The Australian rookies have caused some major upsets at the World Surf League’s Rio Pro this morning.
Davey Cathels was the first to cause a major upset by eliminating defending event Champion and Brazilian Filipe Toledo in Round 5 Heat 2.
Toledo and Cathels battled wave for wave throughout the heat. Toledo held control for a majority of the 30-minute bout with a 14.87 heat score, but the Australian surged through with 15.67, narrowly edging out the Brazilian by only 0.80.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The win sees Cathels secure his first Quarterfinal berth on the CT while Toledo is eliminated in equal 9th place.
“I didn’t know I was in the lead,” Cathels said.
“The first turn didn’t feel that good. When I saw the replay on the beach, it looked better than it felt. I am stoked. I’ve been feeling weird all day and couldn’t find any rhythm. I decided to just change everything, so I sat in a different spot and rode a different board. It just felt better.”
Gold Coast Jack Freestone continued the upsets as he eliminated current No. 3 and local Italo Ferreira in Heat 3.
Freestone took an early lead against Ferreira by securing a solid 16.43 heat score, forcing Ferreira to find two new scores.
Ferreira attempted numerous aerial maneuvers, but was not able to complete his rides and will walk away with a 9th place finish.
Freestone also eliminated presumed 2016 Title contender Jordy Smith in Round 3 Heat 10.
“I feel really good,” Freestone said.
“That was a hard looking heat on paper. I knew it was going to take big scores to beat Italo. He’s been going crazy at the start of the year. I got those two scores at the start of the heat and sat there for twenty minutes. I am looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be another big day.”
The final heat round Round 5 was put on hold until tomorrow, with Australian Adam Melling set to take on Michel Bourez for the final spot in the quarter finals.
Oi Rio Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Dusty Payne (HAW) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
QF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
QF 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. TBD