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|Getting a result far from Hawaii, John Florence has been unhindered by the cooler water temp.|
And then there were 12. With Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Portugal done and dusted, as we head into the weekend there's no shortage of intrigue left. We're looking at four Brazilians, three Americans, three Australians, a Frenchman and a Kiwi still in contention, and the motivation to succeed's coming from all angles.
The smart money may be on Pat Gudauskas or Julian Wilson or Jeremy Flores, all three surfed tack sharp today, and have that valuable World Tour experience on their side as we close in on the money rounds. Wilson posted the highest heat score of the day, a 17.77 effort that carried him over France's Joan Duru. It's getting to be do or die time for Wilson. Can he hang on for the back half of the season, or is he in for a LeBron-like flame-out? Big-money contracts do come with a burden, it's all about heart now.
In need of a result, Gudauskas has stayed consistent throughout the event, and today battled through a tough low tide and windy conditions to advance over South Africa's Travis Logie.
"I didn't hear until the very end what it was," said Gudauskas, who couldn't hear the scores from the water. "I was trying to do the math based on what Travis needed so I was a little stressed out. It is tricky as it is more north -- the swell -- and not so much from the west today, so it is hard to pick the ones which are going to hit reef. Also the wind is a bit more onshore so it makes it all a little more challenging but still really good waves out there."
Meanwhile, Gabriel Medina and Miguel Pupo spearheaded the Brazilian assault, and seeing as both have won Prime events in the last month and a half, either one could very easily go on to win this thing. Medina has been especially lethal as of late.
And lest we forget to mention Hawaii's John Florence, who's well on his way to posting the best result of his career outside of the islands. We all know what the 17-year-old's capable of at Pipe, but he's also proving quite adept in marginal European conditions.
"I was super stoked and it was a good wave and I got lucky because you are sitting way up the point now and you can't tell which ones are going to close out or which ones are going to run through with a bit of a wall," said Florence. "Then when you do get a good one you have to ride it all the way in and then paddle all the way back out again. It is a fun right point and these are the best waves I have had in competition for a while."
The Quiksilver Pro Portugal will resume competition tomorrow, and if all goes according to plan, we'll have a winner for you come Sunday.
Upcoming Quiksilver Pro Portugal Round Four Matchups
Heat 1: Cory Lopez (USA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Junior Faria (BRA)
Heat 2: Pat Gudauskas (USA), John John Florence (HAW), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 4: Jay Quinn (NZL), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Quiksilver Pro Portugal Round Three Results
Heat 1: Cory Lopez (USA) 9.37 Def. Richard Christie (NZL) 9.33
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.10 Def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.50
Heat 3: Junior Faria (BRA) 13.43 Def. Heath Joske (AUS) 8.50
Heat 4: Pat Gudauskas (USA) 12.93 Def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.16
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 16.27 Def. Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 13.87
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.93 Def. Andre Silva (BRA) 11.54
Heat 7: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.34 Def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 3.74
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.60 Def. Alain Riou (PYF) 15.43
Heat 9: Davey Cathels (AUS) 13.50 Def. Tanner Gadauskas (USA) 5.90
Heat 10: Jay Quinn (NZL) 18.10 Def. Hodei Collazo (EUK) 14.23
Heat 11: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.60 Def. Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 9.94
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.77 Def. Joan Duru (FRA) 9.27