Light winds and head-high sets greeted competitors in Round Two of the Billabong Pro at Rio this morning. Held at the backup venue in Arpoador, the lefts offered up enough of an open face for the surfers to fit in a few decent turns.
Surfing at the head of the pack today, CJ Hobgood put a hurt on rookie Julian Wilson in what was one of the strongest heats of the second round. Dropping the highest combined score of the event so far, CJ surfed a methodically sharp heat, applying pressure on Julian from the start. Although Julian fired back in the waning minutes, CJ was able to hold his ground and advance into Round 3.
"That's what makes those heats fun to surf and it's exciting to watch," Hobgood said. "I have so much respect for Julian because these kids can come back so easily no matter what scores they need. I had a good start and had to be comfortable with my performance win or lose. It was exciting and I'm stoked to make it. I have so much fun surfing against these guys."
Julian, who had a tremendously strong showing in the opening event at Snapper, has posted his second 25th of the season.
Although the section-riddled lefts seemed like an advantage to the in-form goofyfoots on Tour like Kai Otton, who's currently sitting at the back end of the Tour's ratings, the Aussie couldn't keep pace with fellow countryman Joel Parkinson in their match-up today. Parko, who's a mere 1,200 points behind frontrunner Kelly Slater in the ratings, proved once again just how deadly he can be, dropping the day's highest single-wave score to take the win over Otton.
"Yesterday the tide came in and just kind of killed me,” Parkinson said. “The wave is pretty tricky here and it's kind of a dog fight to try and get a wave."
Another highlight of the second round included Brazil's own Adriano De Souza who dismantled local wildcard Ricardo Santos today. As a prominent figure in Brazil, De Souza clearly felt the weight of the entire country on his back when he made his way out to his heat this morning. After an uncharacteristic loss to Daniel Ross in Round 1, Adriano was gunning for redemption and clearly found it today when he went to town on Santos to assert himself as the frontrunner in the event.
"It's a good rebound after yesterday's loss and I'm really stoked with my performance out there," De Souza said. "I just tried to capitalize on Ricardo's mistake in that heat and was really lucky to find two good waves out there. I'm happy to see all of my friends on the beach, that's what's most important for me."
Billabong Rio Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.67 def. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 7.10
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.60 def. Igor Morais (BRA) 10.17
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.50 def. Simao Romao (BRA) 12.10
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.43 def. Ricardo Santos (BRA) 12.66
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 11.77
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.77 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.07
Heat 7: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.50 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.40
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.74 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.53 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.40
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.50 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.70
Heat 11: Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.44 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.40
Heat 12: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.00 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.27