Jordy Smith was on fire on the opening day of the Billabong Pro Rio surfing contest yesterday, blasting his way directly into Round 3 with the joint highest single ride score and second highest heat tally in thumping one to two metre beachbreak waves at Barra de Tijuca in Brazil.
Rejuvenated after spending his summer break back in Southern Africa, Smith has been one of the form surfers on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) and came into the third stop ranked No. 7 in the world after reaching the semi-finals in the last event at Bells Beach Australia and finishing 13th at the season opener on the Gold Coast.
Trailing after an outstanding tube ride by Adam Melling that earned the Australian 9.57 out of 10, Smith fought his way back with a 7.17, took the lead by adding a 5.73 and then sealed the heat victory with a deep tube and a spectacular close-out re-entry that earned him 9.77 and a heat total of 16.94 out of 20.
“I just started the year off at home,” Smith said. “I wanted to let last year go. I have incredible people around me at the moment from my friends to my girlfriend. I also did a trip and I felt like I’d been behind the speed bump and couldn’t get past my injury. I was still feeling one step behind and then I went on a trip to Mozambique with my best friend and it changed everything for me. It got me over that hump and put a smile on my face again. It got me stoked again and I’m pumped.”
Travis Logie was not as fortunate in his Round 1 match-up, finding wave selection difficult in the challenging conditions and finishing second behind WCT rookie Glenn Hall (IRL). Logie faces fellow WCT veteran Kieren Perrow (AUS) in Round 2 when men’s competition resumes.
Others amongst the world’s top 34 surfers to star on Day 1 included Brazilian prodigy Gabriel Medina, 19, who threaded his way through several hollow barrels on his backhand to record the day’s highest heat total of 18.0, fellow Brazilian and Bells Beach winner Adriano de Souza and the perennial top contenders in reigning ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS), 11-time world champ Kelly Slater (USA) and two-time world champ Mick Fanning (AUS), all of whom convincingly won their encounters.
The Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro, stop No. 5 of 7 on 2013 ASP Women’s WCT, got underway in smaller one metre waves and clean conditions at Barra de Tijuca this morning.
South African rookie Bianca Buitendag (George), currently ranked No. 9 after a fifth, two ninths and a 13th place result in her first four events at this level, finished third in the first heat of the day. Buitendag will contest her Round 2 heat later today as the organisers run as far as they can through the women’s draw.
Live webcasts and highlights from the Billabong Rio Pro and Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro will be available via http://wctbrasil.com/rio13
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.27, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 1.40
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.07, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 7.56, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 1.83
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.66, Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 8.93, Taj Burrow (AUS) 8.67
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.20, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.27, Jack Freestone (AUS) 7.96
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.34, Messias Felix (BRA) 9.83, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 2.47
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.30, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 4.63, Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 1.46
Heat 7: Glenn Hall (IRL) 15.46, Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.00, Julian Wilson (AUS) 1.46
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.00, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.26, Damien Hobgood (USA) 4.04
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA) 11.46, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.74, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.37
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.94, Adam Melling (AUS) 12.44, Kai Otton (AUS) 5.53
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.27, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.77, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.27
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.43, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.56, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.43
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Gustavo Fernandes (BRA)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Messias Felix (BRA)
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (BRA) vs. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 10: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 11: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.04, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.34, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.33
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Phillipa Anderson (AUS)
Heat 5: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Laura Enever (AUS), Alize Arnaud (FRA)
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW), Alana Blanchard (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)