2005 Nova Schin WCT Brazil – Round 3 Update: The Kelly Slater And Andy Irons Showdown


SURF: 2-3 feet and trashed
EVENTS HELD: Men's Round 2 Heat 7-16, Round 3 Heat 1-10
NATURE'S CALL: Probably just as bad tomorrow
PREDICTED: Running to the finals is in the cards for tomorrow. Will Kelly draw a 7?

Back to business. After 4 straight lay days of flat waves and non-stop fiestas, the {{{Nova}}} Schin WCT Brazil finally clicked back into gear yesterday afternoon and we managed to run the first 6 heats of Round 2 in pouring rain and tiny, tattered waves. Oh well. The contest organizers had to do something. Those on the party program were melting down from acute cases of whiplash. Seriously. Take a look at the gene pool here and you'll be convinced that God is a Brazilian.

So here's what happens today. We're up early for a change because last night was the first one of the trip where we made it home before 6am. We make the two-hour commute to the remote site at Imbituba this morning (down a highway affectionately called "the road of death") for a day that finally promises to have some bearing on what we're all here for – the freaking World Title race.

So Heat 7 of Round 2 gets underway in conditions that Taylor Knox called, "possibly the worst I've ever seen at a WCT." It's 2-3, howling onshore and drizzling. There's hardly anyone on the beach and the boys are having trouble stringing together two off the tops on a single wave. But then Kelly and Andy show up at the beach and things start to improve. The tide fills in, the sun peeks its way through the clouds and the surf becomes marginally better. {{{CJ}}}, Damo and Fanning cruise by a trifecta of Brazilian wildcards and Cory Lopez easily disposes of Tom Curren.

Kelly watches it all from the competitors' area. His opponent, local battler, Guilherme Ferreire, is sitting nearby with his girlfriend happily taking photos. Kelly looks him up and down and says, "Keep smiling now, bro, our heat's up next."

The horn blows a few minutes later and it's on. Even though it's been flat, Kelly's been practicing each day and it shows. On his 2nd wave he busts out the best turn anyone's seen in a month – a torque-ing power hack square in the pocket – one for the old school. His next wave- where he pulls a berserk backside reverse 360 on his final maneuver – is one for the new. Ferreire is in combo-land and doesn't have a chance.

On the beach, Kelly gets mobbed by the fans and media and says, "The way everyone's acting here now after this heat makes me feel like I've already won the title, but I know there's a long way to go."

Andy's up next. He has zero margin for error as a loss in this round, or any round before the quarterfinals, will hand the title to Kelly. Andy's got a more difficult draw in Heitor Alves. Alves, a lightning quick goofyfoot nicknamed "The Flash," just won the Onbongo 6 Star WQS event here last week.

The heat gets off to a slow start before AI finds his feet and throws down a few Angry Irons upside-down reverses of his own. Alves thinks he's got to go huge on every turn – making the classic rookie mistake against AI – and blows a few waves that would have otherwise given him a decent score. Andy's in domination mode for all of the heat until Alves finds a head-high left, shows off a pretty wicked forehand attack and gets a 9.1 for the effort.

Backstage, in the hot tub, Kelly can only rue what could have been had Alves secured a decent backup earlier.

So now it's all seemingly winding down. The last heat of the day is in the water and Andy's on the beach doing routine TV interviews and autograph signings. But wait a minute, who is that a few yards away siphoning the crowd away from Andy? It's Kelly engaging in full on psychological warfare. Billabong Team Manager Steve Clark can't believe his eyes. "What the hell is he doing down here?" He asks. "He's supposed to be done with all this."

Now that he knows he has everyone's attention, Kelly twists the screws even tighter. He moves his crowd even closer to Andy – so close that Andy can't help but look his way and shoot him full on stink eye daggers.

It's a heavy showdown on the beach. The next one, tomorrow, will hopefully happen in the water.

(1st advances to Rnd 3; 2nd finishes =33rd)

Heat # 1: Mick Fanning def. Guga Arruda
Heat # 2: Guilherme Ferreira def. Trent Munro
Heat # 3: Damien Hobgood def. Pablo Paulino
Heat # 4: Heitor Alves def. Bruce Irons
Heat # 5: Flavio Costa def. Danny Wills
Heat # 6: Odirlei Coutinho def. Tom Whitaker
Heat # 7: Diego Rosa def. Peterson Rosa
Heat # 8: Yuri Sodre def. Mark Occhilupo
Heat # 9: Pedro Henrique def. Taylor Knox
Heat #10: Paulo Maura def. Jihad Kodhr
Heat #11: Darren O’Rafferty def. Fabio Gouveia
Heat #12: Travis Logie def. Bernardo Pigmeu
Heat #13: Guilherme Herdy def. Michael Lowe
Heat #14: Renan Rocha def. Chris Ward
Heat #15: Bede Durbidge def. Greg Emslie
Heat #16: Tim Reyes def. Luke Stedman

(1st advances to Rnd 4; 2nd finishes =17th)

Heat # 1: CJ Hobgood def. Diego Rosa
Heat # 2: Kirk Flintoff def. Paulo Moura
Heat # 3: Raoni Monteiro def. Richard Lovett
Heat # 4: Mick Fanning def. Odirlei Coutinho
Heat # 5: Damien Hobgood def. Adriano de Souza
Heat # 6: Cory Lopez def. Tom Curren
Heat # 7: Travis Logie def. Marcelo Nunes
Heat # 8: Kelly Slater def. Guilherme Ferreira
Heat # 9: Andy Irons def. Heitor Alves
Heat #10: Bede Durbidge def. Darren O’Rafferty


Heat #11: Nathan Hedge v. Pedro Henrique
Heat #12: Jake Paterson v. Guilherme Herdy
Heat #13: Phil MacDonald v. Flavio Costa
Heat #14: Victor Ribas v. Tim Reyes
Heat #15: Joel Parkinson v. Yuri Sodre
Heat #16: Fred Patacchia v. Renan Rocha