Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Mick And Taj Bow Out

Rookie Matt Wilkinson edged out Taj Burrow by just .17 of a point, but it did a boatload of damage to Taj's World Title hopes. Photo: Dorsey
Rookie Matt Wilkinson edged out Taj Burrow by just .17 of a point, but it did a boatload of damage to Taj's World Title hopes. Photo: Dorsey

Today, Taj Burrow’s continued strings of World Title realities being just hopes went down yet again. Rookie Matt Wilkinson edged him out and that pretty much put the stake in Taj’s title run this year, seeing how he now has two 13ths a 33rd and a 17th.

Speaking of World Title hopes, Mick Fanning saw his window close a little bit today after a huge upset at the hands of Travis Logie, giving Mick his first double digit result of the year. Travis took out Dane yesterday and I honestly thought Mick would make dog food of him today—not the case.

Kelly surfed incredibly well, but something tells me he was holding back his best surfing. Photo: Dorsey
Kelly surfed incredibly well, but something tells me he was holding back his best surfing. Photo: Dorsey
Yesterday Travis Logie upset Dane Reynolds and he followed that performance up by taking out Mick Fanning today. Photo: Dorsey
Yesterday Travis Logie upset Dane Reynolds and he followed that performance up by taking out Mick Fanning today. Photo: Dorsey

Owen Wright grabbed the fourth 10 of the 2010 ASP World Title Race season today when he took off on a left with his creased board, threw a blasting checkturn to set up a massive, fully rotated 360 Slob. Announcer Dave Mailman blew it though. He called Owen's 10 a Mute when in fact it was a Slob, and he continued to call it wrongly a Mute. Then they brought Wilko in and he called it a Mute, too. What gives??? Wilko did kind of correct himself later, saying that a Mute is also called a Slob, but that's just not true either—a Slob is a frontside rotation and a Mute is a backside rotation.

Here’s a few notes from photographer Damea Dorsey’s e-mail:

  • -Wilko was pumped on beating TB, and TB was pure class after the defeat.
  • -Davo’s looking hungry so hide the judges, contest checks, and your girlfriends.
  • -Slater’s pretty much got number 10 in the bag. He started playing and experimenting in his heat against Gabe. Kling was tripping, and slipping, and falling. Kelly’s looking really comfortable, solid, strong, focused, relaxed, you name it.
  • -Can’t believe Fanning lost to Travis today. So painful to watch it happen.
  • -Didn’t stick around to shoot the super glarey backlit heats. Watched Brett lose to Jadson and Jordy take down Dingo while drinking a cold one at the local bar.
To Mick's credit, putting up 15.93 points beats Travis Logie nine times out of ten. Photo: Dorsey
To Mick's credit, putting up 15.93 points beats Travis Logie nine times out of ten. Photo: Dorsey
Look who decided to show up on the beach today! Photo: Dorsey
Look who decided to show up on the beach today! Photo: Dorsey

World Title Implications:

After Portugal, only two events remain. With Taj bowing out today he’s pretty much out of the picture. It’s really now mathematically a 3-man-race. Mick still has a chance, and you can’t count him out because he’s one of the most focused competitors around. Jordy is still going strong in Portugal and needs to do as good as Kelly or better to keep on the 9-time champ. With Jordy it comes down to whether or not the pressure of his first potential World Title will get to him. And Kelly is Kelly. Like I said, mathematically it’s a 3-man-race. But realistically, it’s the Kelly Slater swan song.

Things get mixed up for Round 4 tomorrow in the non-elimination-three-man-heats round, so stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for full coverage.—Ryan Brower

CHECK OUT THE DAY 2 PHOTOS.

CHECK OUT THE DAY 1 PHOTOS.

CHECK OUT CARISSA MOORE'S WIN IN THE WOMEN'S EVENT.

Davo put up a big win against Taylor Knox and is looking hungry. Photo: Dorsey
Davo put up a big win against Taylor Knox and is looking hungry. Photo: Dorsey
Taj still lit a few waves up before being handed the loss by Wilko. Photo: Dorsey
Taj still lit a few waves up before being handed the loss by Wilko. Photo: Dorsey
Taj didn't let another World Title hope that just went down the drain interfere with good sportsmanship though. Photo: Dorsey
Taj didn't let another World Title hope that just went down the drain interfere with good sportsmanship though. Photo: Dorsey

CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE.

Tahitian Michel Bourez took care of Dan Ross with power hacks like this one. Photo: Dorsey
Tahitian Michel Bourez took care of Dan Ross with power hacks like this one. Photo: Dorsey
Ace Buchan is still cruising through this one and is looking to keep himself as the highest rated goofyfoot on tour. Photo: Dorsey
Ace Buchan is still cruising through this one and is looking to keep himself as the highest rated goofyfoot on tour. Photo: Dorsey
Kelly's looking pretty poised for number 10 at the moment. Photo: Dorsey
Kelly's looking pretty poised for number 10 at the moment. Photo: Dorsey
Who looks like that and heads to the beach in anything other than a bikini? Photo: Dorsey
Who looks like that and heads to the beach in anything other than a bikini? Photo: Dorsey
Mick's deadly backhand slices weren't quite enough to beat out Travis Logie. Photo: Dorsey
Mick's deadly backhand slices weren't quite enough to beat out Travis Logie. Photo: Dorsey
Once Kelly had Gabe Kling all but finished he started trying some different things. Photo: Dorsey
Once Kelly had Gabe Kling all but finished he started trying some different things. Photo: Dorsey

CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE.

