The final eight surfers have been decided after a crucial day of competition at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Mr Price Pro Ballito on Friday July 4, 2014.
Filipe Toledo (BRA),19, current no. 16 on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) put on yet another show-stopping aerial performance, earning his second Perfect-10 point ride of the event, during the Round of 16.
After breaking his ‘magic’ board on the first wave of the heat, Toledo appeared to be on the back foot against former ASP World Junior Campion Caio Ibelli (BRA) but fought back hard, securing the lead off an excellent 9.00, followed by his perfect score, to advance into the Quarterfinals.
“I don’t have words to describe what I am feeling,” Toledo said. “I broke that board but I think God helped me to get my backup board and it worked out much better.”
“Caio is a great competitor and it is sad to see him out of the event but I’m feeling confident and looking forward to the next round.”
With so much at stake, competition came down to the wire and many heats were decided on a surfer’s final wave with scores separated by less than a point.
In a nail-biting decider, two-time ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone (AUS) got the better of his American opponent Michael Dunphy (USA), when the pair squared off in the Round of 16.
With the lead exchanging hands numerous times Dunphy was defeated in the final seconds when Freestone blasted his way back into first position with a 7.67, winning the heat by just 15.60 to Dunphy’s 15.10 (both out of 20.00).
“I’m sick of being patient and waiting until right at the end, it’s so scary I’m going to lose all my hair,” Freestone said. “That was such a close heat with such good waves, Dunphy had two solid scores and I knew all I needed was two solid turns and luckily it went my way.”
Timmy Reyes (USA) hit his stride, showing plenty of rhythm with clean, forehand turns that were in stark contrast to his Brazilian opponent Krystian Kymerson’s aerial antics. Reyes netted a pair of 7.93 and 7.50 scores to defeat the Brazilian and advance into the Quarterfinals.
“This wave is tricky, you see guys catching not the best waves but going huge in the air and its more of gamble to wait for the better waves and do better turns,” Reyes said. “I don’t do many events, so I’ve got to make them count and this one counts.”
An equally tense match-up saw world no. 21 Adam Melling (AUS) take on world no. 28 Jeremy Flores (FRA), the power and variety in Melling’s performance securing him the win with 8.50 and 7.33 scores.
Australian Matt Wilkinson pulled out his best performance yet to best good friend and fellow WCT campaigner Adrian Buchan (AUS) in the day’s battle of the goofy-footers.
Exuding flair and showmanship Matt Wilkinson was able to overcome Buchan with a pair of 7-point rides.
“It’s kind of annoying coming up against a good friend so early in the competition,” Wilkinson said. “If that had been a final, it would have been amazing. Adrian is one of my favourite surfers to watch, so to beat him feels pretty good.”
Another inspired performance came from Dillon Perillo (AUS) currently no. 81 on the QS, who turned on the heat against aerial maestro Torrey Meister (HAW). Perrillo’s critical surfing earned him a near perfect 9.00 and ultimately, his place in the quarterfinals.
Portuguese surfer Tiago Pires (PRT) surfed a smart heat to take the win over Davey Cathels (AUS). Pires opened with a 7.17 and chipped away to edge out Cathels who couldn’t find his rhythm in the challenging lineup.
“It was a tough heat and the waves didn’t co-operate,” Pires said. “I started well and Davey was chasing the whole time, there weren’t too many opportunities out there so I was just lucky.”
Also advancing into the Quarterfinals was Jadson Andre (AUS) who used a studious approach to overcome the powerful Tom Whittaker (AUS).
“I watched Tom’s earlier heat and I knew when the wind came up, I’d have the advantage against him,” Andre said. “I know every surfer and how they approach their heats and I knew he was going to be patient, so I had to stay busy and I’m stoked it worked out and I am into the Quarterfinals.”
The Mr Price Pro Ballito continues tomorrow, Saturday July 5, 2014. The call will be made at 09:00 for a possible 09:15 start (local time).
Mr Price Pro Ballito Round of 16 Results
Heat 1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.84 def Dave Cathels (AUS) 10.50
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.00 def Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.94
Heat 3: Dillon Perillo (USA) 14.17 def Torrey Meister (HAW) 12.67
Heat 4: Timmy Reyes (USA) 15.43 def Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 14.26
Heat 5: Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.17 def Tom Whittaker (AUS) 8.17
Heat 6: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.83 def Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.03
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.86 def Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.17
Heat 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.60 def Michael Dunphy (AUS) 15.10
Mr Price Pro Ballito Round of 24 Results
Heat 5: Tom Whittaker (AUS) 15.84 def Marlon Lipke (PRT) 14.53
Heat 6: Adam Melling (AUS) 13.10 def Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.90
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 18.10 def Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 14.33
Heat 8: Michael Dunphy (USA) DNS David Do Carmo (BRA)