The decision to stage the inaugural Rip Curl Search WCT competition at Reunion Island’s St Leu break is looking better by the day, as the US$270,000 Foster’s World Tour event enjoyed a second consecutive day of great surf, with Round One and 10 heats of Round Two knockout heats completed today.

With excellent though at times inconsistent 1.5 to 2 metre (four to six foot) waves on offer, Hawaii’s reigning three-time world champion and 2nd seed Andy Irons opened the day with a strong performance to overcome Australian 18th seed Richie Lovett and local wildcard David Grainville. Iron’s posted a total heat score of 13.83 for his best two rides to Lovett’s 12.33, with Grainville scoring just 7.7.

Irons was naturally happy after his win, saying: “Being on Reunion is awesome. It’s probably the furthest place from my home, but once you get here it’s amazing. The place is beautiful, it has great waves, great food and the people are really nice. I’ve surfed a few times here and had a great time, so I’m glad we’re back here.” This morning’s other Round One heats saw five of the eight top 16 seeds who surfed relegated to knockout Round Two – 11th seeded Hawaiian Bruce Irons, and Australian quartet Joel Parkinson, Tom Whitaker, Phil MacDonald and Michael Lowe, the 3rd, 13th, 14th and 15th seeds respectively.

Bruce Irons and 27th seeded Australian Bede Durbridge were upstaged by Brazilian wildcard Jean da Silva, the only wildcard of 11 in the event to record a Round One victory. In one of the more inconsistent heats for waves today, da Silva made the most of his rides, scoring a total of 12.67, with Durbridge second on 9.9 points and Irons third on just 5.93 points.

Brazilian 30th seed Raoni Monteiro produced some of the brilliance that has earmarked him as one of South America’s brightest talents in his Round One victory over MacDonald and Brazilian veteran Renan Rocha, the 35th seed. Monteiro’s heat score was 15.50, MacDonald second on 14.83 and Rocha third with 11.5.

Monteiro said after his win: “This was my best heat of the year so far, I have been trying my best, but it’s so hard because the rest of the surfers are so talented.”

Lowe was narrowly beaten by Australian Foster's Men's World Tour rookie Kirk Flintoff, who posted the single best wave score of the event so far – a 9.6 (out of a possible 10 points) – for a spectacular series of manoeuvres that included two aerials. Flintoff’s winning heat score was 16.27 (out of a possible 20) for his best two rides, with Lowe second on 15.6, and South African 31st seed Greg Emslie third on 9.54.

Whitaker finished third in his Round One clash, with fellow Australian Lee Winkler, the 29th seed, winning from Brazilian wildcard Bernardo Miranda.

Australian 12th seed Danny Wills was too good in Round One for Brazilian duo Victor Ribas (28th seed) and Bernardo Miranda (37th seed), posting a total heat score of 14.5 to advance to Round Three, with the South Americans relegated to Round Two after both failed to break double figures for their heat scores, Ribas scoring 8.{{{57}}} and Miranda 7.3.

Wills said: “I feel comfortable out here, it’s quite an easy wave to read after Fiji and Tahiti. I think it’ll be a really interesting contest.”

16th seeded Australian great Mark Occhilupo, at 38 the oldest of the 2005 Foster's Top 45 surfers, produced some vintage form in the last Round One heat to push Sydney’s Luke Stedman (32nd seed) and Californian WCT rookie Tim Reyes 33rd seed into Round Two. Now re-considering his decision earlier this year that 2005 would be his last on tour, Occhilupo said today: “I’m so stoked to be back here, if this is my last year on tour, I would have been sad not to come back here. Places like this really make me want to keep doing the tour.” Parkinson made amends for his Round One loss when he eliminated 16-year-old Australian wildcard Matt Wilkinson in the opening heat of Round Two. The 2004 world title runner-up from Queensland’s Gold Coast surfed impressively to post the third highest heat score of the event so far – 16.67 to end Wilkinson’s first experience in a Foster's WCT event.

Parkinson said: “It’s a lot easier to feel out the lineup in a heat rather than when it’s crowded with free surfers. I learned a lot about the wave in my heats today and I just hope it helps me for the rest of the event.”

