Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro: Day 2

Taj Burrow keeps pace with Slater and Fanning as the Hang Loose Pro moves in to Round 2

Conditions: 3-4 foot, glassy. Later in the day, strong onshores.
Heats run: 9-16 Round 1 and 1-6 Round 2
Predictions: a long, long day tomorrow

It was a weird day today at Praia da Vila, Imbituba, Brazil. It started off with pristine contest conditions, 3-4 foot glassy waves, but all hell broke loose a few hours later, when 30 knot onshore winds turned the waves into mush - and made the contestants' task a very difficult one. Since time is of the essence in this year's Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro - there's only three days left in the waiting period and over 50 heats to go - organizers had no option but to send surfers out into the washing machine conditions until it was absolutely unsurfable. There was enough time for the last 7 heats of round 1 and the first 6 of the losers' round.

But before the wind came in, the most-awaited heat of the day went underway in perfect hot dog waves. Australian Taj Burrow, who next to Slater and Mick Fanning is the only one who can still win the World Title, surfed under enourmous pressure and looked rattled early on. He was wobly on his board and a little out of sync. But as all great surfers do from time to time, he still managed to pull off a win surfing 50% of his potential in the dying seconds.

"This is the earliest I've surfed since I've been here so I just didn't feel warmed-up. I had a bad start, I felt weird. I'd already accepted that I was gonna lose that heat. But then I got a 9.33 and suddenly I just needed a 6 something. I tried once, got a 5.9 and then with just seconds to go I scored a 6.8. It worked out fine in the end, but it was a shaky start for me."

After Taj's win, and the confirmation that all three contenders are through to round 3, the rest of the day seemed, well, almost uninteresting. Before the wind kicked in, Raoni Monteiro, Gabe Kling and Leonardo Neves won their respective heats and also advanced to round 3.

Australian Shaun Cansdell put on a good show, with an 8 and a 9,10 after a good air in an average right-hander. "Cans", who had a great first year in 2006, is now sitting 40th in the ratings and has a miniscule chance of qualifying through the WCT. "The year is not over yet. I could have a win, who knows? I'm just gonna go for it and see what happens. I'm looking pretty good on the WQS, but I'm gonna give it my best on this one too because I have nothing to lose."

Another outstanding performance came from Dayyan Neve, who displayed a classic no BS Australian surfing style. Driving hard off the bottom to draw round, powerful carves on the right-handers, he beat Chris Ward and Troy Brooks with ease. Despite being sponsorless all year, the smiling aussie is loving every minute of his rookie year on Tour. "Mate, I was almost giving up on surfing last year, but then I qualified and now I'm here, more stoked than ever!"

When the losers' round started, the line-up was a sad sight. It was the kind of conditions that, on a normal day, would make you drive straight home after the morning check. Even the public, who yesterday crowded the beach, left before the contest was over - there was simply too much wind and the waves were, at best, mediocre.

That didn't stop Bobby Martinez, who managed to snatch a couple of decent scores and downed local Guga Arruda. Australian Bede Durbidge, who won the very next heat against another wildcard, Fabio Carvalho, also had a hard time finding the right waves. "It was really, really tough. It was pumping this morning and then a 30 knot southerly started blowing and just ruined it. I was surfing against a local guy, and the whole crowd was going for him. It was hard to get a score but I got a couple of 5.0s and 6.0s. Stoked to make it through."

{{{CJ}}} Hobgood also won his round 2 heat with solid surfing despite the stormy conditions. "It was super hard out there, you couldn't hear the scores and I could barely see the sets coming – the wind was that strong. But I stuck to my game plan, I knew I had to get a couple decent scores early. In these conditions, I'm just happy to avoid a 33rd."

While the infamous Brazilian WCT parties have been rocking Imbituba for a few nights now, it looks like we'll see some awesome duels in the water in the next couple of days. The forecast shows a slight increase in swell and offshore winds for Monday. It should be a long day, with organizers predicting over 20 heats. With Slater, Fanning and Burrow still in the run, anything can happen.

Brazilian Raoni Monteiro played to the hometown crowd

Today's Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.00 def. Guga Arruda (BRA) 9.83
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.67 def. Fabio Carvalho (BRA) 9.16
Heat 3: Marco Polo (BRA) 12.17 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 5.34
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.07 def. Diego Rosa (BRA) 10.00
Heat 5: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.17 def. Fabio Gouveia (BRA) 9.00
Heat 6: Michael Campbell (AUS) 10.00 def. Simao Romao (BRA) 8.07

Upcoming Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 7: Royden Bryson (ZAF) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 8: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Peterson Rosa (BRA)
Heat 10: Bruce Irons (HAW) vs. Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Victor Ribas (BRA)
Heat 12: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 13: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 14: Phillip MacDonald (AUS) vs. Bernardo Miranda (BRA)
Heat 15: Greg Emslie (ZAF) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 16: Ricky Basnett (ZAF) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW

Today's Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.20, Marco Polo (BRA) 15.33, Luke Stedman (AUS) 11.34
Heat 11: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.27, CJ Hobgood (USA) 9.30, Peterson Rosa (BRA) 7.63
Heat 12: Gabe Kling (USA) 12.17, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.40, Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 9.97
Heat 13: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 11.74, Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 8.34, Michael Campbell (AUS) 7.50
Heat 14: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 17.10, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 12.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.50
Heat 15: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 13.66, Chris Ward (USA) 8.37, Troy Brooks (AUS) 6.53
Heat 16: Neco Padaratz (BRA) 11.33, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.60, Victor Ribas (BRA) 10.07


Inside Brazil – Day 1 Photo Gallery

Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro: Day 1

The Branding Of A Champion: Mick Fanning