Billabong Rio Pro

Michel Bourez Claims Billabong Rio Pro

Date: Monday, May 12, 2014
Schedule: Men's Round 5 (Heats 1-4) and onward
Conditions: 2-4 foot (1 metre) chunky waves at Barra Da Tijuca.

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Final

Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.84 vs. Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.43

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Michel Bourez opened up first in the Final, blasting a 7.17 for a series of three powerful backhand turns. Kolohe Andino would catch a series of waves, his best coming in at a 5.00 for two backhand snaps. Bourez was more selective in his approach, notching a 6.67 on his second ride.

In need of an 8.84, Andino would hunt down the righthand ramps on offer at Barra Da Tijuca, but the Californian was unable to complete any attempts.

Bourez held on for the win, taking his second victory of the 2014 ASP WCT season, moving to No. 4 on the rankings.


Semifinals

SF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.73 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 14.17

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Eleven-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater and California prodigy Kolohe Andino opened up the men's Semifinals, with Andino getting the best of an opening exchange over Slater by a score of 6.83 to 6.50.

Andino stayed busy on the lefts, belting a two-turn combination for a 6.10, but Slater answered with a left of his own, overtaking the lead with a 7.67.

The underdog unleashed his aerial game next, launching an air-reverse into the flats, for a 7.60 and a spot in his first career final.

SF 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.30 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.33

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After mastering tube maneuvers in the Quarterfinals, Taj Burrow and Michel Bourez were forced to adopt new game plans as changing conditions transitioned the game from barrels to rail work.

Burrow was quick to adapt, throwing his tremendous frame against a left-breaking lip for a 7.00 keeper and backed it up with a 5.33 for similar proficiency on a righthander.

Bourez stole the heat momentum when he scored on back-to-back waves, including the heat's first aerial and an execution of a quick barrel ride with a high vertical snap close. The aerial matched Burrow's early rail success and the barrel ride earned him an excellent 8.70. Bourez advanced to the Finals by finishing strong against the high-ranking Aussie.


Quarterfinals

QF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.50 def. Nat Young (USA) 12.37

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Kelly Slater continued to hunt the low-tide barrels at Barra Da Tijuca in the opening of the Quarterfinals against Nat Young, getting on the board first with a pair of sevens.

Young snagged a few tubes of his own, etching a 6.97 and 5.40 of his own to get back in to the heat, but Slater's opening sevens remained unmatched.

QF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.44 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 7.40

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The strategy shifted as Kolohe Andino. He took a try at some of the tubes but earned his first keeper score for a series of quick quick pocket snaps on his backhand.

Bede Durbidge, looking to get back to the performance level that took that kept him within a midrange score going into the second half of the heat. Andino kept building, getting back into the barrels and improving his bottom score to a heat-high 6.67 with five minutes to go.

"I always seem to do better when it's tubes because for me it just simplifies it," Andino said. "I have nothing to lose now."

QF 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.83 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.67

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Defending event champion Jordy Smith took on Michel Bourez next, with Smith holding a narrow lead throughout the first 20 minutes of the heat via a 5.50 and 4.00.

With 10 minutes remaining, the Tahitian committed to a backhand barrel and followed with two backhand snaps, earning an excellent 8.10 for the ride and the heat lead.

The two shared a crucial exchange with just two minutes remaining. Smith overtook the lead with a 6.17, but Bourez grabbed rail and drove through another backhand pit, earning another excellent 8.73 for a Semifinals berth.

"In these conditions anyone can win the heat," Bourez said after the upset. "It's not who is better, it's all about catching the right wave and that's what I did."

QF4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.66 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 7.20

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Sebastian Zietz tried to capitalize on the rhythm he had established in his last heat, working the steep transitions with short floaters and smooth carves. But World No. 5 Taj Burrow set a high bar, scoring a 6.00 and a 7.00 on similar back-to-back rides, using an arm drag to stay in the tight tubes and finishing with clean snaps.

A short tube ride heading into the second half took Zietz out of combination territory but Burrow continued to polish his form on the left-breaking barrels. He scored a 7.73 on his fifth catch with less than 10 minutes to go and replaced his 7.00 at the two-minute mark with a 7.93.


Round 5

Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.50 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 3.37

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Round 5 of the Billabong Rio Pro began with fireworks. Kelly Slater made a critical drop and drove through a deep backhand no-grab barrel on a lefthander, exiting flawlessly for the first Perfect 10 of competition on the day's opening ride.

Perfect 10

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Slater stayed busy, backing up the ride with a midrange 5.50 while Adriano De Souza remained scoreless while time wound down. The Brazilian caught one wave in the 30-minute affair, a 3.37 in the final minute of competition. Slater advanced to the Quarterfinals, ending a six-heat losing streak to De Souza.

"I owe that guy. He's killing me," Slater said. "I've had enough of losing to that guy for now."

Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.83 def. Travis Logie (ZAF)

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Waves had deteriorated significantly unfortunately for the contestants of Heat 2, Kolohe Andino and South African Travis Logie. With under 10 minutes to go, Andino was called for an interference, leaving him with one wave to work with.

Logie had only managed two three-pointers, leaving Andino with a fighting chance. Andino chased down a bump coming off the reef and dropped in with 10 seconds remaining. After struggling with waves shutting down on him on all his previous rides, Andino was able escape the last barrel cleanly to win the heat with a single-wave score of 6.83.

"It was the first little crumble section," Andino said. "I pushed through it and thought, 'I just need to hold on and I'll get it.'"

Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.60 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS)8.10

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2012 ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson and Tahitian powerbroker Michel Bourez took on the challenging low tide conditions at Barra Da Tijuca, both surfers struggling to find substantial scores.

While the heat proved to be a low-scoring affair, Bourez and Parkinson engaged in an exciting seesaw battle for the lead via scrappy midrange scores. The Spartan found a small righthand barrel in the final minutes, posting a 4.50 for the win over Parkinson.

Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.76 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.17

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Having watched the success of the more active surfers in the previous heats, both Josh Kerr and Sebastian Zietz jumped on any bump that looked like a potential scoring potential.

Zietz managed to disappear into the curtain with clean exits on a handful of drops to maintain distance between himself and his WCT Top 17 opponent. Kerr kept the heat tight with his rail work and floaters, but was ultimately unable to find an escape from the quick shutdown barrels on the right. A final rail grab inside the tube solidified the Quarterfinal go-ahead for the Hawaiian.

"You're either going to have tens or twos and somehow I managed to get a couple fives," Zietz said. "You need a lot of luck out there."