The war of attrition for many of the top 10 surfers on the Jeep Leaderboard, established yesterday during the first four heats of Round Two, marched on. With five of the top 11 surfers now out of the event following the completion of Round Two -- Matt Wilkinson, Owen Wright, Joel Parkinson, Connor O'Leary and Kolohe Andino -- ratings leaders and the rest of the Title chase pack will be licking their chops at the opportunity to extend their leads or make up valuable ground with just a handful of Tour stops left on the calendar.
Ace Buchan summed up the sentiment after his tight Round Two heat win over a rampaging Stu Kennedy. "I'm completely focused on what I can do and yesterday there was a bit of carnage and I was bummed to see Matty [Wilkinson] and Owen [Wright] lose," he said. "I've been spending a lot of time with them this year and those are heavy losses in terms of their Title calculations, but there's still a lot of water to go under the bridge."
World No. 11 and San Clemente hometown hero, Kolohe Andino, was the first casualty of the day when the remaining eight heats of Men's Round Two picked back up under gloomy skies, variable winds and lully surf. Jadson Andre used solid surfing, relentless energy and good tactics to eliminate San Clemente local favorite Kolohe Andino in Round Two at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. It's the second time in three events that Jadson has ended things early for the Californian.
And while Jaddy made all the right moves, Andino's waiting game backfired. He held steady in the lineup for a large set wave that never materialized. Andre surfed well and buzzed around the lineup, but it was not a tidy heat for the Brazilian, he fell on a number of rides when he could have consolidated his lead. For Andino, Jadson's 12.93 total heat score was hardly insurmountable, yet he made his comeback late in the heat. Needing a 6-point ride on the buzzer, Andino came up just short.
As the day unfolded, a similar pattern began to emerge -- goofyfoots going straight up, taking advantage of the slopey rights to the detriment of the vertically challenged naturalfooters. Following Andre's lead, a trio of Brazilian goofies put their regularfooted challengers to the sword. First, a re-engergized Miguel Pupo, followed by Wiggolly Dantas and Italo Ferreira.
"I'm trying to go back to when I first came on Tour in 2011 and I was surfing the way I wanted to, just going out there and pushing as hard I can," Pupo said. "This is the place where I won my first event as a professional so it's a pretty special place for me. This wave is amazing, you just want to do a thousand turns on every wave you get which is hard when you're in competition because you can think too much, but you have to feel it. I was falling a lot in the first few events of the year so I was just trying to make all my waves today."
Wiggolly Dantas remains one of the more lethal hidden threats on Tour. The powerful Brazilian goofyfooter is capable of big things, and while his fifth-place finish in Tahiti was his best result of the season, there's little doubt he's got more in the tank, and he proved it on Tuesday during his Round Two match with Leonardo Fioravanti. "I'm not really thinking about the rankings right now. I just want to surf more here at Lowers with only one other guy in the water," Dantas said. "The rankings will be tough by the end of the year and I want to do good to get a better rank which I'll look at more toward the last few events to see where I'm at." The Italian, meanwhile, had been on an absolute tear during warm-up sessions at Lowers, surfing fast and powerfully, but his wave rhythm failed him during his date with Dantas. The Brazilian reminded everyone that he's put in his fair share of time at Lower Trestles. He looked loose and lively during his commanding win.
After missing three events due to injury earlier this year, Brazil's Italo Ferreira is looking like his old self again. Though he wasn't the headliner on Tuesday at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, he did earn the second-highest heat score of the day on his way to a win over Jack Freestone. "That was a great heat starting with an eight then getting a seven," said Italo, "and I'm just so happy to be back here at Lowers and catching a lot of waves." Ferreira has a strong case to take this year's injury wildcard should the need arise, but given his current trajectory he's not going to need it. In fact, he's likely to be one of the biggest World Title spoilers moving forward. Consider yourself warned.
Rookie Ezekiel Lau saved the best for last, surfing against fellow rookie Ian Gouveia in the final heat of Round Two. While Round One of the Hurley Pro was chock full of 9 point rides, including a handful of 9.50s, conditions on Day 7 made for scores in the 8 point range relatively scarce. The big Hawaiian's best results during his rookie campaign have been at open faced rights like Bells (Winkipop, to be precise) where he's been able to open up his approach, tap into his inner Sunny Garcia and lay into his trademark gouges. Channeling years of competitive success at Lowers in the amateur ranks, Lau unleashed his prodigious power game on an unwitting mid-tide righthander, earning a 9.50 -- the highest single ride of the entire elimination round.
According to Surfline, another batch of reinforcing swell out of the south should arrive overnight, providing plenty of quality surf at Lowers for Round Three of the Hurley Pro and Round Four of the Swatch Pro. Be sure to check out all the action beginning at 7:30 a.m. (PDT).
Hurley Pro Remaining Round 2 (H5-12) Results:
Heat 5: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.93 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.50
Heat 6: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.60 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.67
Heat 7: Joan Duru (FRA) 14.83 def. Nat Young (USA) 10.50
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.60 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 13.70
Heat 9: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 14.84 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 7.60
Heat 10: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 13.80 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.30
Heat 11: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.93 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.74
Heat 12: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 16.83 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 10.50
Hurley Pro Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 4: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Evan Geiselman (USA)
Heat 7: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Ethan Ewing (AUS)