The final eight surfers have been decided after a crucial day of competition at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime rated Mr Price Pro Ballito on Friday July 4, 2014.
Filipe Toledo (BRA), 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 â€˜magicâ€™ 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.
â€œI donâ€™t have words to describe what I am feeling,â€ Toledo said. â€œI broke that board but I think God helped me to get my backup board and it worked out much better.
â€œCaio (Ibelli) is a great competitor and it is sad to see him out of the event but Iâ€™m feeling confident and looking forward to the next round.â€
With so much at stake, competition came down to the wire and many heats were decided on a surferâ€™s final wave with scores separated by less than a point.
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 Dunphyâ€™s 15.10 (both out of 20.00).
â€œIâ€™m sick of being patient and waiting until right at the end, itâ€™s so scary Iâ€™m going to lose all my hair,â€ Freestone said. â€œThat 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.â€
Timmy Reyes (USA) hit his stride, showing plenty of rhythm with clean, forehand turns that were in stark contrast to his Brazilian opponent Krystian Kymersonâ€™s aerial antics. Reyes netted a pair of 7.93 and 7.50 scores to defeat the Brazilian and advance into the Quarterfinals.
â€œThis 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,â€ Reyes said. â€œI donâ€™t do many events, so Iâ€™ve got to make them count and this one counts.â€
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 Mellingâ€™s performance securing him the win with 8.50 and 7.33 scores.
Exuding flair and showmanship Matt Wilkinson was able to overcome Buchan with a pair of 7-point rides.
â€œItâ€™s kind of annoying coming up against a good friend so early in the competition,â€ Wilkinson said. â€œIf that had been a final, it would have been amazing. Adrian is one of my favorite surfers to watch, so to beat him feels pretty good.â€
Another inspired performance came from Dillon Perillo (USA) currently no. 81 on the QS, who turned on the heat against aerial maestro Torrey Meister (HAW). Perrilloâ€™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 couldnâ€™t find his rhythm in the challenging lineup.
â€œIt was a tough heat and the waves didnâ€™t co-operate,â€ Pires said. â€œI started well and Davey was chasing the whole time, there werenâ€™t too many opportunities out there so I was just lucky.â€
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)