I've always enjoyed my trips to Brazil. The place has an energy like no other. Getting jacked up on acai bowls and guarana allows the body to catch up with the local pace. Only once your senses are fully operational can you really appreciate all that Brazil has to offer. In years past, the surfers on tour that have embraced the culture and people have also excelled in competition. This year appears to be no different.
Notorious frothers Pat and Tanner Gudauskas are both through to round three. Pat will be up against Adriano in what should be the best match-up of round three. Both surfers are exhibiting enough kinetic energy to tear apart every wave they ride. Tanner faces off with Kelly in the opportunity of a lifetime and who knows how many more chances to take out Kelly in man-on-man competition remain? If Tanner can win this heat, he gets into an exclusive club of people who can hang a victory over Kelly.
Sticking with the brothers-who-amp theme, let's take a look at the Hobgoods. After a dismal start to 2010, they'll need to make it into round 4 to take some pressure off before the next two events and that dreaded mid-season cut.
In the upcoming round, Damien is facing off with Jadson Andre and the heat should prove to be a major test for both surfers. Damien will need to be able to match Jadson's intensity and explosiveness and Jadson will need to counter Damien's tactical skill.
CJ is slated against Tom Whitaker in what would normally appear to be a landslide victory for CJ on paper. But Tommy has shown that he can't be underestimated in the past and has consistently held down heats through his career. This won't be a walkthrough for CJ; especially the way heats have been going for him this year.
And for the rookies, Matt Wilkinson has been psyching for a section all year. Every wave he rides has been an opportunity for him to unleash his full range of crazy maneuvers. Unfortunately this hasn't always ended well for him…so far. When he paddles out against Parko in the next round, this could be the perfect time to let it all fly. This heat could very well be the first major upset from Brazil.
History has shown us that you can expect Bede Durbidge to throw down a minimum of 14 points every heat. Surfing against Owen Wright in the next round, Owen will need to get over his rookie jitters and finally show the world that he is capable of dropping 16 points every heat. If he can, Owen should win—and keep on winning the rest of the event—and quite possibly, the rest of the year.
Davo is finally doing it (living up to the hype/expectations put on him more than a decade ago) and when he encounters Daniel Ross in round three, it'll prove to be a battle of mental toughness for him. Ross brings a razor-sharp game plan to every heat and will capitalize on any mistake Davo makes.
Those are a few match-ups that I will be looking forward to watching (on hopefully an improved webcast) when the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina resumes competition. —Shea Lopez
BILLABONG SANTA CATARINA PRO ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 6: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 7: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 8: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 10: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 13: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 14: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 15: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 16: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)