ARICA, Chile (Saturday, June 23, 2007) – After another morning spent assessing the conditions at Ex-Isla Alacran, event organizers for the Rip Curl Pro Search Chile opted to run the Foster's Surf Showdown before calling Round 2 off for the day.
Event No. 4 on the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search Chile, was greeted with conditions similar to yesterday, with heaving 8 to 10 foot (three metre plus) waves detonating on the shallow reef. While officials deliberated on whether or not to send Round 2 out, the Foster's Surf Showdown took center stage.
The Showdown featured an hour-long battle royale pitting two-man teams representing the United States, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, the Foster's Rookies and a special host team from Chile against one another in the challenging conditions.
The exhibition was an incredible display of big-wave bravado as surfers charged the 10-foot bombs slamming into Ex-Isla Alacran. When the hour-long session finished, it was the Chilean Team, comprised of trialist Ramon Navarro and wildcard Manuel Selman, causing a sensational upset and claiming the Rip Curl Pro Search Chile Foster's Surf Showdown Title over runner-up Team USA, which featured Kelly Slater and Chris Ward.
"For me, this is amazing," Navarro said. "Having all the pros come to Chile and surf these waves is a dream and to have the opportunity to surf with them is incredible. I cannot believe this right now."
The thousands in attendance were extremely enthusiastic with every ride ridden, and the experience cemented the already-healthy respect that the competitors had for one another.
"I was stoked that the Chilean guys won because Ramon is nuts – he just lives to charge big waves," Slater said. "The first big closeout that came through, he took off on and I was just screaming. That guy is my hero. He's not scared; he just goes."
The result for Team USA sees them jump to the top of the 2007 Foster's Surf Showdown Ratings, dethroning the formerly leading Foster's Rookies.
Following the Foster's Surf Showdown, event organizers officially postponed Round 2 for the day, hoping for conditions to clean up in the morning.
The reef at Ex-Isla Alacran is quickly becoming one of the most infamous on tour, claiming skin and board alike with terrifying indifference.
Royden Bryson (ZAF) suffered one of two horrific wipeouts during the opening days of competition, the other sending Adriano de Souza (BRA) home following a concussion and 15 stitches to the head. As fate would have it, the two had been paired in the elimination Round 2 meaning that Bryson will receive a walkthrough to Round 3 with De Souza's departure.
"The waves for the first two days of the contest were so good – it was super perfect," Bryson said. "I think Adriano surfed on the first day and it was a little smaller and a little bit shallower – it's super shallow on the inside. Pretty much what happened to him happened to me, but fortunately I hit everything else except for my head. What can one say? I'm just fortunate to have a walkthrough and it's unfortunate what happened to Adriano."
When competition commences, Heat 4 of Round 2 will be first up featuring Tom Whitaker (AUS) and Bruno Santos (BRA).
Next call will be at 7am local time tomorrow morning for a possible 7:30am start.
The event will be webcast LIVE on http://www.aspworldtour.com/2007/ripcurlpro/
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH CHILE FOSTER'S SURF SHOWDOWN RESULTS:
1. Chile (Manuel Selman/Ramon Navarro) 1200 points
2. USA (Chris Ward/Kelly Slater) 1032 points
3. Australia (Danny Wills/Phillip MacDonald) 876 points
4. Brazil (Bernardo Miranda/Bruno Santos) 804
5. South Africa (Greg Emslie/David Weare) 732
6. Foster's Rookies (Josh Kerr/Luke Munro) 699
CURRENT 2007 FOSTER'S SURF SHOWDOWN RATINGS (AFTER CHILE):
1. USA: 3984 points
2. Foster's Rookies: 3831 points
3. Australia: 3660 points
4. South Africa: 3372 points
5. Brazil: 3144 points
6. Hawaii: 1764 points
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH CHILE REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 5: Daniel Wills (HAW) vs. David Weare (ZAF)
Heat 6: Cory Lopez (USA) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 7: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 8: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 9: Ben Dunn (AUS) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 10: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Michael Lowe (AUS)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Shaun Cansdell (AUS)
Heat 13: Ricky Basnett (ZAF) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 14: Frederick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 15: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) vs. CJ Hobgood (USA)
Heat 16: Greg Emslie (ZAF) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH CHILE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.50 def. Christian Merello (CHL) 5.90
Heat 2: Andy Irons (HAW) 13.20 def. Manuel Selman (CHL) 12.00
Heat 3: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.73 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.50