Julian Wilson Steals the Show at Oakley Saquarema Prime
ITAUNA BEACH, Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro / Brazil
The ASP World Prime Coca-Cola presents Oakley Saquarema Prime kicked off early this morning (Thursday) with a 7am start. On the second day of competition, waves in the 2-3 foot range with good formation and offshore winds kept the world’s best surfers fighting for position on every single wave.
Julian Wilson (AUS) set new records for the highest single-wave score and highest heat total for the event in Itauna. His top score of a 9.87 started on a wave where he threw down a serious backside hack followed by a 360 air-reverse. He backed that up with an 8.47 on a wave that included two big airs for his heat total of 18.34 out of a possible 20.
“These heats with three other guys in the water are difficult and you’ve just got to go out there and have fun without putting too much pressure on yourself,” said Julian Wilson. “I chose to stay a little farther away from the rest of the guys during the heat, but I felt a little lost even after I got that high score. This event is really important, it’s a Prime. A win here is equal to a semifinal in a ASP Tour and I’m going after points to improve my seed to remain in the WT after the mid-year rotation.”
The young Australian was the only one to surpass the day’s other high scores by surfer Jadson Andre (BRA) who repeated his stunning performance yesterday with a single-wave score of a 9.27 and a heat total of 16.77 points.
“It’s not easy out there and its not that fun when the waves are like this,” said Jadson Andre. “It´s even tougher here in Itauna because its a point break and everybody’s fighting for the same waves”.
Defending his title, 2010 event winner Willian Cardoso (BRA) continued his standout performance by receiving an 8.90 on a wave that saw him throwing huge amounts of water on four big moves down the line on his first wave. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) was the other surfer that qualified into the Round of 48 along with Cardoso, eliminating Richard Christie (NZL) and Marlon Lipke (DEU).
“I know its going to be difficult to get another victory here now that it’s a Prime. Especially with all of the World Tour athletes, but that’s my goal,” said Willian Cardoso. “I just want to take it step by step and heat by heat without thinking too much into the future.”
The biggest name to be eliminated today was number one ranked World Tour surfer, Adriano de Souza (BRA) in his only appearance in the event. In the first heat of the day, with almost no one on the beach, de Souza succumbed to fellow Brazilian, Junior Faria and to Hodei Collazo (EUK).
Two other ASP Tour top surfers did not show up for the competition in Saquarema. The one top seed of the Oakley Saquarema Pro, Jeremy Flores (FRA) contracted dengue last week and was substituted by fellow Frenchmen Romain Cloitre.
2001 ASP World Tour Champion C.J. Hobgood was injured free surfing in Rio de Janeiro and was replaced by Kiron Jabour (HAW), who was able to qualify for the next round alongside Kai Barger, also from Hawaii.
Without his twin brother by his side, Damien Hobgood (USA) stood out in his heat against three representatives of the new generation in surfing. Together with Mason Ho (HAW), the duo eliminated Pipeline specialist John John Florence (HAW) and Krystian Kymerson (BRA).
“Today (Thursday) the swell dropped off and the waves were fuller and slower with the sets taking longer to come in,” said Hobgood. “But I really wanted to get past this first heat because a new swell is scheduled to pop up this weekend and I hope to still be in action for that.”
Thirteen of the remaining heats were completed in the Round of 96 and seven in the Round of 48 in the Coca-Cola presents Oakley Saquarema Prime. In heat 8, Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Australians Adam Robertson, Tom Whitaker and Shaun Cansdell are scheduled to kick-off the next day of competition on Friday at 7am local time in Saquarema.
The Coca-Cola presents Oakley Saquarema Prime 2011 is sponsored by Coca-Cola and Oakley with support from the State of Rio de Janeiro through the Secretary of Sport and Leisure, the City of Saquarema, CCR and the Surfing Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
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