This morning Praia Do Vila awoke to clear blue skies, a deep green sea and perfect head to two-foot overhead and light offshore conditions, pretty much where it left off last night. And with no room left to pick and choose when the competition is to run, due to the waiting period already being used up, heat 9 of round one was in the water no matter what Mother Nature dished up. Taj Burrow was part of the crew entering the ocean this morning, and as one of only three surfers left in contention for the overall 2007 world title, he looked a little shaky to begin with. It appeared as if he would be sent into the first elimination round, until he snagged a sick wave with less than thirty seconds before the end of the heat.
For the first four heats, conditions were again some of the best featured in the later half of this year’s tour, but that scenario quickly changed with a blowing gale easily pushing well in excess of 25 knots and onshore, the swell dropped out and the waves deteriorated. The scores being posted after the heavy onshore wind came up, went from consistently placing in the 7 to 9 point range, down to most surfers struggling to post anything over a three. After several heats in near uncontestable conditions the event was called off around 2 PM local time after finishing up eight rounds of round one, and six rounds of round two.
Bobby Martinez was in an unusual spot, having just come from his Mundaka title defending win in Spain, Bobby was relegated to the round of 33 and only narrowly escaped having his Brazil Campaign ended well before he would have hoped.
“It was tough out there,” Bobby said. “The wind was so strong I couldn’t hear the scores and didn’t even know if I had made it through or not until I got up to the judges tower”
Chris Ward was another one who had a bad day. The conditions were just beginning to fall apart during Wardo’s heat, and he was struggling to find some rhythm. Close to the end of the heat he boosted a huge front side air, but when he came down, smashed his ankle re-aggravating an injury he though he had almost recovered from. Unable to stand properly – let alone surf, Chris made his way to the beach a few minutes before the end of the heat and stood at the waters edge with a look of agony on his face.
While receiving physio and acupuncture on his ankle, Chris doubted his health, “I’m not sure about the next round. It hurts pretty bad, I really don’t know what to do.”
Wardo got a little bit of a lucky break, all things considering, not having to make the decision as to weather he will pull out or continue surfing on his injured ankle in Round Two, until tomorrow morning, as the event was called off just before his heat.
Conditions are meant to improve, a little more swell is predicted and the wind is supposed to remain offshore for the next two days.
In regards to Fanning possibly winning the World Title in Brazil, ASP provided a list of scenarios to best explain the current situation.
Foster’s ASP World Tour Title Scenarios heading into the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro:
Please note that in all scenarios below, both Burrow and Slater will need to win the Billabong Pipeline Masters as well, even if Mick Fanning gets a 33rd in Hawaii.
• If Mick Fanning wins in Brazil he clinches the World Title.
• If Fanning gets 2nd, Taj Burrow needs to win the event and Kelly Slater is out of the race.
• If Fanning gets 3rd, Burrow needs a 2nd and Slater is out of the race.
• If Fanning gets 5th, Burrow needs a 3rd and Slater needs a 1st.
• If Fanning gets 9th, Burrow needs a 5th and Slater needs a 2nd.
• If Fanning gets 17th, Burrow needs a 9th and Slater needs a 3rd.
• If Fanning gets 33rd, Burrow needs a 9th and Slater needs a 3rd.
Burrow and Slater will need to count on a 17th or 33rd finish from Fanning in Brazil and place as high as possible in the same event (Burrow higher than 9th and Slater higher than 3rd – to be in better title contention (not needing a win) going into Hawaii.
E.g.: If Fanning gets a 17th in Brazil and Burrow gets a 5th, then with a 2nd place in Hawaii Burrow would win the title if Fanning gets a 17th or worse at Pipe.