MUNDAKA, Basque Country/Spain (Thursday, October 2, 2008) - Mundaka, one of the world's best lefthand breaks, redeemed itself today. The at-times fickle river-mouth spit out enough four to five foot waves to host 20 heats of ASP World Tour action in just seven hours thanks to the ASP Dual Heat format which allows for overlapping heats.
South Africa's Royden Bryson was the day's biggest victor, beating renowned barrel-rider Damien Hobgood (USA) 19.37 to 17.26 after out tube-riding him.
"I'm just super stoked," Bryson said. "You sit here all day and wonder if you are going to get a chance to surf out there when the waves are good and the tide is right and then in my heat with Damien everything came together. We both got really good waves, I think I was just fortunate to pick the better ones."
Bryson earned the first perfect 10 of his career in the heat - just moments after posting a 9.73 - leaving Hobgood comboed despite the 8.83 and 8.43 in his scoreline.
"Nevermind the World Tour, that was my first perfect 10 even in a provincial contest," Bryson said. "It's a bit of a blur but I just remember taking off and pulling into the first section and watching the whole wave kind of slow up like it was standing still. I just kept going and going and then I think I did a turn and got another little barrel."
The second-year surfer currently sits 34th on the ratings - only the top 27 surfers requalify at year's end. Bryson has yet to make it out of Round 3 and is not backing up his ASP World Tour campaign on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS).
"Right now, I'm on the bubble so I just want to make a couple heats," Bryson said. "I haven't had the best of years so I'm just trying to requalify and make sure I'm doing this next year."
South African Jordy Smith shined today, scoring the second highest heat total of the event behind Bryson. Smith, who finished third in his Round 1 heat yesterday, avoided early elimination by beating fellow rookie Jay Thompson (AUS) today.
"I've been messing up in all of the first heats this year and I'm stoked to make it to the next round," Smith said. "Hopefully the waves will stay like this and we have some great waves. I caught about 14 waves in that heat and luckily I caught some fun ones and got some good scores."
In contrast to Bryson and Smith's Round 2 success, fellow South African's Travis Logie and Ricky Basnett were both eliminated today. Sitting 39th and 45th on the ratings respectively, and sans back-up results on the WQS, it is unlikely either one will be on the ASP World Tour in 2009.
Fred Patacchia of Hawaii displayed his tube-riding prowess again today. Patacchia finished runner-up to Bruce Irons (HAW) in barreling waves in Indonesia earlier this year. He earned a 9.5 in his Round 2 heat today.
"To tell you the truth, I haven't really felt like I've been surfing that great, so pulling in and going straight is easy," Pattachia said of the high scoring ride. "I was hoping we'd go out there and get a few barrels and we have. Mundaka is doing its thing."
Pattachia surfed again in Round 3, beating fellow Hawaiian Roy Powers.
ASP World No. 4 Adriano de Souza (BRA) also surfed twice today, beating Billabong Pro wildcard and local Marcos San Segundo in Round 2 and fellow Brazilian Jihad Khodr in Round 3. De Souza has been one of the surfers to beat in 2008 and blitzed today despite never surfing the wave before.
"I'm looking to get as high a position as I can," de Souza said. "Last year I did pretty bad and finished 28th. This year I just put in my mind to try my best and keep focused and to try and improve on my position and see what I can do. I would love to get a great result here before heading to Brazil where I will have a lot of support on the beach."
Local Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu, who hurt his ankle and has missed half of his rookie season, also advanced today. He beat Chris Ward (USA) in Round 2.
"I've been waiting for this contest all year," Aranburu said. "I was hoping to be better for this event because I have been injured. I'm feeling alright so let's just see what I can do in the next round. It's really important for me to do really well here as a present for my people. They've supported me throughout the whole year, even with my injury. For me to do well here in front of them would be a really good present so I am going to try my best."
Aranburu will meet ASP World No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) in Round 3. Durbidge survived sudden death this morning and was just one of many surfers singing the praises of the Dual Heat format today. The format gives the surfers 40 minutes in the lineup instead of 30 with each heat overlapping with the one before and after it for half the heat. Priority is allocated to the surfers during the last 20-minutes of their heat.
"It's a good call doing dual heats right now, it worked perfect," Durbidge said. "The first 20 minutes you're just trying to get some medium range scores up and find your feet and then the second 20 minutes you've got priority so the tactics come into play. Mundaka is the perfect place to run this format and I'm glad we're using it. I was lost at sea in Sopelana but I found my feet out here today - I love surfing Mundaka."
ASP World No. 5 Joel Parkinson (AUS) won the last heat of Round 3 surfed today. Parkinson has been vocal about his lack of motivation with Kelly Slater (USA) likely winning the 2008 ASP World Title tomorrow. He came out of his Round 3 heat looking more inspired.
"I'm excited, because the waves could be all time," Parkinson said. "It could be bad too, but there's a chance of surfing some really insane waves tomorrow for 40 minutes and those overlapping heats work well. Hopefully this gave me enough kick in the ass to get going."
Slater will surf against Basque wildcard Eneko Acero in Heat 8 - likely tomorrow morning. If Slater wins he will stitch up ASP World Title No. 9. Contest officials expect to run overlapping heats again tomorrow, meaning that Slater and Acero will paddle out just an hour and 20-minutes after competition commences.
A call on competition status will be made at 8:30am tomorrow morning.
Round 3 Billabong Pro Mudaka Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.00 def. Jihad Khodr (BRA) 11.33
Heat 2: Mick Campbell (AUS) 13.17 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.03
Heat 3: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.60 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 12.34
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.17 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 9.60
Round 2 Billabong Pro Mudaka Results:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.00 def. Reubyn Ash (GBR) 6.93
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.83 def. Marco San Segundo (EUK) 9.27
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.67 def. Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 11.5
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.83 def. Hodei Collazo (EUK) 7.83
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.17 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 3.30
Heat 6: Kai Otton (AUS) 9.97 def. Manoa Drollet (PYF) 5.97
Heat 7: Luke Stedman (AUS) 8.84 def. Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 6.33
Heat 8: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 13.50 def. Chris Ward (USA) 12.36
Heat 9: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 11.50 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.17
Heat 10: Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.6 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 9.26
Heat 11: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 16.83 def. Ben Bourgeois (USA) 9.74
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) 12.93 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 7.16
Heat 13: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 19.37 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 17.26
Heat 14: Tim Reyes (USA) 13.00 def. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 11.53
Heat 15: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.90 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 9.33
Heat 16: Ben Dunn (AUS) 15.50 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 13.60
Upcoming Round 3 Billabong Pro Mudaka Match-Ups:
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 7: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Eneko Acero (EUK)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 10: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 13: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 15: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 16: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)