Smith makes painful priority mistake
With a scoreline boasting the day’s highest heat total and single wave score ASP World Tour rookie Jordy Smith (ZAF) looked like he would be collecting top honors on Day 1 of Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro.
Taking the heat instead was fellow rookie and Spanish Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu. Aranburu also blitzed, putting up an 8.50 early and finishing the heat with 16.00 points to finish ahead of wildcard Simao Romao (BRA) and Smith.
“It was a difficult heat, I started well with an 8.50 score, but Jordy also got really good waves,” Aranburu says. “Then in the last three minutes a small wave came toward me, and I knew that I need to get a big score, so I started paddling for the wave. I was in the best position but Jordy started paddling too, so the judges give him interference.”
According to ASP Head Judge Perry Hatchett: “At the initial point of take-off, the wave was a superior left , with white (Aranburu) in position to take it. Red (Smith) was on the wrong side of the peak trying to go right on the close-out with no scoring potential so the interference was called on red (Smith).”
Frustrated, Smith then took off on a wave Romao had priority on, suffered another interference and lost both his scores. Smith, who currently sits 22nd on the ratings, has yet to advance past Round 4 this year. He will meet Pedro Henrique in Round 2.
ASP World Tour No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) won a tight Heat over former ASP World Tour and replacement surfer Raioni Monteiro (BRA) and Damien Hobgood (USA) to advance straight to Round 3 today. Durbidge scored a 9.00 and 6.33 for a 15.33 heat total.
“It was a fun wave, I made a couple of turns and a good air in the end,” Durbidge said of his 9.00 ride. “The waves are so fun. I’m enjoying myself and I really want to win but I need to get through more heats, so I’ll be surfing one heat at a time and trying my best.”
World No. 2 and the 2005 winner of the event Taj Burrow (AUS) also advanced today. With newly crowned nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) not competing, Burrow is the No. 1 seed in the event.
“From what I have seen so far, all the local surfers are surfing really good and being the top seed I have to surf against the locals,” Burrow said. “It’s not easy, but I’m really looking to make heats and to try to win the event.”
Five of the 20 Brazilian surfers competing in the Hang Loose Pro won their heats today. Replacement surfer Hizunome Bettero (BRA), who is currently in a position to qualify for the Dream Tour next year if he can maintain his No. 13 rating on the ASP World Qualifying Series through Hawaii, was the highest scoring of the Brazilian contingent.
“I was pretty stoked to be invited to compete in this event as a wildcard,” Bettero said. “I’m surfing with no pressure, enjoying myself and I will try to show my best surfing. Competing here is a dream because I usually see these guys on TV and in magazines. I hope to be on the ASP World Tour next year but I need to get a good result in Hawaii this year.”
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Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, claimed his third ASP World Tour career win with a victory at the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro in Imbituba, Brazil. Durbidge beat France’s Jeremy Flores 17.76 to 9.86.
Stop No. 10 of 11 finished with the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro. America’s finest competitive surfers were unable to escape Round 4, as they were eliminated by the stacked field of international talent that make up the top 45 on the ASP World Tour.