Former three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW) earned a much-needed 9.70 out of 10.00 with just three minutes left in his heat against local Chilean wildcard Manuel Selman.
"I was ready to go home at the end of that heat; I was about to pack my bags and go and have a two-week break," Irons said. "It's just the way my year has been going. It was a really slow and sketchy heat and the local kid knew where to surf and got a couple of 6.0s. I had a 3.0 and thought that was it. I needed and 8.50, and that point, there weren't too many 8.50's coming through. I knew I was in trouble."
The defending Rip Curl Pro Search champion was critically close to adding another 33rd (last) place result to his ratings scoreline when he twisted fate with a deep tuberide in the dying minutes of the heat.
"I was paddling into the wave and it sucked up like Pipe – it had a nice line to it," Irons said. "I made sure I was a little behind the peak and I knew I had to get really deep – I needed an 8.50. Right toward the end it got kind of washy and wild but when I came out it was instant relief; I knew I got the score, but I wasn't sure if he was on the wave behind me."
Selman was on the wave following, but failed to emerge from the tube.
The remaining four heats of Round 1 and the first three heats of Round 2 were run in solid eight to 10 foot (two to three plus metre) waves before inconsistent conditions and unfavorable winds forced officials to call off competition for the day.
Like Irons, Leonardo Neves (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS) and Kieren Perrow (AUS) also posted waves in the high 9.0s today. Otton paired his 9.93 with an 8.17 to earn the highest heat total of the event thus far, an 18.10. His 9.93 wave score ties Neves' for the event highest as well.
"I love these kind of waves," Otton said. "I'm from the South Coast in Australia– the far south coast of New South Wales – and there are reefs and ledges everywhere there. I've grown up surfing these types of waves but this one is unbelievable. It's definitely dangerous. It's a nine out of 10 for danger for sure."
Brazilian Leonardo Neves looked dangerous when he came out of a deep barrel to beat Cory Lopez (USA) and Shaun Cansdell (AUS) in their Round 1 clash.
"I dropped down, turned and didn't event look," Neves said. "The surfboard did all of the work and then when I came out of the barrel I thought maybe it would be a good score like a 7.0 or an 8.00. A minute or two later I heard the score and thought, 'wow, a 9.93, it was really good!' I am really happy."
Former Foster's ASP World Tour surfer and event wildcard Perrow took out world No. 5 Bede Durbidge (AUS) after earning a 9.73 late in their Round 2 duel.
"The wave was doubling up so I really wanted to get underneath it at the start," Perrow said. "It's kind of hard to get in some of those waves out there so I tried to be a little deep. I took off and saw that section so I had to high-line it in the beginning, but then it really opened up. My board was getting bounced around a fair bit inside, but I saw the exit and it just sort of spat me through it. I was so stoked. It's the first time I've claimed a wave in a while."
Chilean wildcard Christian Merello was not quite as lucky. Morello pulled into a huge closeout wave and had to come in and regain his composure before heading back out into his heat with tour front-runner Taj Burrow. Burrow easily eliminated Merello in the large, almost life-threatening Round 2 conditions today.
"It's a crazy slab," Burrow said. "You just have to pick that right one and hopefully get spat out the end. When you come out, you have to start moving because if you get cleaned up in there you'll end up like Royden (Bryson) earlier – he got hammered. It was scary to watch. You've got to get in and out."
Bryson suffered a heavy wipeout and was washed up on the rocks during his Round 1 heat against fellow South Africans Greg Emslie and Travis Logie.
"It was a super weird heat," Logie said. "It was the first time that three South Africans have been in a heat in World Tour history. We thought it was going to be a fun heat, but it was actually a bit heavy. I snapped a board and Royden landed straight on dry reef and I think he's a bit concussed actually. He paddled back out and he was throwing up so I'm a bit worried about him. I hope he's okay."
Bryson is reported to be doing fine, as is Adriano de Souza who needed 15 stitches after hitting his head on the reef yesterday. Oddly enough, the two will meet up in Heat 11 of Round 2.
With the swell expected to hold through tomorrow morning, contest officials are confident that Heat 4 of Round 2 will hit the water at 7:30am local time.
Visit the media center on www.aspworldtour.com/2007/ripcurlpro for transcribed athlete interviews, downloadable wav files, hi-res images, heat by heat updates and more.
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
TODAY'S RIP CURL PRO SEARCH CHILE ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 13: Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.50, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 10.00, Greg Emslie (ZAF) 7.00
Heat 14: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 15.26, Cory Lopez (USA) 9.66, Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 5.10
Heat 15: Kai Otton (AUS) 18.10, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.67, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 7.00
Heat 16: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.90, CJ Hobgood (USA) 7.94, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 2.90
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)