Billabong Rio Pro

Toledo Shines Among Upsets on Opening Day of Billabong Rio Pro

Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Schedule: Men's Round 1 (Heats 1-12)
Conditions: 3-foot (1 metre) waves at Barra Da Tijuca.

Round 1

Heat 1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.70, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.60, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.40

Opening day of the Billabong Rio Pro kicked off with 2011 event winner Adriano de Souza (BRA), 2013 Quarterfinalist Sebastian Zietz (HAW) and Portuguese standout Tiago Pires (PRT) in the water first in clean conditions at the powerful beachbreak of Barra Da Tijuca.

The international standouts got off to a quick start, all logging small scores on the board throughout the first half of the heat. Pires established a lead with the first substantial ride of a 6.33 for two solid turns. Both De Souza and Zietz fought hard to battle back, catching a flurry of waves, but the Portugues Tiger held on to the lead, advancing directly to Round 3.

Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.53, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.17, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.87

Current ASP World No. 1 and crowd favorite Gabriel Medina (BRA) wasted little time to open his Billabong Rio Pro campaign, etching a pair of 6-point rides to start. Fellow countryman Raoni Monteiro (BRA) answered back, notching a strong 7.50 of his own while Adrian Buchan (AUS) picked off a few small rides.

Medina built momentum, blending his polished technical approach and his aerial game on both his forehand and backhand, strengthening his lead over the pack. Medina held on for the win, advancing directly to Round 3.

Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.60, Brett Simpson (USA) 7.83, Adam Melling (AUS) 7.24

Taj Burrow (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), and Brett Simpson (USA) battled next, with the trio sharing a series of small scores throughout the first 20 minutes.

Burrow's 5.13 placed him in the lead and while his backup ride consisted of only a mid-range 4.00, it would prove enough for the win.

Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.67, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.20, Glenn Hall (IRL) 8.67

With the swell leveling off, each Heat 4 contender took different strategies for their initial attempts. Joel Parkinson (AUS) rode early and frequently, breaking left for two quick single-pointers. Injury replacement Glenn Hall (IRL) took a different tact, waiting for a sizable wave, caught his first ride four minutes in and scored a 5.67 for a powerful tail-free turn followed by a clean carve and a closeout air-reverse.

But the lead didn't hold long for Hall as Parko took advantage of a clean wave, with back-to-back cutbacks and a massive carve for a 6.50. That lead stretched beyond reach of Hall and Jeremy Flores (FRA) when he was able to drive through a barrel and added a clean cutback for a 7.17 at the halfway point. Flores chased down a two-turn wave for a 6.97 but was unable to overcome the 6.71 spread, giving Parkinson the go-ahead to Round 3.

Heat 5: Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.07, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 8.53, Kelly Slater (USA) 8.64

Eleven-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) established an early lead over rookie Mitch Crews (AUS) and wildcard Peterson Crisanto (AUS), with a 4.43 and 3.67 on his forehand.

Crews quickly battled back, making a critical barrel on his forehand for a 7.57. The Australian quickly backed up his efforts on another right-hander, lofting a clean frontside air for a 5.50, placing both Crisanto and Slater in need of excellent scores.

Slater and Crisanto would hunt the lineup, but were unable to find the waves needed to surpass Crews' score. Crew took Round 1 and advances directly to Round 3.

Heat 6: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.10, David do Carmo (BRA) 10.30, Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.07

Kolohe Andino (USA) took full advantage of the no-wave-limit adjustment, hitting a keeper score with a draining barrel ride for a 6.17. With Mick Fanning (AUS) and wildcard David do Carmo (BRA) just trying to make the most of the subsiding swell, Andino worked his aerial game, posting a 6.0 with a clean grab.

Fanning and do Carmo scrambled for mid-range scores, but with just a few minutes remaining Andino added to his heat total with a 6.93, wrapping up the heat with the win after almost 20 scores.

Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.33, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.20, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.76

Josh Kerr (AUS) wasted little time to open his Billabong Rio Pro campaign, launching a big stalefish air-reverse just after the buzzer for a 5.83. The flyboy displayed his versatility shortly-after, logging the first excellent score of the day with an 8.50 when he plowed through a deep barreling right-hander.

Bede Durbidge (AUS) answered back, detonating a series of powerful hacks on steep rights for a 7.50 and 5.77. Durbidge had a last-minute strike in need of a 6.80, but his 6.70 fell just shy.

Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.67, Fred Pattachia (HAW) 12.50, Travis Logie (ZAF) 9.60

Defending event champion Jordy Smith (ZAF) took a progressive approach to maximize wave potential. In the final minutes of the first half, Smith racked up two keeper scores: A combination of carves, an air reverse, and a closing rail-carve scored him a 6.67 and he advanced his lead on his next wave with a 7.00 for quality rail-surfing capped off by a clean backhand reverse.

Smith's heat combatants Fred Patacchia (HAW) and Travis Logie (ZAF) posted average scores early on and a long lull in workable conditions left them wanting. With just under five minutes to go, Patachhia ducked into a barrel and stomped a powerful carve for 6.27, but neither the Hawaiian nor Logie could overcome Smith's early lead.

Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.30, Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.93, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 10.47

Heat 9 hosted an aerial shootout between Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Julian Wilson (AUS) while Aritz Aranburu (ESP) relied on backhand power surfing.

Tolodeo launched the highest scores of Billabong Rio Pro competition for two full-rotation, no grab, frontside airs. The Brazilian's scores of 8.77 and 9.43 left both Wilson and Aranburu in a combination situation despite solid efforts of their own.

Toledo's air show continued, vaulting an additional 8.87 to cap off a dominant Round 1 win.

Heat 10: Nat Young (USA) 11.86, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.67, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.94

After Toledo tallied one of the highest heat scores of the season, scores took a serious nose dive. It wasn't until just before the 15 minute mark that we saw any notable scores.

That began with Alejo Muniz (BRA) riding out a punchy wave with a series of powerful carves, opting for a clean grounded run despite the mounting aerial show that preceded this heat. Muniz scored back-to-back mid-range scores, giving him a slight advantage over Nat Young (USA) and Miguel Pupo (BRA).

With just over 10 minutes to go, Young drove down the line with his classic vertical style closing with a big stomp and scoring a 6.03 to overtake the lead. Unfortunately for the Brazilians, the sets flattened out preventing any significant scores and allowing Young to advance with a low combination heat score of 11.86.

Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.13, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.60, Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.03

It was another slow start in Heat 11 with Michel Bourez (PYF), Owen Wright (AUS) and Jadson Andre (BRA) simply feeling out what they had to work with. Bourez was the only surfer in the heat to post a significant score in the first 10 minutes, earning a 6.33 for back-to-back strong vertical snaps.

Wright brought back the air game, putting up a full rotation after a clean cutback to take the lead with a 6.27 score. That lead held for a little over 10 minutes before Andre pulled one of his characteristic big air-reverses, managing to close on a frontside carve for a 6.33, allowing him to trump Wright's combination. Bourez and Wright made last ditch efforts in the final 30 seconds but Andre's combined total held up for the win.

Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) 6.33, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.53, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.80

The battle between John John Florence (HAW), C.J. Hobgood (USA) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS) got off to a slow start with all three competitors logging small scores throughout the first half of the heat.

Wilko stomped a committed forehand punt, overtaking Florence for the lead. While the Australian was on his way to his first Round 1 win of the season, a flurry unfolded in the dying minutes. Florence capitalized on a last-second barrel with perfect execution, posting a 6.33 and overtaking Wilkinson for the lead. Hobgood was on the following wave, but the goofy-footer's 5.17 fell shy of the score needed.

Florence relegated Wilkinson and Hobgood to Round 2 compliments of his last-ditch efforts.