The Australian leg of the ‘Dream Tour’ dragged on a little, Bells Beach and Margaret River, whilst quality waves, didn’t really deliver. So for the first time in a long while people were actually getting excited for the shifty inconsistent beach breaks of Rio De Janeiro.
We didn’t have long to wait, a glassy, inconsistent backwashy swell greeted the world’s best men and women for day one. It was a standard day on the world tour in the 90s, not great waves but a massive crowd on the beach and to be fair what seemed like a pretty sick atmosphere.
Fortunately performance levels have gone through the roof since the last millennium and so it sure wasn’t three turns to the beach. Although quite a few of the early heats were totally forgettable. Kelly Slater arrived straight off the plane and lost, but of course gets to surf again.
Kolohe Andino sent Mick Fanning to round two, which was hardly surprising as conditions resembled T-Street where he grew up, if the tour did revert to 90s style waves, then Andino would be world champ as he destroys beaches like this.
There were few other highlights, Gabriel Medina, the current world number one surfed solidly into round three. But it was compatriot Felipe Toledo who will steal all the plaudits, his ridiculous 18.30 heat score stood head and shoulders above everyone else, as did a couple of his monster punts.
For once the women didn’t get sent out in worse conditions to the men, they were just equally as average. It was kind of dull, nothing the girls could do, and they surfed well considering the inconsistent backwashy conditions.
Carissa Moore progressed to round three as did fellow title chaser Sally Fitzgibbons. Steph Gilmore slipped up though losing to Laura Enever and gets sent to round two. Anybody who ends up in round two in these conditions faces a jittery sudden death scenario.
Round one is rarely epic, but as we move into round two, and sudden elimination, things liven up a little. With a slight increase in swell due and more consistency in the swell we should see both the men and the women step up the performance level. As always tune in to www.aspworldtour.com, should go live around 11am BST.