Jadson Andre Drops John Florence In Round One
Gabs Medina heads to round two elimination, but Kai Otton’s looking sprightly.
It was 2013 when Kai won in Portugal, and he followed it up with a third in 2014. He looks at home in Europe; he hardly falls and finds the waves he needs in heats.
In the first heat of the day, at near-first light, Kai found his moves from the start. He dropped into a solid left-hand tube that he rode out of cleanly for a straight seven. He soon followed it up with a tight right-hander that he hit a few times on his backhand for a 5.43. It was all he needed to jump into the third round, ahead of Nat Young and Julian Wilson.
“Julian actually had priority on both my scoring waves,” said Kai. “It happens in these conditions at a small beachie, but I found the corners and got lucky.”
Gabby couldn’t find the airs in conditions that craved it. The judges were scoring airs, and to a lesser extent tubes. Gabs’ waves were smaller, slower and didn’t offer the ramps that suit his surfing. He, along with Conner Coffin, headed for the round two quagmires. Meanwhile, Freddy Morais utilised his local knowledge in the shifty beach break and took the heat win. Frederico is the top-ranked professional surfer from Portugal and is wildly popular in front of his home crowd.
John John Florence couldn’t buy a wave in his first round heat. His scores of 4.67 and 5.27 were far below yellow jersey expectations, but he was facing off against closeouts, and an adamant Jadson Andre. Needing a score, John John paddled for a set, and Jadson, who’d been dogging the Hawaiian up and down the line-up, went for the wave to block him, losing priority. Then, sans priority, Jaddy chose to chase John John around a bit, leaving wildcard Miquel Blanco with carte blanche to do something big. The gamble paid off for Jadson, the wildcard didn’t get another good one, and John John finished the heat in third, joining Gabby in round two. Jadson was rueful–if you could call someone who wins a first round heat in a Championship Tour event rueful–and he went out of his way to apologise to John John. The Hawaiian was cool with it, and refused to acknowledge that there was anything in that heat, except surfing. First, second and third (Matty Wilko) placed surfers on the Jeep Leaderboard are all set to fight for survival in round two.
Jordy Smith, the fourth-rated surfer who unlike the gents ahead of him advance to round three, was glowing. Kelly Slater joined him. It was evident that the judges were only scoring airs and tubes, so Kelly pulled off a big air and pulled into and successfully rode a decent backhand tube to get the scores he needed to leapfrog to round three.
Mr Slater’s heat was an exciting one on a predominantly lacklustre day. Matt Banting took to the air and gave it some stick, while Stuart Kennedy followed suit with a big forehand reverse, but no one was in Kelly’s game, and he picked up 15.83, the highest heat total of the day–up to that point. (It was later eclipsed by Josh Kerr.)
The forecast for the waiting period is favourable for the next three days. Hurricane Nicole is set to continue sending this long-period swell onto the banks of Supertubos, and we can only hope to see the break live up to its name.
With John, Gabs, and Wilko all in round two has serious world title and qualification implications. Things just got a bit more exciting.
Round one results:
Heat 1: Kai Otton 12.43, Nat Young 11.77, Julian Wilson 11.40
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino 10.76, Keanu Asing 9.94, Alex Ribeiro 7.23
Heat 3: Jordy Smith 12.30, Jeremy Flores 11.94, Kanoa Igarashi 11.37
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo 14.34, Ryan Callinan 13.20, Matt Wilkinson 7.63
Heat 5: Frederico Morais 11.37, Gabriel Medina 9.76, Conner Coffin 8.03
Heat 6: Jadson Andre 13.20, Miguel Blanco 11.17, John John Florence 9.94
Heat 7: Wiggolly Dantas 10.94, Filipe Toledo 9.53, Adam Melling 8.00
Heat 8: Kelly Slater 15.83, Matt Banting 10.77, Stuart Kennedy 9.63
Heat 9: Josh Kerr 15.90, Alejo Muniz 15.76, Adrian Buchan 7.84
Heat 10: Adriano De Souza 14.17, Jack Freestone 13.50, Caio Ibelli 11.24
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson 14.83, Davey Cathels 12.66, Michel Bourez 10.66
Heat 12: Italo Ferreira 15.00, Sebastian Zietz 14.83, Dusty Payne 12.27
Round two match-ups:
Heat 1: John John Florence vs. Miguel Blanco
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina vs. Ryan Callinan
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson vs. Jeremy Flores
Heat 4: Julian Wilson vs. Alex Ribeiro
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo vs. Adam Melling
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan vs. Matt Banting
Heat 7: Sebastian Zietz vs. Alejo Muniz
Heat 8: Michel Bourez vs. Jack Freestone
Heat 9: Caio Ibelli vs. Davey Cathels
Heat 10: Stuart Kennedy vs. Dusty Payne
Heat 11: Nat Young vs. Conner Coffin
Heat 12: Keanu Asing vs. Kanoa Igarashi
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