Airs to the left, reos and carves to the right as Filipe, Italo, Bede and Wilko move on to the semifinals.
Airs to the left, reos and carves to the right. Two sides of the draw see the wild air kids meeting in semi one, and the old school rippers clash in semi two. Here's what went down overnight in Rio:
Good waves well, relatively good waves in a Rio sort of way greeted the contestants for Day 4 of the Oi Rio Pro. It was an air day more than a barrel day, and the judges witnessed a huge array of tweaked airs as the remaining surfers pushed harder and harder. Filipe smashed his quarter against the Kiwi rookie Ricardo Christie, scoring an 8.33 for a massive forehand rotation, straight into a fins-free hit on the inside to advance into the semi-finals in front of a manic 20,000 crowd. He simply put more air moves in the bag against the Kiwi, showing his full repertoire and appeasing the crowd that had lost major wind from the Brazilian Storm. As Joey Turpel said, “Filipe is just out of control, to be honest.”
Italo Ferriera has his shit together
Italo Ferriera continued to keep the storm alive by banking a 7.30 for a crazy tail waft rotation as part of a combination aerial to tail slide that the judges loved. Jadson Andre put in a massive effort including the biggest score of the heat with a 7.87, but the rookie had him on two waves. The Rookie Onslaught and the Brazilian Storm combined into one fierce goofy-foot package, Italo has the hunger to chase his compatriots Gabby, ADS and Toledo all the way home. The rookies in this event, led by Italo have showed the world why they are on the World Tour and why they deserve to be where they are. Ricardo blazed forward, Matt kicked Kelly’s butt, Keanu eliminated Gabby, and Italo is into the semis.
Never discount Bede
That Australian natural-footed quarter of Kerrzy and Bede was a more frustrating heat. Neither surfer found the absolute bombs and Kerrzy couldn’t manifest the ramps that he loves and excels in so much. Bede got the best wave of the final, a left that he belted three times in a tight rhythm for an 8.07 score and was stoked with the win. Josh was understandably bitterly disappointed. “Losing in the quarters is tough, you know. You really want to break through from the quarter finals.”
Wilko has fat rails
We were always going to be entertained in a quarterfinal heat with Rip Curl teammates, good friends and radical goofy-footers Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson. In rippable lefts and rights Wilko was the first to ban when a fast right-hander opened up and allowed him to rack up a series of tight moves on his backhand.
Owen seemed to be waiting for a wave that never came early in their heat and in the words of Martin Potter, “really needed to get busy”. But when Wilko took the lead Owen wasn't holding back, trying to intimidate his opponent and expose some weaknesses in his good friend's game.
“I had my little spot in the beginning,” said Wilko, “and Owen came into my space, and then he paddled further down, and I got my space again. Then that wave came,” said Wilko.
He killed it, with three fast backhand hooks, fins free and lightning fast, finishing off with a solid crack on the inside.
Wilko knew that he had a fight on though, and didn’t let off. “It’s always scary having Owen in a heat. He almost pulled off that giant air. I was watching from behind,” said a relieved Wilkinson after their tussle.
Wilko found his famous rhythm with equipment coming heavily into play. “Forgiving rails are pretty important in waves like this,” said Wilko of his smooth transitions. “There are so many bumps and wobbles, so having rounder rails kind of helps out.”
Wilko will meet Bede in the semi-finals tomorrow. “Bede’s been surfing really solid,” said Wilko. “We have similar game plans, find the bigger waves with big sections. On the other side of the draw they’re doing all sorts of things.”
Watch Heat Analyser to catch up on all the action.
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo 15.00 (BRA) def. Ricardo Christie 11.00 (NZL)
QF 2: Italo Ferreira 14.30 (BRA) def. Jadson Andre 13.74 (BRA)
QF 3: Bede Durbidge 14.30 (AUS) def. Josh Kerr 11.20 (AUS)
QF 4: Matt Wilkinson 13.76 (AUS) def. Owen Wright 11.30 (AUS)
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Semifinal Match-Ups: SF 1:
SF 1:Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
SF 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)