Michael Rodrigues: flying in small waves

The 2011 ISA World Surfing Games is entering the decisive stage at Playa Venao, Panama. The best surfers in the planet are carrying their national flags in the heart and giving everything they have to honor their countries.

Australia is leadind the hostilities. The experience and technique play for the Aussies, as seven riders still compete for the title. The Main Event finalists were determined today. Twelve surfers, four in each division, are now one step away from medaling.

Waves were smaller in the fourth day of contest, but tension clearly rises. Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Sofía Mulanovich (PER) and Canelle Bulard (FRA) made it through Round 4 and will now compete for a place on the podium, or another chance in the Repechage.

"I’m really close to the final in my first ISA event. It would be awesome to win a medal," said the Australian. "This contest is very different from the others I do. This contest is singular, in that you are surfing on your own but you are also really thinking about your team, and you want to do well for your country", said Stoyle.

The Open Men division saw Michael Campbell (AUS), Thomas Woods (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Rafael Pereira (VEN) making it to the Winners Bracket final.

Campbell, last year’s medalist and 1998 ISA World Champion, was the in-form surfer of the round. Posting a combined score of 14.36 (8.00+6.36), he finished ahead of Pereira, leaving Santiago Muñiz (ARG) in third.

"I was just cruising and got first place," said Campbell. "The Venezuelan surfer was ripping. He always rips and it’s fun to compete against him. This event is a lot different because you compete as a team not as individuals. It is rare for us to compete as a team, so we are really enjoying it."

The Longboard division saw Piccolo Clemente (PER), Matthew Moir (RSA), Toni Silvagni (USA) and Harley Ingleby (AUS) making it into the Main Event final.

The crowd cheered as longboarder Taylor Jensen (USA) combined great classic longboard style with new school moves. The USA Team member scored a total of 16.60 (8.34+8.26), ahead of Justin Bing (RSA) in second, Gabriel Vitorino (BRA) in third and Juan Malek (URU) in fourth.