Taj Burrow: surfer on fire

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers, Event No. 2 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, relocated to Winkipop for Round 3 and the opening four heats of Round 4 today where perennial threats went ballistic in the rippable three-to-four-foot (1 metre) reeling righthanders.

Taj Burrow (AUS), 31, current ASP World No. 1, has been in sensational form lately with nearly a flawless competitive record over the past five months, and showcased exactly why throughout two heats today. In a hard-fought battle against explosive rookie Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 21, Burrow surfed flawlessly, netting a 17.04 out of a possible 20.

"That was fun for sure," Burrow said. "I saw some great waves and I was really excited to surf, but I just knew that you actually had to catch them because there weren't that many. But everything went my way which is unfortunate for Wilko (Matt Wilkinson). He's a great surfer, he has the best backhand so I knew it was going to be a tough heat, but I just got stuck with the waves and they came to me. I was happy I had the magnet on."

The lightning-fast Western Australian then went on a rampage against former three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), 31, in Round 4, posting the highest score of the day, a 17.77 out of a possible 20.

"It feels great," Burrow said. "I owe him (Irons) a couple. We've had some amazing battles over our careers. He's been in deadly form. He's all alive so it was good to get him for sure. I had a great time. The waves are really good. I think it might even be one the best surfs I've had at Winki - only small, but just so clean and with the high tide they were coming from this little deep peak. Every wave I took off on had such a nice wall. It was good to have a few sets come through too. I was worried about the heat being inconsistent but it ended up pumping."

Burrow will take on an in-form Adriano de Souza (BRA), 23, in the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, current ASP World No. 2, posted an impressive win over rookie sensation Owen Wright (AUS), 19, in Round 3 before putting on a progressive surfing clinic in an emphatic win over Roy Powers (HAW), 29, in Round 4.

"It was a fun heat," Smith said. "It's too bad that I had Roy (Powers) again. He's a teammate of mine and we're travelling together so it's a little tough, but I'm just happy I made it through. There were actually some really good waves out there - a little smaller, but a lot more consistent than my first heat so I'm stoked."

Smith secured the highest single-wave score of the event against Powers, lacerating a running righthander and punting multiple aerials before smashing a "Superman" air to finish the score came in to the tune of a near-perfect 9.80 out of a possible 10.

"I think I had like two average waves like two 7's under of my belt," Smith said. "Roy (Powers) didn't want to have the wave - it was a small one, so I took it and it ended up being a good one, walling up through the inside and it just allowed me to do some good turns."

Smith will take on reigning two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, in the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Fanning, a former winner at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach (2001), showed no mercy against wildcard Gabriel Medina (BRA), 16, in their Round 3 clash. The reigning champ dominated with a blend of his patented forehand gaffs as well as an injected dose of aerial creativity, netting an 17.20 out of a possible 20, to advance through to Round 4.

"I had a good little wave at the start and got an 8.50," Fanning said. "It allowed me to apply a lot of pressure at the start. I was just out there having a lot of fun. I knew the waves were going to be fun little rights, and I surf those all the time. I had a good surf out here last night, and I just tried to focus on getting the best waves and surfing well."

Fanning went on to survive a tight heat at the end of the day against European battler Tiago Pires (PRT), 30, in Round 4.

Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion, survived a closely-contested Round 3 heat against rookie phenom Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, to advance through to Round 4. Slater, who spent the day in hospital getting scans on his right foot (inflamed ligaments suspected), battled back after Payne secured an excellent 9.17 out of a possible 10.

"I woke up this morning and I couldn't walk so for me it was all an upside today," Slater said. "I expected to go out there and lose. Instead, I got out there and figured out I could surf, but then Dusty (Payne) got that 9. I didn't see what he did, but apparently it was something big and I was sort of scanning out the back. With 10 minutes remaining, I had priority so I was just hoping for a long flat spell or just one wave. I got a couple of scores, kept it efficient and came away with the win."

Slater will face Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, in Heat 8 of Round 4 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am for a possible 7:30am start.

When competition resumes, up first will be defending Rip Curl Pro winner Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, up against compatriot Adrian Buchan (AUS), 27, in Heat 5 of Round 4.

Highlights from today's Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by SNICKERS will be available via www.live.ripcurl.com

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com


RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH REMAINING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.67 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.16
Heat 2: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.37 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.70
Heat 3: Andy Irons (HAW) 10.67 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 6.70
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.04 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.33
Heat 5: Roy Powers (HAW) 13.50 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.34
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.67 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 8.47
Heat 7: Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.14 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 12.17
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.20 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.84
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.16 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 13.57
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.17 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.06
Heat 11: Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.83 def. Drew Courtney (AUS) 10.34
Heat 12: Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.53 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 14.37
Heat 13: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.90 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.63
Heat 14: Luke Stedman (AUS) 14.34 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.17
Heat 15: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.84
Heat 16: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.24 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.00

RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.90 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.90
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.77 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 11.93
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.30 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 13.77
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.60 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.90

RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH REMAINING ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Jadson Andrew (BRA)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Michel Bourez


SOURCE: ASP World Tour