalho (Brz), Claire McGowan (UK), Heloise Bourroux (France) and Portugal?s lone representative in these games, Dora Gomes. This quartet will only compete again later in the week with the top two advancing directly to the grand final that decides the 2002 champion. Third and fourth places then take on the top two from the repecharge final to determine which pair completes the four who contest the grand final.
There are still 12 competitors in the winner?s stream of the longboard and six in the kneeboard winner?s stream, of whom four-time world champ Gigs Celliers from Durban is one.
Tomorrow?s surf is predicted to be similar today with a fresh NE onshore at midday becoming stronger and shifting to NW cross shore later in the afternoon. A full program of all seven disciplines with both winners and repecharge stream heats will be run on all three beaches. It is anticipated that only New Pier and the main podium at North Beach will be used from Thursday onwards.
The 2002 Quiksilver ISA World Surfing Games, presented by the Gateway Theatre of Shopping and hosted by the City of Durban, will be televised live on M-Net SuperSport with the kneeboard and longboard grand finals between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday and the women?s and open men?s grand finals at the same time on Sunday.