Not surprised if he's landed something like this before. Kelly Slater. Photo: Dorsey
Not surprised if he's landed something like this before. Kelly Slater. Photo: Dorsey
Davo. Photo: Dorsey
Davo. Photo: Dorsey
Here's a little closer look at our friend from before. Photo: Dorsey
Here's a little closer look at our friend from before. Photo: Dorsey
With only two events left Mick is going to have to surf his brains out and root against Kelly and Jordy to have a shot at the title. Photo: Dorsey
With only two events left Mick is going to have to surf his brains out and root against Kelly and Jordy to have a shot at the title. Photo: Dorsey
That's Kelly Slater in the middle of that mob that after his heat today. I think if someone said I could be Kelly for a day I'd have to rethink it just because of scenes like this—well for maybe a second at least... Photo: Dorsey
That's Kelly Slater in the middle of that mob that after his heat today. I think if someone said I could be Kelly for a day I'd have to rethink it just because of scenes like this—well for maybe a second at least... Photo: Dorsey
Jeremy Flores took out Bobby Martinez today. Photo: Dorsey
Jeremy Flores took out Bobby Martinez today. Photo: Dorsey

CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE.

Kelly. Photo: Dorsey
Kelly. Photo: Dorsey
T. Knox after losing out to Davo. Photo: Dorsey
T. Knox after losing out to Davo. Photo: Dorsey
The opposite end of the spectrum: Davo psyching. Photo: Dorsey
The opposite end of the spectrum: Davo psyching. Photo: Dorsey
And Wilko couldn't hide the smile on his face after beating Taj. Photo: Dorsey
And Wilko couldn't hide the smile on his face after beating Taj. Photo: Dorsey
Kelly, contemplating number 10 and his departure from competitive surfing? Only time will tell... Photo: Dorsey
Kelly, contemplating number 10 and his departure from competitive surfing? Only time will tell... Photo: Dorsey

BELGAS, Peniche/Portugal (Tuesday, October 12, 2010) – The world's best surfers showcased their unparalleled versatility today, trading the barrels of Supertubos for punchy two-to-three (1 metre) peaks at Belgas for Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, today's Rip Curl Pro Portugal bore witness to major developments in the ASP World Title Race, with two major contenders bowing out in Round 3 of competition.

Travis Logie (ZAF), 31, current ASP World Tour No. 34, caused the upset of the event this afternoon, eliminating reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 3, Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, from competition with a frenzied backhand assault on the Belgas righthanders.

"I can't believe it," Logie said. "Halfway through that heat, I was comboed and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Then I got two good rights and surfed them for all I was worth. The scores didn't come through for a while because there were a lot of waves close together. Then it came out that I had taken the lead and Mick (Fanning) got that good one right at the end. He just missed out and I'm so stoked."

After dispatching of current ASP World No. 5, Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, in Round 2 yesterday, Logie's confidence is running high with intentions of carrying him to a solid result in Portugal towards his requalification campaign.

"It's a crucial event for me for sure," Logie said. "I've had so many close calls this year that haven't gone my way and I really need to put some results on the board if I want to make the cutoff after Pipe. After these last two heats, I have a lot of confidence and hopefully things keep going my way."

Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 27, caused another monster upset in the opening heat of the afternoon, eliminating current ASP World No. 4, Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, with an inspired display of progressive surfing.

"I had a little free surf this morning and had a few fun ones," Wilkinson said. "My board felt really good and I was just excited to surf a heat and see what the outcome was. That was the third heat I've had Taj (Burrow) this year and he's got me twice before. It feels good to get him back. The forecast doesn't look excellent for the remainder of the period and I feel like if we continue to surf in beachies, I can compete with the best of them."

Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, survived his Round 3 heat against compatriot Gabe Kling (USA), 30, this afternoon, coming one step closer to clinching an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title.

"You can't really have a plan out there. You have to be active and catch a lot of waves. I was just trying to figure it out while I was out there. I have to win some heats and surf the same way. I need to be aggressive and go for big scores, but you also have to be smart and pick your waves."

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, current ASP World No. 2, kept his ASP World Title hopes alive this afternoon, besting replacement surfer Dean Morrison (AUS), 29, in the final heat of the day.

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Owen Wright (AUS), 20, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 8, kept the action hot and heavy, collecting this season's fourth Perfect 10 for a fin-free turn straight into a full rotation mute grab on his forehand.

"I had actually creased my board on the wave previous and I was really just coming in to change boards," Wright said. "I was really just going for broke and the section presented itself. I actually got more height than I thought I would and rotated out of it clean. I was pretty psyched when I heard the score."

One of the form surfers of the event last season as a wildcard, Wright's campaign was cut short because of a blown ear drum in the Semifinals. Into Round 4 of competition already, the young Australian is moving ever-closer to notching his first ASP World Tour event win.

"I have great memories from this event last year," Wright said. "I have some bad memories too, but I feel like I've put those behind me and I'm moving forward. That was a great heat for me and hopefully I can move forward."

Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, fellow 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 10, was not to be outdone in the race for 2010 ASP Rookie of the Year, executing two high-profile aerials on his final wave to edge past Brett Simpson (USA), 25.

"I had lots of opportunities but I kept falling," Andre said. "I knew I needed a big score at the end and that wave was perfect. When I landed the second air I was so happy."

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am for a possible 8:30am start at Belgas.

When competition resumes, up first will be Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, Michel Bourez (PYF) and Adrian Buchan (AUS), 27, in the opening heat of Round 4.

Magicseaweed, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for the swell to dip slightly tomorrow before filling in for a potential finish on Thursday at Supertubos.

Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be available via live.ripcurl.com.

For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.

RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1:
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.67 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.50
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.00 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 7.56
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.17 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.40
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.90 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.24
Heat 5: Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.60 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.67
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.17 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.60
Heat 7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.04 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.93
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.60 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 8.50
Heat 9: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.77 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.70
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) 17.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.80
Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.83 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 13.67
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.17 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.26

RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1:
Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Travis Logie (ZAF), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF)