Monthly Archives: May 2011

Recap from the Final Day at the Billabong Pro Rio and a Glimpse at the Rankings

First off, we wish Michel a speedy recovery regarding the injury he sustained to his neck in his round 5 matchup against Adriano deSouza. If Michel had won, we might have been looking at a Taj vs. Michel final which would have been insane! Both Firewire team riders killed it and are in position to have a major impact on the world title race going forward. Amazing performances from all and congrats to Adriano for taking it all the way on his home turf. Now for the fun stuff:

ASP Ranking after Brazil:
– Taj is in 4th with a 2nd at Snapper, 25th at Bells, and a 2nd in Brazil. Drop out everyone’s worst performance and Taj is in second. He is right at the top of the world title race. Stoked!
– Michel is in 7th with a 9th at Snapper, 9th at Bells and a 9th in Brazil. Arguably one of the most consistent surfers right now. Can’t wait to see his power come to life at J-Bay.
– Firewire has 2 official team riders in the top 10!!

Video Highlights from the final day:

Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.73 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.90

QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.26 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 14.43

SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.27 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.50

1 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.63
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.17
Videos from Billabong

Recap from Day 3 at the Billabong Rio Pro

What a day! Both Taj and Michel absolutely blew up in draining Barra Da Tijuca surf at the Billabong Rio Pro. Both riders went on to score some of the highest single wave and heat scores of the entire event which means plenty of video highlights. Get on it.

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.66 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.84

Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 19.10 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.83
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.40, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.60, Daniel Ross (AUS) 8.76

Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.67, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.20, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.26

Videos from Billabong

Recap from Day 2 at the Billabong Rio Pro

Slightly smaller surf and cleaner conditions allowed Michel Bourez to lay down a few power maneuvers en route to his round 2 victory this morning in Rio. Look for Taj in heat 1 and Michel in heat 11 when the contest resumes.

Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.50 def. Simao Romao (BRA) 12.10
Video from Billabong

ARPOADOR, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Wednesday, May 18, 2011) – The Billabong Rio Pro returned to Arpoador for the second consecutive day and saw top talent including C.J. Hobgood (USA), 39, and Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, earn the highest scores of Billabong Rio Pro Competition in clean two-to-four foot (1 metre) lefthanders to complete to Round 2.

Stop No. 3 of 11 on the ASP World Title Series, the Billabong Rio Pro not only plays a vital role in deciding the 2011 ASP World Champion, but is also an important event for competitors looking to solidify their position among the elite ranks prior to the midyear cut.

C.J. Hobgood (USA), 31, unleashed his powerful forehand repertoire on Aproador’s lefthanders in the opening minutes of his match-up against dangerous ASP World Tour rookie Julian Wilson while detonating the highest heat-total of the entire event, 16.50 out of 20. Hobgood’s impressive opening rides proved to be enough to take the win over the progressive Australian despite a late-heat press by Wilson.

“That’s what makes those heats fun to surf and it’s exciting to watch,” Hobgood said. “I have so much respect for Julian (Wilson) because these kids can come back so easily no matter what scores they need. I had a good start and had to be comfortable with my performance win or lose. It was exciting and I’m stoked to make it, I have so much fun surfing against these guys.”

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, current ASP World Title No. 2, stuck to his strategy of waiting for the outside set waves and matched the day’s highest single-wave score of a 9 out of 10 for powerful backhand surfing to eventually eliminate fellow countryman Kai Otton (AUS), 31.

“A strategy is a strategy and I had seen a few waves out there,” Parkinson said. “Yesterday the tide came in and just kind of killed me. The wave is pretty tricky here and it’s kind of a dog fight to try and get a wave.”

Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, rebounded after a close Round 1 loss yesterday and went on an absolute rampage on his backhand in Round 2 to defeat wildcard Ricardo Santos (BRA), 20, with one of the highest heat total of the event, 16.43 out of 20.

“It’s a good rebound after yesterday’s loss and I’m really stoked with my performance out there,” De Souza said. “I just tried to capitalize on Ricardo’s mistake in that heat and was really lucky to find two good waves out there. I’m happy to see all of my friends on the beach, that’s what’s most important for me.”

