The Oakley Pro Bali, Event No. 5 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), resumed competition today, completing Rounds 4 and 5 in excellent six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) barrels at the primary venue of Keramas.
Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, current ASP WCT No. 4, opened up this morning’s proceedings with an excellent 18.30 out of a possible 20 heat total, weaving through a number of impress forehand barrels to advance directly into the Quarterfinals.
“I’m pretty happy to skip that next round,” Burrow said. “The last few events I got stuck in that Round 5 and got a ninth and once you get to the Quarters it’s considered a pretty good result, so I’m stoked.”
Josh Kerr (AUS), 29, continued this morning’s action with the best heat of his career, threading several solid barrels and blending big forehand turns to collect a near-perfect 19.20 out of 20 heat total. Of the fives waves Kerr caught in his Round 4 heat, all scored in the excellent (8 to 10-point range), including a Perfect 10.
“That was the best heat you could ever ask for,” Kerr said. “I had priority when the good ones came and that was just really fun. You can’t script a much better heat and that was my first 10 in a ‘CT event. I’ve been wanting one for years and to get one in a heat like that makes it that much more special. We’re so stoked to come to Bali and with the forecast looking good and right now, it’s so pumping out there. I just happened to get those longer nicer ones. Those guys were getting 9s and 8s as well and it’s good to skip that Round 5 because they’re never easy. You never know who you’re going to come up against.
Although suffering through a slower-than-preferred start to 2013, Kerr has since rebounded well, securing an Equal 5th last week in Fiji and advancing through to the Quarterfinals of the Oakley Pro Bali.
“I had a pretty slow start to the year with a 13th, 9th, and 13th, and was having a shocker, but I went to Fiji with a positive attitude,” Kerr said. “I brought my family with me and it translated to good result and it’s been the same here. I’m enjoying where I’m at and staying in the moment. It’s working out.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), 24, current ASP WCT No. 15, survived one of the slower heats of the morning, utilizing superior wave selection and solid surfing to post a win in the dying moments.
“We had a really slow heat and I figured it’d be slow after the last heat,” Wilson said. “I thought we’d get plenty of sets with the incoming tide, but it was still slow. My first wave was pretty good, but it felt like more of a warm up wave and I left it pretty tight at the end. I thought there’d be good barrels and sections for airs but there’d only be one or two sets, but it was close and came down to the end. So much energy got used up in that heat before that ours was bound to be a bit slow.”
Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, closed out Round 4 with an electric performance, securing an excellent 18.50 out of a possible 20 to advance directly into the Quarterfinals. The powerful Tahitian exhibited a blend of fearless tube-riding as well as unmatched power carves on his forehand.
“That’s why I like my job so much,” Bourez said. “I was having fun riding good barrels and getting paid for it. I got a really good score on my first wave and knew if Freddy (Patacchia) got a 9.8 that I needed to get a 9.8 too. I followed him everywhere he went and wanted to make sure I was on the good waves. I wanted to get a good result out here and hope this is just beginning. I know it’s hard to make the Semifinals out here and I’m just happy to be here and having fun.”
The action didn’t stop at Round 4, however, as the elimination, man-on-man Round 5 delivered some of the most impressive performances of the year.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 7, opened up the afternoon’s action with a sensational shootout against an in-form John John Florence (HAW), 20. Florence threaded a number of excellent barrels and punctuated with unmatched carves to amass a near-perfect 19.20 out of a possible 20 heat total. The reigning champ would not be outdone, however,
“Over the years I’ve been coming here, there have been odd moments where you get a wave like that but never the kind of frequency we had in that heat,” Parkinson said. “That was just magic. We were throwing away 9s and John (Florence) was nearly sticking 8-foot corked out rotations. The kid can do it all and he was never one I was going to take lightly.”
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, caused the upset of the afternoon in the elimination of 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 1 Kelly Slater (USA), 41, in Round 5 of competition. With conditions changing in the dropping tide, Hobgood executed a series of impressive backhand maneuvers to put his fellow Floridian out of competition, 17.00 to 14.33.
“Trickier heat than most today for sure,” Hobgood said. “There have been some crazy heats with amazing waves and you could tell that the conditions were changing for our heat. I think out of all the times Kelly (Slater) and I have met up, I’ve only gotten him once before today so it was bound to balance out. I’m having one of the better years, performance-wise, of my life and although Keramas is a great wave for natural-footers, I think the goofies have something special to offer out there as well.”
Hobgood is joined in the Quarterfinals by fellow goofy-footer and rookie sensation Nat Young (USA), 22, who’s aggressive backhand approach resulted in a polished Round 5 win over title threat Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 32, two-time ASP World Champion, capped off the day’s events by seizing the opportunity with a late-heat win over dangerous goofy-footer Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 31. Fanning’s advancement this afternoon pushes the Gold Coaster ahead of Slater in the hunt for the 2013 ASP World Title for the time being.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 6:45am start
When competition resumes, up first will be Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, up against Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, in the opening Quarterfinal of the Oakley Pro Bali.
OAKLEY PRO BALI ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.30, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.90, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.57
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 19.67, Kelly Slater (USA) 18.60, John John Florence (HAW) 17.10
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.00, Nat Young (USA) 13.86, Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.50
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 18.50, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 17.23, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.87
OAKLEY PRO BALI ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 20.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 19.20
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 17.00 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 14.33
Heat 3: Nat Young (USA) 16.93 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.94
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.46 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.90
UPCOMING OAKLEY PRO BALI QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA)
QF 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com