11 May, 2014 11 May, 2014

Travis Steals Headlines at Billabong Rio Pro

The story of the day in Rio was written in the very first heat, which saw Travis Logie up against current world tour leader, Gabriel Medina, in gurgling pits at Barra Da Tijuca.

In front of a patriotic Brazilian crowd, Gabriel snatched an early lead on a draining left pit that he slotted deep enough inside to impress the judges to the tune of an 8.50pts. He kept the pressure on with some good back-up scores, then looked to be hammering the final nail in the coffin as he bottom turned towards the lip after exiting another clean barrel. Amazingly, considering his abilities in the air, Gabriel came unstuck on an air reverse he’d more often than not land – even blindfolded.

The moment Gabriel let the heat slip from his grasp.

So, with just five minutes left on the heat timer and Gabriel having left the door open, the camera swung to Travis, who was dropping vertically into the cleanest peak of the heat so far. The Durban local hit the brakes just enough to allow him to not only squeeze inside the dredging barrel, but also enough time to kick-out and grab priority for the next set – which was even better.

In a combination situation before his quick in-and-out barrel, Travis’ 6.0pt ride left him needing a 9.0 to win the heat and cause a genuine shake-up in the WCT rankings. With the pressure on he started to think about his birthday, which he was celebrating, and was convinced that nothing was going to come his way as per usual on the 11 May.

His 34th birthday marked a change in that tradition, because a beautiful sandy peak stacked-up across the bank. It looked a lot like a draining Dairy or Wedge left during cyclone season, and Travis knows all about that. He dropped-in below sea level, then tucked just under the falling lip into a square barrel. The wave burped and Travis came flying out after the spit with a fist in the air. It was the best wave all heat and clinched an incredible comeback.

Travis’ heat-winning wave.

“I’m just baffled. I guess it was a nice little birthday present at the end there” said Travis to Rosy Hodge after the heat. “I’ve always had the biggest shockers on my birthday and with four minutes left, I was going ‘it’s just another shocker for your birthday, stoked Trav’ (tips hat). But I got two good little lefts and managed to pull a serious rabbit out of the hat. I don’t know how I did that. I’m speechless, kinda.”

Still absorbing the victory, he sent a shout-out* to good friend, Simon Nicholson, back home.

“Simon lost his wife recently and I was just thinking about them a lot out there, I think Jess sent me that wave, so I’m stoked!” said an emotional Travis.

With the ratings leader out of the event, Kelly Slater will be looking for maximum points in Brazil.

There were plenty of other deep barrels throughout the morning and more Brazilians fell out of contention. Kelly eliminated David Do Carmo (who had ended Mick Fanning’s contest the round before), and Bede Durbidge easily beat Felipe Toledo the heat earlier. Things got worse for Brazil when Jordy Smith put on a convincing performance to knock Jadson Andre out of the event. Adriano De Souza remains in contention, so there’s still something to cheer about for the home support.

Jordy secured a spot in the quarter finals by defeating Joel Parkinson and Sebastian Zietz in Round 4. It wasn’t a convincing win, but you get the impression that he is keeping a little in the tank for what could be a massive day tomorrow. The chance to win back-to-back Rio titles is up for grabs. As is a foot-hold in the Dream Tour title race, which is going to get exciting with Gabriel and Mick’s early exits in Brazil.

Jordy looked solid during both his victories today.

Check out heat reviews, all the results from today, plus more on www.aspworldtour.com

* #friendsofjess still have some rad things up for grabs in their online auction. All proceeds go towards paying off medical costs that accumulated during Jess’ brave fight against cancer. While helping Simon Nicholson and his kids, you can also possibly own Jack Johnson’s ukelele, or Kelly Slater’s signed rashvest from his historic win at Cloudbreak last year. Check out the auction here if you wish to bid on an item.

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