Amongst the surf brands there is a technical one-upmanship being played out at the World Tour events and this year, Rip Curl showed their Portugese hand at the pre-contest press conference. It was announced that, from the Quarterfinals, they would be broadcasting the contest live in 3D on cable TV around the world.
We were only in Round 3 today and they were testing out the huge 3D cameras from the cliffs of the back-up site at Belgas.
They started test recording during Owen Wright's heat, and you probably couldn't have scripted it better. Wright had creased his board during a previous ride and after signaling madly to his dad Rob for a back-up he caught a small righthander. Maybe it was the lack of pressure, or his mindset that the board was already creased, but as he hit the inside section a tempting ramp appeared in front of him. The kid only knows one way when such an opportunity presents itself, and that is to punt. And punt he did. A huge no-hands backside 360 reverse. The result was a perfect 10-point ride. From Rip Curls perspective they're over the moon. The 3D cameras were rolling for the first time and they had recorded their team rider scoring a perfect 10! I don't think they even believed it themselves. The technicians doing the entire web casting and filming were all buzzing. They even dragged Wright into the webcast truck, stuck a pair of 3D glasses on his head and played and replayed the move.
"I saw 'Avatar' three times," said Owen at one stage. "I can't believe how insane this footage looks though."
The Rip Curl crew were very happy with their 3D coup, but there was also a down side to the day's event at Belgas. Mick Fanning's run for back-to-back world titles appears to be over. After going down to Travis Logie by a meager 0.11 points, Fanning, who's still not mathamtically out of it, all but waved the white flag.
"I'm done," said Mick over a beer later in the day. "I needed to be getting thirds or better at this stage of the year. I'm counting 9ths as throw-away results, but it's over for me this year. I's ok, I'm disappointed, but I'm still happy."
The sun also set for Taj Burrow and Dane Reynolds, who ironically were taken out by Logie in Round 2. Talk about a South African giant killer.
The 2010 title fight is now down to two, Logie's good friend, Jordy Smith, in one corner and the champ, Kelly Slater, in the other. Smith's run has been stumbling, while Kelly's has been gaining momentum over the last few months. Nothing can be decided until at least the next event in Puerto Rico. Although, Slater could still nail a tenth world title in the tenth month of 2010. I had previously suggested it to him (at Bells Beach in April) that 10/10/10 would be appropriate and he thought about it and then said, " That'd be interesting."
Kelly is such a numbers man and you can feel all the planets aligning as each heat is run. I wonder if it'll all go down in 3D? Now that would be an interesting trip.
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1:Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.67 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.50
Heat 2:Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.00 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 7.56
Heat 3:Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.17 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.40
Heat 4:Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.90 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.24
Heat 5:Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.60 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.67
Heat 6:Kelly Slater (USA) 13.17 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.60
Heat 7:Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.04 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.93
Heat 8:Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.60 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 8.50
Heat 9:Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.77 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.70
Heat 10:Owen Wright (AUS) 17.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.80
Heat 11:Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.83 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 13.67
Heat 12:Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.17 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.26
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1:Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 2:Damien Hobgood (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3:Travis Logie (ZAF), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4:Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF)