IMBITUBA, Brazil (Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006) – The Hobgood brothers took the Nova Schin Festival’s relocation to Rosa Beach in stride today. Top scoring in the punchy three to five foot (one to one half metre) waves on offer just north of Imbituba, the twins soared through Round Four and will now feature in Quarterfinal No. 1 tomorrow.
Damien, the defending Nova Schin Festival champ and CJ, who won the Foster’s ASP World Title in 2001, will go man-on-man for only second time in their Foster’s ASP World Tour careers. The 27-year old Top 10 staples, who met in elite tour competition for the first and last time in the 2004 Quiksilver Pro Japan Quarterfinals, are beyond stoked about the ‘bro-down.’
“It’s going to be fun,” CJ Hobgood said. “[Damien] is going to be looking to get me back because I got one on him in Japan. It’s the end of the year and there’s not crazy pressure here so I’m looking forward to it –he’s going to be super bummed if I beat him again though. Anytime anyone asks if we’ve ever had a man-on-man heat together he huffs and says, ‘Yea, one time, but I didn’t catch a wave in the heat.”
Damien earned a 9.5 (out of a possible 10 points) for a relentless series of vertical hacks to claim today’s highest wave score and a heat win over Cory Lopez (USA). Second only to Joel Parkinson’s 9.73 earned in Round Three, Damien’s wave was at once an assurance that taking the event mobile was a smart move.
“I saw the set coming from the corner and it looked like a pretty good wave but I couldn’t tell how good it was,” Damien Hobgood said. “The thing just ended up lining up all the way through, but I think the thing that really made that wave was that at the end I had this left coming back at me and I was able to bank of it. I was stoked.”
CJ earned the second highest wave score of the day, a 9.00, to remove Parkinson from Nova Schin Festival contention the heat after.
“Going up against Joel is never an easy task,” CJ Hobgood said. “Joel’s been getting 9.0s every heat and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a couple of 9.0s in a few of my heats so I had to tell myself, ‘Hey, I can go out there and get those scores and put some pressure on him,’ and that’s what I did.”
Current world No. 6 Bobby Martinez, who often travels with the Hobgoods, earned another last minute victory today. This time, Bede Durbidge (AUS) was his victim.
“I thought I was a little too deep so I paddled a little bit towards Bede and that set came and I got one of the last waves of the set,” Martinez said. “Then they said the scores wrong and I was wondering what was going to happen, I didn't know what to think. There were two minutes left and it looked like waves were coming. A wave came and Bede got a 5.0 and it didn't have as much wall as the other waves or else he would have got the score so I got lucky.”
Martinez, a Foster’s ASP World Tour rookie, has earned the nickname the ‘Smiling Assassin’ for regularly relegating guys to the losers round with a humble grin on his face.
With two wins and two dead lasts in his scoreline, a victory over Mick Fanning (AUS) tomorrow will see Martinez replace a 33rd place with a 3rd or better. Because all those above him on the ratings, including Taj Burrow who lost to Greg Emslie (ZAF) today, bowed out earlier than him in the event, eliminating Fanning will see Martinez jump to world No. 2.
“It’s going to be hard with Mick, he’s definitely one of my favorite surfers,” Martinez said. “I love watching him surf, he always has so much energy – it’s going to be hard. Everywhere he goes he’s always looking good and out here again he’s looking good. It’s going to be difficult, but hopefully we get waves and then we’ll just see how it goes.”
Also earning a Quarterfinal berth and ending injury replacement surfer Odirlei Coutinho’s (BRA) upset-spree was Hawaiian Fred Patacchia. Surfing a broken board for most of the heat, Pattachia was surprised, but very pleased to advance.
"I wouldn’t say I was the heavy favorite going into that heat,” Pattachia said. “[Coutinho] had the crowd behind him and he just took out Andy (Irons) and Bruce (Irons), so he’s been taking out a bunch of Hawaiians lately. I just wanted to get the right waves out there. I buckled my board about halfway through the heat and I didn’t have an extra board on the beach so I had no choice but to ride it. I was lucky it didn’t break totally in two because I would have been screwed and would have lost the heat.”
With a guaranteed 5th or better leaving Brazil, Pattachia joins lower seeded Round Four winners Greg Emslie (ZAF), Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) and Phil Macdonald (AUS) in their relief that they are now in much better situations to requalify for next year’s elite tour.
“I’m stoked I came to Brazil,” said Pattachia. “I’m not going to win the Foster’s ASP World Tour right now and I’m not going to fall off either so this is all gravy; this is all fun for me. I’m just happy to go into Hawaii with a clear mind and not have to worry about requalifying."
The Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Final will run tomorrow, the last day of the Nova Schin Festival waiting period. A competition call will be made at 7am local time.
Round Four Match-Ups: (1st advances to the Quarterfinals; 2nd finishes equal 9th)
Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.67 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 8.17
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.00 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.00
Heat 3: Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 13.97 def. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 13.10
Heat 4: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.27 def. Odirlei Coutinho (BRA) 12.33
Heat 5: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 13.87 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.67
Heat 6: Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 12.90 def.Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.34
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.33 def. Trent Munro (AUS) 7.50
Heat 8: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.80 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.33