The Niijima Quiksilver Pro resumed this afternoon with remaining round two heats completed. Organizers initially placed the US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) on hold this morning, but as the tide dropped out more favorable conditions were on offer at ‘Secret Point.’Good 3-4ft (1-1.3m) waves greeted competitors at the south end of Habushiura Beach, with sunshine finally appearing from out of the cloud cover of recent days.Brazilian Victor Ribas posted the day’s highest combined score to eliminate an equally in-form Shane Powell (Avoca, Aus). Ribas earned an 8.67 on his opening ride for a series of powerful backhand re-entries and set the heat’s pace. ‘Powelly’ later secured a great set wave and executed his own stylish attack for an 8.07, but the diminutive Brazilian locked in another good ride toward the end and moved into round three.”I felt good out there,” said Ribas afterward. “This wave looks like my home spot in Brazil, and I really like these conditions. I knew it was going to be hard heat against Shane as we’ve had some great matches over the years, but I was lucky my first wave was really good and I scored an 8.67. At the end I another 7.33, so I was very happy and confident.”1999 was my best year on tour and I got a good result in Japan to finish 5th,” he added. “I hope this year I can comeback again and return to the top.”

Former world No. 3 Danny Wills (Byron Bay) eliminated fellow Australian Tom Whittaker (Bronte) with a commanding performance. The natural footer surfed a confident heat, picking off superior righthanders and lighting them up with an array of strong forehand maneuvers. Having won back-to-back WCT tournaments in Japan during his career topping 1998 season, Wills remains a favorite in the Niijima Quiksilver Pro.”It’s great to be back,” began Wills. “Having won two events in Japan before there is some added pressure to do well, but I just tried to block it out and basically surf. I ended up catching a good wave, so it’s nice to be out of that round. I felt really good and just at ease with conditions, so I hope to keep going.”Good friends and fellow Narrabeen (NSW, Aus) surfers Nathan Webster andNathan Hedge did battle this afternoon. Webster, who has won two WorldQualifying Series (WQS) events in Japan and also secured a semifinal finish in the 1998 WCT event at Chiba, stormed out of the gates with a fantastic righthander to equal the best single score today for an 8.67. He then kept the pressure on Hedge, who ultimately required another ride worth 7.55-points to progress.”I was real nervous going into that heat, especially against ‘Hedgey’ cause he’s been in great form the beginning of this year,” explained Webster. “I needed to win a heat really bad, so to get that first score… I was stoked. He was definitely there to catch me, but I just tried to play it smart and use priority to my advantage.”It’s unreal to be back in Japan,” he added. “I have a great sponsor who I hang out with and he makes me laugh, so I feel really comfortable here. Plus I’ve won WQS events in Japan a couple of times and finished third in a WCT before.”