Kelly Slater Won’t Go Away

To say that he trounced the competitors in his first heat, the second of the day would be a gross understatement. His first scoring ride was a thick right-hand tube that saw him funnel through a solid little dumper that shut a full section down on him while he was locked in, and he came out clean to finish off with a little reo for a 9.5 score. Ace Buchan and rookie Ricardo Christie were left in the dust and when Slater hooked into another one it was all over. His second bomb, and it was a bomb, was a tube bigger than his first, deeper, with a ton more spit, and he came out with his hands behind his back. His hands behind his fucking back, people! In comparison to his first it looked like a technical 10-point ride, but it came in 9.77, with the judges obviously leaving something on the scale at this early stage of the day’s competition. Kelly paddled out after it, and totally relaxed started chatting to CJ Hobgood, sitting and waiting for his heat, and as commentator Ross Wiilliams said, ‘when that kid gets chatty, it’s doomsday…”

The waves were good, punchy beach break barrels at Barra, and it was a great decision to run today. Although Rio is often written off as the worst wave on tour, Slater’s two tubes beg the question as to it being worthy of a bit more claimage in comparison to, for example, Snapper Rocks this year. Those two tubes alone totally eclipsed the best waves that Snapper produced over the entire 14-day waiting period. Having said that, it is The King, and he can get barreled off his head at a wave pool. Talking of which, I wonder how the Kelly Slater Wave Co is coming on…?

There is still more to the Brazilian Storm

Wiggolly Dantes is another frothing Brazilian who is desperate to join his compatriots. All eyes so far this year have been on Adriano and Filipe, with many other beady eyes keeping tabs on Gabriel, but Wiggolly has been totally under the radar so far. Possibly on seeing all the Brazilian media attention to the rest of the team, Wiggolly decided that he wanted some of that and went to town in his opening heat. With a 7.47 and an 8.5 on the score sheet, Wiggolly thrived on the local support in taking out a sluggish John John and CJ to go straight through to the third round. He’s hungry, and he’s tenacious. Could a bigger storm be brewing? When will the storm subside?

Adriano Is Looking The Juggernaut

Our number one surfer on the Jeep Leaderboard is looking even more dangerous, and dare we say it, unstoppable. His massive airdrop stomp into a dry and slabbing right-hander was one of the best waves of the opening day, and his opening left hander in which he cracked it off the top and floated a massive shore dump, showed that he is not letting off the gas. He has a solid 7,550 points lead at the moment, and @Mineirinho has got the eye of the tiger. “Keeping his dream run alive, the further he goes in this event the more dangerous he becomes,” said Pottz.

With a lot of pressure on him, Adriano was delivering. “I’m proud of myself to make the first heat and want to keep the momentum going into the next round,” said Adriano. “The Margaret River event was so special, but now we have another event, and we have another story.”

Another story indeed.

Filipe Is Getting Better

His inverted backhand air reverse was crazy. So confident, utilizing the wind-whip under his tail, it was a wild and boisterous air that saw one judge drop a 10 for a single-move wave. An average score of 9.7 put him well into the lead, leaving Brother chasing, and Melling combo’d. Apart from Kelly, ‘The Tracks Form Guide’ are all about The Storm so far, and rightly so. Gabriel won his heat, convincingly. Italo Ferreira beat Mick Fanning and Alex Ribeiro, and Jadson Andre beat Josh Kerr and Dusty Payne.

Brazil: Not So Bad

It’s easy enough to see what the waves were like by looking at all the good and excellent scores that come through during the day. If there are 8-point rides and 9-point rides being dropped, then the ocean is producing some nice shit. A quick glimpse shows two 9-plus rides for Kelly, an 8.5 for Wiggolly, an 8-plus ride and a 9.73 for Adriano, an 8.77 for Kai, that 9.7 single move rode for Filipe, and Parko’s ridiculous 9.17 for a chunky backhand tube, to tight hook to massive “rock and roll float” according to Joey Turpel. Maybe the bad rap that Rio always gets is not that justified. The crowds are into it, the surfers are into it, and if they’re getting properly slotted as well as doing massive airs, there is progressive surfing going on, and that’s what we all want - to watch progressive surfing.

Backside Air Rotes

Every one was busting them out. Filipe had that one incredible one, Julian Wilson almost pulled off a giant one that he landed but just didn’t quite stomp, and Matt Banting executed a tight backhand rotation to win heat 11, and most other natural footed surfers except Fanning attempted at least one in their heats. Everyone was spinning in the air, and as the barrels disappeared in the afternoon cross-shore, going to the air was the only way to win. “It was Backdoor Pipe this morning, but now it’s just ramps out there,” said Banting after his heat win. “I swapped boards and took the 5’11, and it felt good. I had a bit of late night last night as well,” he added, smiling. “I didn’t think that we’d be surfing today, so I’m going to be more prepared tomorrow.”

Good man.

Oi Rio Men’s Pro Round 1 Results:

Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.17, Brett Simpson (USA) 12.07, Taj Burrow (AUS) 6.30

Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.27, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.06, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 11.76

Heat 3: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.97, John John Florence (HAW) 10.66, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.94

Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.33, Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 7.77, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 4.90

Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.07, Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.33, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 2.47

Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.90, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.60, David do Carmo (BRA) 5.67

Heat 7: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.04, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.97, Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.03

Heat 8: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.06, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.67, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.60

Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.84, Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.94, Nat Young (USA) 6.17

Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.27, Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.93, Adam Melling (AUS) 8.40

Heat 11: Matt Banting (AUS) 9.76, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.26, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.10

Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.96, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.47, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.34

Watch Heat Analyser to catch up on all the action.