One of only three South African's on tour, Greg Emslie amassed the day's highest heat total (17.00 out of a possible 20.00 points) with a series of vertical snaps that sent world No. 4 Joel Parkinson (AUS) and wildcard Renato Galvao (BRA) straight to Round Two. Currently rated 22nd in the world, Emslie credited his win to wave selection.
"I watched a few of the heats before mine and I saw some opportunities the other guys weren't taking," Emslie said. "Some of the guys looked like they might not be sitting out far or deep enough, so I went out there with that strategy, waited for the bigger sets and found the good sections to do the turns on. Both of my good scores were on those kind of waves –it definitely paid to wait for the good ones out there."
Like Emslie, South Africa's second-year tourer Travis Logie will enjoy a Round Two bye courtesy of his opening round performance. Logie's upset win over three-time world champion Andy Irons (HAW) and two-time World Qualifying Series (WQS) No. 1 Neco Padaratz (BRA) sees him straight through to round three.
"The waves are pretty weak and there was a bit of wind up the face but there were still some really good waves out there," Logie said. "Andy and Neco are two of the best surfers in the world in any conditions so I'm really stoked to get a win over those guys. To be honest, I was pretty upset when I first looked at my heat draw."
Perhaps more notable than his victory, is the Round Two match-up created by Logie's win today. The equal statured Irons and Padaratz will now meet in Round Two. Though competing in this event courtesy of a wildcard, Padaratz is known for his passionate competitiveness and has plenty of Foster's ASP World Tour experience of his own to draw from. He will be one of many Brazilians fired up to advance over their Round Two foes in front of a home crowd.
Taj Burrow, 2004 Nova Schin Festival winner, delighted the crowds and judges alike with his aerial antics today. Burrow earned a 9.33 (out of 10) and the day's second highest wave score for a lofty 360 performed in a critical section of the wave.
"It's pretty similar to the conditions we've surfed here before." Burrow said. "The wind always seems to come from the same direction and the rights are always pretty weak and slopey, so it makes it hard to do proper turns but pretty good for airs. I felt like it was almost easier to do an air than a normal turn out there so that's was what I did."
C.J. Hobgood (USA) and Troy Brooks (AUS) made an airborne affair of their heat against Jarrad Howse (AUS) as well. Hobgood earned the high score of the event for an impressive air reverse, but Brooks answered back with a few of his own and a win.
"C.J. went pretty nuts out there," Brooks said. "I saw that air reverse he did from behind - it was good to watch. The wind is sort of perfect out there (for aerial maneuvers). It's onshore but there are big rocks sticking out of the water which protects it from chop getting in so it creates a smooth face with the perfect wind for aerials – you've got to do them."
Despite a nagging knee injury that forced him to miss Europe, Brooks was able to surf in last week's Six-Star WQS event where he made the final and earned enough points to requalify for the Foster's ASP World Tour via the qualifying series.
"I had my knee injury and I just got back in the water a little over a week ago," Brooks said. "Onbongo was my first event (back) and my knee still hurt a fair bit but I managed to get a 2nd and requalify (for the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour) so the pressure's off and I can go out there, do a few airs and have a bit of fun."
The absence of Renato Galvao (BRA) (who was one of three replacement surfers who were unable to make it to Imbituba in time for Round One and will have to surf Round Two) made for a Round One rematch of last year's Nova Schin Festival final when Victor Ribas (BRA) took on Damien Hobgood (USA). Unlike last year's heat in which Hobgood was victorious, Ribas came out on top today.
"Renato (Galvao) didn't come so it was just me and Damien (Hobgood), like last year's final except that the conditions are different," Ribas said. "It's pretty inconsistent and there were less waves than in the heat we had last year but I got some waves ahead of Damo and had a little bit of an advantage. At the end I just sat on him, I don't like to do that, but I really need a result to qualify for next year so I have to do everything I can."
As the second to last event on the Foster's ASP World Tour, the Nova Schin Festival is critical to several surfer's campaigns. Tour staples with careers on the line versus wildcard and replacement surfers with nothing to lose in Round Two will make for some scintillating surfing.
A call on Round Two competition will be made at 7:30 local time tomorrow.
Round One Nova Schin Festival Results: (1st advances to Round Three, 2nd and 3rd to Round Two):
Heat 1: 1. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.70; 2. Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 11.73; 3. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.10
Heat 2: 1. Taylor Knox (USA) 15.50; 2. Yuri Sodre (BRA) 14.10; 3. Chris Ward (USA) 11.10
Heat 3: 1. Jihad Khodr (BRA) 14.50; 2. Jake Paterson (AUS) 11.50; 3. Dean Morrison (AUS) 8.90
Heat 4: 1. Michael Lowe (AUS) 13.16; 2. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 4.00; 3. Odirlei Coutinho (BRA) 0.00
Heat 5: 1. Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.34; 2. Luke Stedman (AUS) 12.33; 3. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 0.00
Heat 6: 1. Victor Ribas (BRA) 10.44; 2. Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.76; 3. Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 0.00
Heat 7: 1. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 17.00; 2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.00; 3. Renato Galvao (BRA) 9.50
Heat 8: 1. Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.74; 2. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 12.20; 3. Andy Irons (HAW) 10.73
Heat 9: 1. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.66; 2. Pedro Norberto (BRA) 12.83; 3. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 10.83
Heat 10: 1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.37; 2. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.23; 3. Jean da Silva (BRA) 13.00
Heat 11: 1. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 11.66; 2. Toby Martin (AUS) 10.60; 3. Bruce Irons (HAW) 9.16
Heat 12: 1. Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 14.00; 2. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.97; 3. David Weare (ZAF) 3.30
Heat 13: 1. Cory Lopez (USA) 12.83; 2. Paulo Moura (BRA) 9.44; 3. Pedro Henrique (BRA) 8.41
Heat 14: 1. Troy Brooks (AUS) 16.17; 2. CJ Hobgood (USA) 15.73; 3. Jarrad Howse (AUS) 12.17
Heat 15: 1. Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 13.60; 2. Mikael Picon (FRA) 12.50; 3. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 10.84
Heat 16: 1. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 15.83; 2. Roy Powers (HAW) 12.90; 3. Trent Munro (AUS) 12.16