IMBITUBA, Brazil (Tuesday, October 28, 2008) - With a scoreline boasting the day's highest heat total and single wave score (a 17.17 and 9.50 respectively) ASP World Tour rookie Jordy Smith (ZAF) looked like he would be collecting top honors on Day 1 of the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro. Two interference calls later, Smith had a 0.00 to show for his standout performance in Imbituba's five foot waves today.
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."
Also surfing well today was Brazil's Leonardo Neves. He beat Tom Whitaker (AUS) and Henrique to earn a Round 3 berth today.
"Getting it right in the first heat is very important and now I have time to watch the comp and train more," Neves said. "The swell arrived today and I'm pretty stoked with this result."
Neves is currently rated 39th on the ASP World Tour and will need huge results in the last two events of the year to requalify for the 2009 ASP World Tour.
"I'm happy to be back here in Vila Beach," Neves said. "I remember last year that I needed a good result, like this year, and I got it, so that is giving me a lot of motivation. This comp is very important for all Brazilians on the ASP World Tour."
Also avoiding 33rd place results they could not afford were Dan Ross (AUS) - World No. 42, Mick Campbell (AUS) - World No. 28 and Miky Picon (FRA) - World No. 26. Only the Top 27 surfers on the ASP World Tour requalify for the following year's tour.
Chris Ward (USA) missed his Round 1 heat today due to Visa complications. He will surf in Round 2. A call on Round 2 will be made tomorrow morning at 7:30am.
For more information visit www.aspworldtour.com
Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.83, Ben Bourgeois (USA) 14.43, Fabio Gouveia (BRA) 7.50
Heat 2: Marco Polo (BRA) 13.27, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 11.34, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.60
Heat 3: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 16.50, Tanio Barreto (BRA) 12.84, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 9.83
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.67, Jay Thompson (AUS) 12.33, Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 7.67
Heat 5: Marcio Farney (BRA) 12.00, Luke Stedman (AUS) 11.73, Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.43
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.03, Peterson Rosa (BRA) 14.84, Tiago Pires (PRT) 5.60
Heat 7: Mikael Picon (FRA) 13.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.66, Jano Belo (BRA) 10.70
Heat 8: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.33, Carybean Heleodoro (BRA) 12.67, Roy Powers (HAW) 7.63
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.33, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 14.57, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.90
Heat 10: Mick Campbell (AUS) 13.90, CJ Hobgood (USA) 13.03, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.33
Heat 11: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 13.17, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.33, Pedro Henrique (BRA) 8.93
Heat 12: Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 14.83, Travis Logie (ZAF) 9.00, Chris Ward (USA) N/S
Heat 13: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 10.73, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.33, Jihad Khodr (BRA) 7.27
Heat 14: Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.07, Tim Reyes (USA) 12.16, William Cardoso (BRA) 10.16
Heat 15: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 16.00, Simao Romao (BRA) 12.16, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 0.00
Heat 16: Ben Dunn (AUS) 15.37, Bruno Santos (BRA) 11.47, Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 10.54
Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Carybean Heleodoro (BRA)
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 3: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Jano Belo (BRA)
Heat 5: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Peterson Rosa (BRA)
Heat 6: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Gustavo Fernandes (BRA)
Heat 7: Dayyan Neve (AUS) vs. Tanio Barreto (BRA)
Heat 8: Tim Reyes (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Pedro Henrique (BRA)
Heat 10: Roy Powers (HAW) vs. William Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Simao Romao (BRA)
Heat 12: Tiago Pires (PRT) vs. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 13: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 14: Jay Thompson (AUS) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 15: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 16: Royden Bryson (ZAF) vs. Ben Bourgeois (USA)