Stab Magazine | Mick Fanning falls to wildcard on day two of the Billabong Rio Pro
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Mick Fanning falls to wildcard on day two of the Billabong Rio Pro

Words by Craig Jarvis | All photos ASP/Daniel Smorigo Early on at the Billabong Pro, Rio today, Gabby Medina was caught on the webcast ripping a selfie with a friend, and when he spotted the camera crew he looked a little embarrassed and quietly pocketed his phone. But he was having fun at the beach, […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Words by Craig Jarvis | All photos ASP/Daniel Smorigo

Early on at the Billabong Pro, Rio today, Gabby Medina was caught on the webcast ripping a selfie with a friend, and when he spotted the camera crew he looked a little embarrassed and quietly pocketed his phone. But he was having fun at the beach, safely through to the third round after blitzing his first round heat, and watching the round two dogfights going down in the punchy beach-break peaks of Barra da Tijuca.

The difficult and challenging (read: shit) conditions in Rio have been dominating online conversation, with most either spewing knowledgeable vitriol at the funky beachbreaks, or acknowledging that a beachie, while not as fun and exciting to watch compared to Chopes, has a place in the business machine that is the ASP. The surfers in the contest haven’t been complaining much though, and the crazy air games (or severe lack thereof) have been good viewing so far. The Rio Pro is just part of the puzzle, it attracts the crowds, it offers some thing different, and for now it’s here to stay.

Having no fun whatsoever out there however, was Mick Fanning. Up against a rampant wildcard in David Do Carmo, Mick watched good waves being ridden in that heat but couldn’t seem to find any. The sets eluded him, his waves closed out, and he blew a final air that could’ve potentially changed the game for him. But Do Carmo was in a good place…

If you’re a wildcard and you’re up against the world champ, you have a world of clichés behind you; ‘Nothing to lose’ comes to mind, ‘underdog’, as well as ‘throwing caution to the wind’ and ‘take the world by storm’ are all relevant. Do Carmo adopted them all, putting the current world champ on a flight out of Rio. His first wave was a left (he’s goofy), and he jammed it on rail through the first gaff, followed by a massive second hook, and finished off tight for seven points.

Mick was fighting back all the way, as he is prone to and good at, but then Do Carmo scratched into one of the bigger and better rights of the heat for a massive backhand hook that was totally critical, and a bit ugly, but it was on edge and he finished the wave off well to score 7.93 that in a post heat interview, Kelly thought was a bit generous. It got Do Carmo the win though. The current world champion is out of the game.

Kelly kept it tidy however, against the other wildcard, Peterson Crisanto. It was a low scoring heat, with junky (read: crap) conditions, but Kelly kept his cool and did what was needed, including slipping into a mini barrel, followed by a bizarre off-the-barrel reo that the judges didn’t like anyway, but oozed so much confidence, which is as good a weapon as any. It was a solid victory, even though Pottz did call it ‘dodging a bullet.’ I guess in comparison, Mick took a bullet. To the heart.

Julian Wilson took to the sand against Brett Simpson, and Simpo wanted a win so desperately. He was hungry, and he started strong, but Julian punched into the lead with a massive backhand full rotation for an 8.60 that gave him a solid hold on the heat. Simpo came back however, and took a slim lead towards the end of the heat. Jules, who never says die, was paddling fiercely in the rip and eventually lucked into a smaller left that had a ramp looming. He did not waste the opportunity. He rotated. And landed. Not that high, not that critical, but a perfectly executed backhand air reverse. He needed a 6.54. The judges took ages to decide. Excited online trolls waited with trembling fingers poised above their keyboards, ready to write off the ASP judges yet again. The score came in and it was a 6.77 and enough for the win. Julian smiled, the trolls hesitated a second, regrouped, and hundreds of little fingers started attacking Simpo instead as he banked his fourth 25th place for the year.

While Brett walked off to deal with his frustration, an attack group of Brazilian beauties demanded photos with Julian and kept him hostage with the clicking of their iPhones until security managed to extract him from their bikini straps and usher him to safety.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world at Skeleton Bay, a bunch of lesser-known chargers were riding six-foot and perfect but grinding 20-second offshore tubes with no one around all day. Just saying.

Billabong Rio Pro Round 3 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. David do Carmo (BRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Sebastian Zeitz (HAW)
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Dion Atkinson (AUS)

Billabong Rio Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: David Do Carmo (BRA) 14.93 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.26
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.84 def. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 6.77
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.66 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.66
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.37 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 15.13
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.26 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.40
Heat 6: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.56 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.30
Heat 7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.67 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.17
Heat 8: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 14.06 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.60
Heat 9: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.83 def. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 13.83
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.10 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.10
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.70 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.70
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.50 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.34

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