By the end of the fourth round at Hurley Pro, eight of the top ten surfers in the world rankings were eliminated. The list includes John John Florence, Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning.
The day started with Jordy Smith winning his Round three match with Kai Otton by a slim 0.44 margin. The pair have struggled in the lineup in grey and glassy conditions.
A few heats later, Kelly Slater went against rookie Jack Freestone. Slater immediately went aerial. He kept himself busy after securing an early lead. Slater nabbed lefts and inside rights and working on his rails. Jack Freestone had a couple good turns to answer back but couldn’t finish a single ride.
The next matchup saw Kolohe Andino and Conner Coffin head to head. Andino dominated his home break and delivered one of his strongest performances of the season.
Andino hacked his home break to pieces in one of his strongest performances of the season. Coffin’s classic Rincon carve couldn’t match Kolohe’s variety. By the end of the heat, Conner was in a combination situation.
In the Next heat, Filipe Toledo Matched up with Caio Ibelli where he dominated with double nine point waves to put his fellow Brazilian in a combination situation needing 18.11 to turn the tables around.
The next heat captured a lot of interest when Brett Simpson was matched up with John John Florence. In the previous day, Simpson eliminated Matt Wilkinson. Brett started with an 8 point ride early in the heat to put pressure on John. The World No. 1 was unable to complete a ride and earned mediocre scores. Simpson put Florence in combo situation needing 15.17 to win the heat. Florence was unable to recover and lost.
In the next heat, Medina matched up with local wildcard Tanner Gudauskas. With Florence taken out of the contest, this was Medina’s first big shot to snatch the yellow jersey. But The wildcard did not make it easy for him. Tanner put on a dynamic show at his home break. He exchanged a series of 8 point rides with Medina. Before the heat was over, Medina caught a long wave and he tore through it with skill and speed. It appeared to be the clincher win for Medina, but the Judges disagreed and favored Tanner’s turns and gave the local wildcard the controversial win by a 0.21 margin.
This has sparked debates all over the globe whether the judges made the right call. Even the commentators were unable to determine whether the Judging was right.
But the day was not over, Stuart Kennedy eliminated the event’s defending champ, Mick Fanning. By the time Round Three was complete, Jordy Smith was the only Top 5 surfer left.
The South African was able to manage to get to Round Four where he earned a fast-track to Quarterfinals after eliminating Michel Bourez and Kelly Slater.Toledo followed Jordy Smith into the Quarterfinals with his solid performance, and they were later joined by Gudauskas and Brazilian rookie Alex Ribeiro.
The competition is far from over. And everyone is watching closely to see who will emerge winner in this highly contested Hurley Pro event.