Bruce Irons kept himself in the hunt for the US$30,000 first prize with a Round Two victory later in the day, proving too strong for 21-year-old Australian wildcard Travis Lynch. Irons scored a total of 12.9 for his best two rides against Lynch’s 8.23. After his win, Bruce said: “I’ve only surfed out here about a dozen times and I still have a lot to learn. It’s a tricky wave, it’s always doing something different, but a couple more surfs I think I’ll be ok.”

Whitaker’s Round Two effort matched Parkinson’s heat score of 16.67 in eliminating another wildcard, Puerto Rican Brian Toth, a 20-year-old who scored 7.67 for his best two waves.

Like Parkinson, Bruce Irons and Whitaker, MacDonald came back from a Round One loss with a comfortable Round Two victory over yet another wildcard, 19-year-old Australian Ben Dunn, who struggled in the tricky conditions, scoring just 5.53 for his best two rides versus MacDonald’s 11.23.

Late in the day, Brazilian wildcard Bruno Santos produced the first major upset of the event, eliminating Mick Lowe, to set up a Round Three clash with Kelly Slater.

Organisers are confident that the excellent surf conditions will continue tomorrow, with 6 heats of Round Two to be completed to decide the final 32 competitors.

(NB: No surfers are eliminated in Round One, with the winners advancing to Round Three and earning a day off. Round One second and third place placegetters advance to Round Two, where man-on-man knockout competition begins.)

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1 – Marcelo Nunes
2 – Frederic Robin
3 – Luke Egan

Heat # 2
1 – Fred Patacchia
2 – Kalani Robb
3 – Tom Curren

Heat # 3
1 – Mick Fanning
2 – Paulo Moura
3 – Pablo Gutierrez

Heat # 4
1 – Cory Lopez
2 – Travis Logie
3 – Bruno Santos

Heat # 5
1 – Nathan Hedge
2 – Taylor Knox
3 – Ben Dunn

Heat # 6
1 – Taj Burrow
2 – Jake Paterson
3 – Brian Toth

Heat # 7
1 – Troy Brooks
2 – Trent Munro
3 – Travis Lynch

Heat # 8
1 – Kelly Slater
2 – Darren O’Rafferty
3 – Matt Wilkinson

Heat # 9
1 – Andy Irons
2 – Richie Lovett
3 – David Grainville

Heat # 10
1 – Peterson Rosa
2 – Joel Parkinson
3 – Abdel El Harim

Heat #11
1 – Jean Da Silva
2 – Bede Durbridge
3 – Bruce Irons

Heat # 12
1 – Daniel Wills
2 – Victor Ribas
3 – Bernardo Pigmeu

Heat # 13
1 – Lee Winkler
2 – Guilherme Herdy
3 – Tom Whitaker

Heat # 14
1 – Raoni Monteiro
2 – Phillip MacDonald
3 – Renan Rocha

Heat # 15
1 – Kirk Flintoff
2 – Michael Lowe
3 – Greg Emslie

Heat # 16
1 – Mark Occhilupo
2 – Luke Stedman
3 – Tim Reyes

COMPLETED ROUND 2 HEATS:{{{H1}}}: Joel Parkinson def Matt Wilkinson

{{{H2}}}: Trent Munro def David Granville

{{{H3}}}: Luke Egan def Abdel El Harim

H4: Bruce Irons def Travis Lynch

H5: Tom Whitaker def Brian Toth

H6: Phillip MacDonald def Ben Dunn

H7: Bruno Santos def Michael Lowe

H8: Darren O'Rafferty def Pablo Gutierrez

H9: Richard Lovett def Tom Curren

H10: Jake Paterson def Federick Robin

REMAINING ROUND 2 HEATS:H11: Taylor Knox v. Bernardo Pigmeu

H11: Travis Logie v. Guilherme Herdy

H11: Paulo Moura v. Renan Rocha

H11: Kalani Robb v. Tim Reyes

H11: Bede Durbridge v. Luke Stedman

H11: Victor Ribas v. Greg Emslie