Stab Magazine | Pressure ebbs and flows in round two of the Rip Curl Pro, Peniche

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Pressure ebbs and flows in round two of the Rip Curl Pro, Peniche

With the world title race balanced as precariously at it is and the number of top seeds turning out in the loser’s round, day two of the Rip Curl Pro, Peniche was always going to be a tense affair. “What the fuck is going on up there?” barked Kelly Slater to Martin Potter as he […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

With the world title race balanced as precariously at it is and the number of top seeds turning out in the loser’s round, day two of the Rip Curl Pro, Peniche was always going to be a tense affair.

“What the fuck is going on up there?” barked Kelly Slater to Martin Potter as he entered the media and competitors’ area. He had just beaten Brazilian triallist Bruno Santos in round two, but he was fuming over the mediocre scores doled out for the mid-sized barrels he racked from the beginning to the end of the heat. Scores that, with seconds remaining, meant the Brazilian had a last ditch shot at victory.

Bruno required an 8.67 on the buzzer and a left peak with around that scoring potential presented itself. It would come as a surprise to many that the former Billabong Pro, Teahupoo winner (all the way from the trials) and a surfer who has made career off barrelling lefts, failed to convert the opportunity. Having survived the scare, Kelly was quick to drop some crushing reality on his world title race rivals.

“Really, the pressure is on Mick. If I didn’t surf another waves this year, Mick would still need to do well,” said Kelly. Also admitting he’s found it difficult not to visualise himself sitting in a bathtub of Veuve with a top hat on, smoking cigars before using 100 dollar bills to dry himself, having won his tenth world title.

“To be honest it’s hard not to think about (winning a 10th world title) somewhat. If I could pull it off it would be amazing for me,” he said.

Kelly’s hopes for a record ten titles were almost aided by German wildcard, Marlon Lipke.

With less than five minutes remaining, world number two Jordy Smith held a slim lead over the German. In what would be the last exchange of the heat, Jordy and Marlon split a peak. Marlon emerged and got the score required for victory in the lead but Jordy had also escaped the tube on the right. The South African lost out in the exchange but did enough to take the heat. He played down his world title hopes after the heat but said the race wasn’t over yet.

“The race isn’t too far apart at the moment, but it’s not too close either…. (Kelly) just has to buckle once and (Mick and I) have to succeed once (to make it closer),” he said. Also conceding, “I have a lot to learn until I get onto those guys level.”

Dane Reynold’s slim title hopes were extinguished in his round two loss to Travis Logie. Despite adding another highlight to the year ending show reel, Dane couldn’t find a back up score. Logie lead from the outset, splitting left pit after left pit for a combined total of 16.06.

World number six Ace Buchan continued one of the best patches of form in his career. He threw down the day’s best performance, racking up the contest’s highest combined total (so far) of 18.00 to defeat Luke Munro.

The former straight A’s high school student revealed that the secret to his purple patch has been savouring the culture and experiences of life on the road. “I’ve been enjoying myself and consciously trying to enjoy the places I’ve been going to and getting into the culture. I love Europe and I had a great time in South Africa and Mexico for the first time. I’ve just been enjoying travelling,” he said.

The day’s most harrowing moment, however, came shortly after Dean ‘Dingo’ Morrison’s round two upset win over world number nine, Adriano de Souza. The Coolie kid, who was relegated during the mid-season tour cut, was a late call up to the event after Bede Durbidge withdrew. Dingo has had a horrendous run of late. He had his cheekbone fractured after being king hit in in a Coolangatta pub before J-Bay and revealed in the post-heat press conference that his marriage had also recently broken down.


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