It's hard to discern from a grainy webcast, but Mick Fanning's eyes must be taking on a fevered look. Faced with windy overhead Supertubos, he successfully negotiated the wildcard stumbling block which toppled Kelly. Now just a few heats stand in his way. How hard can it be?
With very few gaping barrels on offer, it was always going to be tough for 16 year-old Jacob Willcox to outmanoeuvre the world number one. Having said this, Willcox completed a chain of solid turns which tested the nerves of the Fanning camp. The ratings leader, however, proved that fraction more authoritative. While Fanning boasts little of the Hail Mary flare of John John or Medina, his surfing was as fluid and powerful as ever.
“I guess with anyone you want to put them under pressure early and make them try that little bit harder,” Fanning said. “I was just lucky, he went for the lefts, I was concentrating on the rights and I got two scores and then I was just trying to better some scores and see what else was out there.”
I felt like I bit off a bit more than I could chew when I was in the air on that one, but somehow I pulled it, that section was really really good,” said Wilson. “At that point of the heat I was really quite nervous, I only had one opportunity to do an air, and I was lucky enough to capitalize on it. Julian Wilson
The performance of the day came from Julian Wilson, who's versatile style seems to perfectly suited to the changeable peaks of Supertubos. From the klaxon, Wilson felt some pressure from Damien Hobgood, a ratings straggler who seemed in rhythm. However, when a punchy right materialised Wilson turned and launched one of the largest alley-oops in ASP history, rivalling even that of John John at Keramas.
“I felt like I bit off a bit more than I could chew when I was in the air on that one, but somehow I pulled it, that section was really really good,” said Wilson. “At that point of the heat I was really quite nervous, I only had one opportunity to do an air, and I was lucky enough to capitalize on it.”
Internet commentators may moan about bad calls and biased judging, and not without reason, but sometimes the 'CT produces a moment of true surfing magic, and Julian's 'oop was one of them.
"it's almost like a contest within a contest." said Taylor Knox, a welcome addition to the 2013 commentary team. "There are a small group of guys, Julian, Medina, John John etc, who can throw airs that are on a different level to the rest."
Eager to demonstrate his progressive repertoire, John John paddled out against Felipe Toledo and boosted a fully rotated reverse to the flats. He was accorded a nine, and stretched out of Toledo's reach.
“I was really nervous going into this heat with Filipe, he’s really scary especially with this wind,” Florence admitted. “I kind of had airs on my mind and tried a couple that I didn’t pull together, then I got that one and I’m stoked I landed it.”
In a feel good final story, Matt Wilkinson defeated Adriano de Souza with the help of a solid lefthand tube, further solidifying his re-qualification campaign. No hard feelings against Adriano, but surely everyone wants to see those whimsical wetsuits next season.
UPCOMING RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Mick Fanning (AUS)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Nat Young (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA), C.J Hobgood (USA), Taj Burrow (AUS)
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.84 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.77
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.57 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.77
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.00 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.16
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.20 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.73
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 16.97 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.83
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.00 def. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 11.53
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.60
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 15.10 def. Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 6.03
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.67 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 8.83
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.40 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.67
Heat 11: C.J Hobgood (USA) 13.50 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.30
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.33 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.67
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 5: C.J Hobgood (USA) 10.34 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 8.00
Heat 6: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.03 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.33
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.66 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.10
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.10 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.13
Heat 9: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.83 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.33
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 16.26 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 14.27
Heat 11: Adam Melling (AUS) 13.84 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.37
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 17.60 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.93