by Sacha Specker on 9th November 2011
2011 Encanto World Series Puerto Rico Pro
Event 7 of 8, Mens Grand Slam Series
Middles, Isabella, Puerto Rico
November 2-13, 2011
The final eight GSS riders, WWT finalists and DKWT finalists were decided in wedging two meter glassy waves at middles beach today.
The top three 2011 GSS World title contenders have been eliminated from competition in Round 4. Jeff Hubbard (Honolulu / HAW), Guilherme Tamega (Copacabana / BRA) and Ryan Hardy (Margaret River / AUS) will all walk away with a 9th place finish, postponing the title race showdown to the final stop of the 2011 IBA GSS World Tour, at El Fronton in the Canary Islands (December 6th to 16th).
With the completion of the Leaderboard stage followed by Round 4, the field of 32 riders has been cut down to the final eight.
Standouts of Round 4 included, Pierre-Louis Costes (Capbreton / FRA), who defeated number one seed Jeff Hubbard (Honolulu / HAW) and helped open up the title race to six of the remaining eight riders. Costes and Hubbard were neck on neck throughout the heat, with each rider seemingly getting a deeper barrel and launching bigger airs than the other. When the final buzzer sounded, it was the young french-man who walked away with less than half a point higher score than Hubbard; 17.45 vs 17 points.
Dave Hubbard (Lihue / HAW) seemed to have found his rhythm today. Only narrowly making the cut into the top 16 where he managed to knock out a very inform Mitch Rawlins (AUS) who surfed a total of seven heats from trials to Round 4. Hubbard posted an incredible heat score of 18 points.
Jared Houston (Cape Town / ZAF) was matched up against fellow South African Mark McCarthy (Richards Bay / ZAF). Having only surfed against McCarthy once before in the "Man on Man" format this year, Houston lost to McCarthy in the quarter-finals of the Box Pro, but today managed to top his fellow country-man with a stellar performance.
2010 World Champion, Amaury Lavernhe (St Gilles / REU) showed incredible consistency throughout the event, especially today in his match-up against nine time World Champion, Mike Stewart.
Coming from a second place finish in Reunion a month ago, Jake Stone (Woodlands / AUS) has been unstoppable throughout the Enncato Pro, taking out fellow Aussie and title contender Ryan Hardy.
When asked about his performance, Stone commented: "It feels good, but I just did not expect them (the top three title contenders) to drop out of the comp so quick. I guess I have got to do well for them. I will try my best!"
Stone is one of the six riders remaining in the event, looking for a good result to keep their dream of a 2011 World title alive.
The other five riders in contention are: Lavernhe, Houston, Costes, Uri Valadao (Salvador / BRA) and Magno Oliveira (Guarapari / BRA)
Roberto Bruno (BRA) is the only trialist remaining in the event, narrowly defeating six time World Champion, Guilherme Tamega (Copacabana / BRA), securing his spot in the quarter-finals.
The WWT semi-final 1 was arguably the most action packed heat in Women's Bodyboarding history. Isabella Sousa (BRA) raised the level of riding on the WWT to new heights, posting an 8.75 for one of the biggest rolls of the event and backed it up with a perfect 10 point ride for a deep barrel to flawless Reverse-Air. Sousa defeated Carla Costa Taylor (Rio/BRA) who did not go down without a fight, attempting to launch a huge Air-Roll-Spin on one of the bigger sets of the day, which if completed, could well have scored the only other 10 point ride of the event.
Semi-final 2 saw Lilly Pollard (AUS) take on local favorite Natasha Sagardia (Barceloneta/PUR). It seemed the previous heat got all the waves, leaving Pollard and Sagardia searching for scores in a wave starved heat. Pollard managed to find a good pocket in the dying seconds of the heat, allowing for a combination of rolls and was awarded the score to take out the heat.
Pollard will face Sousa in the final.
The DKWT Final will feature current Dropknee World Champion, Damien King (Port Macquarie / AUS) against multiple Dropknee World Champion Dave Hubbard (Lihue / HAW) in what is set to be one of the most anticipated heats of the event.
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