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News provided by ASP World Tour on 31 October 2006

IMBITUBA, Brazil - Top seeded surfers forced to negotiate Round Two of the Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong found the form that escaped them yesterday to avoid elimination this morning.

Heats one through seven, each featuring a tour staple vs. a Brazilian alternate or wildcard, were run in contestable three foot (one metre) waves in Imbituba. Deteriorating conditions with career-hinging heats on deck caused event officials to call off competition around midday.

Five of the Foster’s ASP World Tour Top 10 surfers found themselves in today’s losers round and none were eager to etch an equal 33rd next to their name on the ratings board.

Andy Irons (HAW), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Tom Whitaker (AUS) and Dean Morrison (AUS) made that abundantly clear to the Brazilian contingent with their Round Two wins.

Leading the charge was current world No. 4, Parkinson. One of four in contention for this year’s world crown before his loss to eventual champion Slater in Mundaka, Parkinson took the lead early in his 25-minute heat against Pedro Norberto (BRA).

Surfing Round Two for the first time in 2006, Parkinson landed a huge frontside aerial to cement his victory – his performance providing little indication of his waning motivation.

“It’s a little bit more difficult now that the title’s wrapped up – it feels like there is something missing,” Parkinson said. “That said I really wouldn’t mind the number two spot and one of my goals is to try to be the top Aussie surfer so I’ll be keen to chase that too.”

Irons, another uncharacteristic name in the second round, posted a less impressive victory over former world tour veteran Neco Padaratz (BRA), but still finds himself in Round Three.

Sharing Parkinson’s disorientation at the loss of a world title to chase, Irons now faces the challenge of maintaining his current rating through the next two events.

“It definitely feels weird once the title is decided, Irons said. “The pressure is gone and anything above a 9th means I’m bettering a result. I’m just trying to stay top two.”

The three time-world champ, who lost to Padaratz in a 2002 French final, narrowly nixed the Brazilian crowd favorite when he beat him 13.80 to 12.57.

“Neco is probably the hardest draw as far as wildcards go,” said Irons. “He’s been on tour a long time and he’ll be back on tour next year. He’s won contests before so he knows what to do out there and he has beaten me before so I knew he could do it again, I’m just glad he didn’t."

Padaratz was the first surfer to be suspended for testing positive to a banned substance in 2004. Despite the career ending setback, Padaratz has requalified for the Foster’s ASP World Tour in 2007 via the World Qualifying Series (WQS).

Defending champion Damien Hobgood also made it out of his Round Two heat today. The current world No. 7 beat Jean da Silva (BRA) but admitted that it wasn’t as easy as Irons and Parkinson had made it look.

“I watched Parko and Andy this morning and they were ripping, but it was pretty hard for me out there not being frontside,” Hobgood said. “It’s a difficult wave for the goofy-footers.”

Hobgood was also quick to disclose that he’s not sitting on his ‘Defending Champ’ laurels.
“That win feels like a long time ago now,” Hobgood said. “Someone had to actually remind me that I was the defending champion. It doesn’t mean that much really, because no one remembers that, they just remember the guy who won the last contest.”
World Nos. 8 and 10, Whitaker and Morrison respectively, rounded out the five Top 10 surfers who made it through their heats today.

Thirteenth-place rated Philip Macdonald (AUS) also advanced to try to make good on his ‘Top 10 by Year’s End’ goal.

“Other years all of the wildcards have gotten through but this year the tables have turned,” Macdonald said. “I put a bit of pressure on myself because all of the red singlets advanced today and then the conditions started deteriorating but I managed to make it through. I guess it just goes to show that the Brazilians are great surfers, but the tour surfers have a lot to offer out here too.”

Only Bruce Irons, who is sitting 12th on the Foster’s ASP World Tour ratings, lost to an event wildcard today.

Odirlei Coutinho, who has already enjoyed some success on the WQS, dispatched Irons from their heat seven duel.

“I’m so happy,” Coutinho said. “Bruce did every maneuver in surfing, airs, everything. I got the best wave of the heat and I won. I’m stoked.”

Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow morning at 7am local time.

Nova Schin Festival Round Two Results: (1st advances to Round Three, 2nd finishes equal 33rd)
Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) 13.80 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 12.57
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.50 def. Pedro Norberto (BRA) 8.33
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.87 def. Jean da Silva (BRA) 13.00
Heat 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.83 def. Renato Galvao (BRA) 13.67
Heat 5: Dean Morrison (AUS) 12.57 def. Bernardo Pigmeu (BRA) 10.66
Heat 6: Phillip MacDonald (AUS) def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 9.33
Heat 7: Odirlei Coutinho (BRA) 13.33 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 9.66

Nova Schin Festival Round Two match-ups remaining: (1st advances to Round Three; 2nd finishes equal 33rd)
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) versus Yuri Sodre (BRA)
Heat 9: CJ Hobgood (USA) versus Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 10: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) versus Toby Martin (AUS)
Heat 11: Trent Munro (AUS) versus David Weare (ZAF)
Heat 12: Fred Patacchia (HAW) versus Pedro Henrique (BRA)
Heat 13: Adriano de Souza (BRA) versus Jarrad Howse (AUS)
Heat 14: Luke Stedman (AUS) versus Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 15: Jake Paterson (AUS) versus Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 16: Chris Ward (USA) versus Paulo Moura (BRA)


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