Much of the talk leading up to the Moche Rip Curl Pro was about how Gabriel Medina could grab the world title in Portugal should he win the event. Well, that’s not going to be the case after he was eliminated in Round 3 by Brett Simpson (USA).
There will be no world title in Portugal for Gabriel, after he was eliminated in Round 3.
Gabriel’s elimination left the door open for Kelly Slater (USA) to peg back the ratings lead and really put pressure on the Brazilian, with the title now to be decided at the Pipe Masters – an event Kelly has won seven times.
Kelly was unable to capitalise on Gabriel’s elimination though, and was defeated in the very next heat by Aritz Aranburu (ESP) in tricky barrelling conditions. Although that result would have pleased Gabriel, he unfortunately didn’t witness it because he had left the beach in a hurry following his loss – opting not to give a post-heat interview after the disappointing defeat.
John John Florence scored his umpteenth Perfect 10 of the season in Round 3.
The two most in-form surfers at the moment, Jordy Smith (ZAF) and John John Florence (HAW), kept their momentum going by posting big scores in Round 3. JJF dropped out of the sky and set his line through the barrel of the day to score a Perfect 10, which added to his heat tally of 18.77pts. Meanwhile, Jordy overpowered some bouncy and powerful sections and rode some clean barrels to score a heat total of 15.83 – including an excellent 9.50 ride.
Watching Jordy’s heat, we couldn’t help but notice that some of the waves looked similar to a solid and stormy day back home in Durban (which was solid and stormy at the same time as well). This could explain why he looked so comfortable as he cruised to an easy win over Freddy Pattachia (HAW). Round 4 Heat 1 should be quite a match-up as both John John and Jordy will be facing each other and Adam Melling (AUS).
Jordy cruised to a comfortable win in Round 3 Heat 2 over Hawaii’s Fred Pattachia.
The difficulty in the conditions was evident for a group of swimmers who needed to be rescued during Jordy’s heat by the safety crew. The strong rip had sucked them off the bank and into trouble in some deeper water, but thankfully they were brought back to shore without the situation getting any more serious.
Another standout in Round 3 was defending Moche Rip Curl Pro champ, Kai Otten. The Australian goofyfoot scored Round 3’s second highest heat total (18.20pts) by finding his way into and out of two serious backhand barrels at Supertubos to eliminate Taj Burrow in the last heat of the day.
Kai Otten scored a 9.37 for this crazy backside tube to advance to Round 4.