Current ratings #3 Taj Burrow (Aus) was today eliminated by Brazilian wildcard Renan Rocha in round three of the {{{Nova}}} Schin Festival WCT Brasil. The US$250,000 ASP World Championship Tournament (WCT) relocated further south back to Silveira this morning, with all 16 heats completed.Peaky 3-4 ft (1.3) waves were on offer at Silveira beach, as thousands of spectators soaked up the surfing action. Burrow, who finished runner-up in the previous tournament in Spain, made a series of uncharacteristic errors today and bowed out of the tournament with his fourth 17th place finish of the season. Former WCT campaigned Rocha, on the other hand, picked off a couple of good rides for a strong lead. He then broke the nose of his surfboard, but remained in the lineup and used priority to add further pressure on his opponent and achieve a career highlight, while the West Australian ultimately required another ride worth 7.24-points. “I’m pretty stoked,” began Rocha, surrounded by media. “I’d like to come back and be on the WCT against the best surfers in the world, so to surf at home with this beautiful crowd makes me feel really comfortable. It’s the best thing to surf at home with best surfers, so this is one of the best times of my career. “It was hard to find a good one out there, but I found a high scoring ride in the middle of the heat,” he continued. “He didn’t get a good wave, so that’s the way it happened. I was trying not to lose priority, to be sure if a good wave came I could stop him from getting it.” Reigning world champ Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) earlier eliminated Nova Schin Festival WCT Brasil Trials winner Tanio Barreto (Brz). The Kauaian got off to a quick start, before posting the best single score of the day for a 9.17 and convincing victory. “So stoked to be out of that round,” said Irons. “I was lucky to find a good wave toward the end. It lined up all the way across and I was able to do a couple of snaps. “I’ve got some catching up to do right now,” he added, of the rating race. “I’m just taking it one heat at a time like always.”

Six-time world champion and current ratings leader Kelly Slater (FL, USA) then survived an extremely strong challenge by Brazilian wildcard Odirlei Coutinho. Despite leading throughout, Slater’s opponent picked off one of the day’s best waves and earned the heat’s top score of 8.5 with a confident backhand attack. He only required another ride worth 5.33 during the final five-minutes, but the Floridian used priority to advantage and held him off. “I had a lead and just sat on him with priority and tried to keep him off waves,” explained Slater. “I’m in a position right now where I don’t want to have close calls like that, but when I do I have to play the tactics. It’s not really how I like to win, but he got the one great wave of the heat, so I was pretty much playing catch-up. “After watching Andy win his heat, there was a bit of added pressure,” he continued, of his nearest rival. “Right now I can’t afford to let him get too far ahead.” Australian Richie Lovett (Manly, NSW) overcame local Brazilian favorite Neco Padaratz this morning. The current #21 clinched his maiden WCT victory earlier this year in California, and today sealed victory on his final ride to silence the very vocal supporters. He’ll next meet fellow Australian Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast) in round four, who was one of the day’s standouts. “I was definitely the underdog in that heat,” reasoned Lovett. “It wasn’t a very high scoring match as we struggled to get any sort of momentum going, and were catching a bunch of average waves. Conditions were pretty tough, and it’s hard hearing the whole crowd scream as soon as Neco stands up and does anything. I kept thinking he must have been scoring eights, so I’m really happy to get through. I took the gamble of surfing another bank at the start and it paid off.” Taylor Knox (CA, USA) posted an 8.17 to take control of his match against Luke Hitchings (Bronte, Aus). The Australian also collected some good scores in what proved a great heat, but ultimately required another ride worth 7.65-points. “He inspired me after I had to watch his first good wave,” explained Knox. “He surfed really well, but I was lucky enough to get one at the end and comeback. He’s an incredible surfer, so it’s always good to get those heats out of the way.” The Californian will now face Beau Emerton in round four, after he eliminated fellow Australian and current #11 Luke Egan in another tough battle. Emerton was losing throughout, but came back with a backhand barrel one ride, and then a commanding re-entry on his last. Yesterday’s Foster’s Expression Session held at Praia Mole proved successful despite the difficult conditions. A handful of the world’s best took to the water and entertained the large Sunday crowd, with Mick Fanning (Gold Coast, Aus) winning US$2,000 for the best maneuver and Luke Stedman ({{{Avalon}}}, Aus) another US$1,000 for the best ride. Tomorrow’s decision will be made at 6:30am from the main site at Joaquina. Nova Schin Festival WCT Brasil Round Three (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,000) {{{H1}}}: Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.0 def. Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz) 12.17
{{{H2}}}: Jake Paterson (Aus) 11.5 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 9.66
{{{H3}}}: Richie Lovett (Aus) 11.7 def. Neco Padaratz (Brz) 10.93
H4: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.34 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 6.9
H5: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.67 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 13.7
H6: Beau Emerton (Aus) 16.0 def. Luke Egan (Aus) 15.34
H7: Trent Munro (Aus) 10.96 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 8.27
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 15.67 def. Tanio Barreto (Brz) 9.84
H9: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.83 def. Odirlei Coutinho (Brz) 13.0
H10: Kalani Robb (Haw) 12.84 def. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 6.67
H11: Michael Lowe (Aus) 14.9 def. Toby Martin (Aus) 12.34
H12: Lee Winkler (Aus) 11.33 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.4
H13: Renan Rocha (Brz) 12.66 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 9.1
H14: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 13.37 def. Paulo Moura (Brz) 11.74
H15: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 9.23 def. Tom Whitaker (Aus) 8.73
H16: Shea Lopez (USA) 11.1 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 5.03