ARICA, Chile (Monday, June 25, 2007) – Day 6 of the 12-day Rip Curl Pro Search Chile waiting period proved a drama-filled affair. The elimination of world No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS), a scorching performance by 3X Foster's ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW) and a perfect 10-point ride by Fred Patacchia (HAW) headlined proceedings.
Clean six foot (two metre) waves allowed event officials to run 16 heats of Foster's ASP World Tour action (the final two of Round 2 and the first 14 of Round 3) before the wind swung onshore this afternoon.
Burrow was beaten in the second to last heat of the day by wildcard Bruno Santos (BRA). Santos, who is surfing in his sixth World Tour event as a wildcard, got the better of Burrow in the relatively slow scoring heat. Santos' result today is his best in elite tour competition.
"Taj surfs so well, he's No. 2 right now," Santos said. "The conditions were not really good in our heat – everyday at 2pm, the wind comes. There were not very many barrels, but I found two small waves and advanced. The heat was not really good, but I just tried to do my best and have fun out there."
The elimination of Burrow and advancement of Foster's ASP World Tour No. 1 Mick Fanning (AUS) will prove crucial when ratings are adjusted after this event. Fanning beat wildcard Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) earlier in the day.
"He surfs these waves all the time at home in Hawaii," Fanning said of Bacalso. "Wildcards are always dangerous no matter what the conditions are. They have no pressure whatsoever – they just have to go out there and try to take everyone down. I just wanted to go out there and get through that round and get it done."
Fanning will meet Chris Ward of California in a highly anticipated Round 4 clash.
"Mick and I draw each other a lot and we're pretty even right now so I think that will be a great match-up," Ward said. "I'm looking forward to it for sure."
Andy Irons posted the highest wave total of the event, an 18.24 out of 20.00, despite exiting the water halfway through his heat against Brazil's Victor Ribas.
"I got smashed on my first wave, got a good barrel on my second, a pretty good one on my third and broke my board on my fourth," Irons said. "Then I wrapped it up. It was freezing cold and I didn't want to come in on the barnacles and get cut up. No disrespect to Victor, but by the time I got back out there, I might have cut myself and it probably wouldn't have been worth it. I had two 9.0s and if he beat me, then good on him."
Irons will meet on-fire rookie Kai Otton (AUS) in Round 4. Otton finished equal 3rd in Tahiti and currently sits 10th on the Foster's ASP World Tour.
Jeremy Flores (FRA) is the only rookie rated higher than Otton at 9th, but that will change post the Rip Curl Pro Search Chile. The young Frenchman failed to get past Fred Pattachia (HAW), who posted the only perfect 10-point wave score of the event today.
"It was a tough heat," Patacchia said. "I saw Jeremy get a few 9.0s earlier in the event so I knew I had to get out there and have all cylinders firing. I took off deep on a deep one and it had two huge layers that I had to drive through – I saw the window and I knew I was coming out. I gave a shout out to the crowd and threw a little claim with a big smile on my face."
Reigning Foster's ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) also commanded his Round 3 heat today. Slater 17.40 wave total was the second highest of the day. He will meet Dean Morrison (AUS) in the next round.
"Dean has proven himself more than once at Teahupoo which is a similar type wave," Slater said. "He's gotten Andy (Irons) out there a couple times which I don't think many people would expect. That just proves the depth of his abilities and his competition skills are pretty amazing too.
Last year's rookie of the year Bobby Martinez (USA) advanced over 2007 rookie Josh Kerr (AUS) this morning. Martinez has had a slow start to his 2007 campaign after finishing 5th in the world last year.
"I've been getting 17ths all year so I'm glad I got through," Martinez said. "To not get another 17th is nice. I've been losing a lot and anything can happen so I'm not getting ahead of myself – I'm taking it one heat at a time."
The last two heats of Round 3 featuring Florida's CJ Hobgood and South Africans Royden Bryson, Travis Logie, and Ricky Basnett will be first up when the Rip Curl Pro Search Chile resumes. Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow at 7am.
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH CHILE ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.47 def Michael Lowe (AUS) 7.73
Heat 2: Cory Lopez (USA) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.00
Heat 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.50 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 2.56
Heat 4: Andy Irons (HAW) 18.27 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 3.16
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.00 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 5.67
Heat 6: Daniel Wills (AUS) 11.00 def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 9.36
Heat 7: Chris Ward (USA) 9.33 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 9.13
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.66 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 3.50
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.40 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.40
Heat 10: Dean Morrison (AUS) 17.37 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 9.24
Heat 11: CJ Hobgood (USA) 12.50 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 4.17
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 17.50 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.43
Heat 13: Bruno Santos (BRA) 11.34 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 6.17
Heat 14: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.56 def. Phillip Macdonald (AUS) 6.50
REMAINING RIP CURL PRO SEARCH CHILE ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 15: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 16: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Ricky Basnett (ZAF)