De Souza used his veteran status on the elite ASP World Tour ranks to calm the nerves that come along with competing in front of his fans, but the passionate Brazilian still admitted he has high expectations for himself at the Billabong Rio Pro.

“When I started the tour I was only 17 and I would be nervous and make mistakes in my heats,” De Souza said. “I’ve been on tour for six years now and I think the experience helps me stay more relaxed and comfortable. Although I’m relaxed, I really hope I can get a good result this year. I was a little disappointed with my performance last year with the 9th and I want to do better at my home event this year.”

Adam Melling (AUS), 26, put in a deadly performance to eliminate Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, while matching the highest single-wave score of the event of a 9 and expressed the importance of each heat win with the midyear cut rapidly approaching.

“The cut is lingering all year, so it always feels good to get heat wins” Melling said. “We’ve got the two cuts in one year and it’s on everyone’s mind. It can throw you off or you can also use it to fire you up a bit.”

Michel Bourez (PYF), 25, got the best of a hard-fought battle against Arpoador local and event wildcard Simao Romao (BRA). After several wave-for-wave exchanges, Bourez notched a 6.00 on his last ride in the remaining minutes of the heat to overtake the Brazilian talent to earn the Round 2 victory.

“Simao surfs really well and he’s from here,” Bourez said. “It was hard for me to find the right waves out there. I finally got some good scores and made my heat. That was really heavy for me because we were really tight and he had the best score. I realized I really needed a good one and that’s when I got the score.”

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, 2010 ASP World Runner-up, looked uncharacteristically sluggish in his Round 2 heat against event wildcard Peterson Crisanto (BRA), 18, but found the scores needed to keep his Billabong Rio Pro campaign alive.

“I don’t know what was going on, usually I kind of go out there and let loose and I was nursing everything,” Smith said. “I was surfing really careful because I didn’t want to blow the waves I got but I ended up blowing them anyway. I’m happy that I made the heat though.”

The Billabong Rio Pro will return to Barra da Tijuca tomorrow morning for a 7am call for a potential 7:30am start for Round 3. To watch the event LIVE log on to
For additional ASP information log on to

Upcoming Billabong Rio Pro Round 3 Match Ups:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Dan Ross (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)

Bells Interview Contest Winner Announced

Congratulations to Chris Brouwer (customer of Onboard Port Noarlunga in SA) and Jon (manager of Onboard Port Noarlunga) who are the winners of our Creative Interview/Bells Beach competition. Both Chris & Jon have each won a FIREWIRE Custom Surfboard!!! From everyone here at Firewire, we would like to say thanks to all those who participated. We clearly have the best group of customers out there.

Below is the winning interview question and the athletes’ answers:
For many, surfing is the ultimate existence. Some say it’s better than sex … With this in mind, describe what is going on in your head when you traverse a new wave. (Posed by: Chris Brouwer, SA)

Taj’s Answer: Picking the right manoeuvres for the right sections. You have to work with the section.

Michel’s Answer: That’s funny, but I’ve heard that comparison more than once. When you are in nature and she gives you something special like the ocean and the waves, you get stoked like all kids do. But when you get a tube with any size, everything changes. It becomes slow motion. A 3-second tube can feel like a minute long tube. Your goal is to just make it out. But I can’t recall thinking about it once I’m in the tube. It just happens so fast but slow and the feeling is amazing! Without waves, you can’t be a surfer.

Recap from Day 1 at the Billabong Rio Pro

Taj unloaded on the shifty Brazilian surf this morning to score the highest 2-wave total while gusty winds and less than ideal surf kept Michel from finding his groove. Look for a Spartan rebound in heat 3 of round 2.

Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.33, Ricardo Santos (BRA) 11.17, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.60

Heat 10: Cory Lopez (USA) 11.54, Chris Davidson (AUS) 10.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.57

Videos from Billabong

World’s Best Surfers Ignite Arpoador to Complete Round 1 of Billabong Rio Pro

ARPOADOR, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Tuesday, May 17, 2011) – After a week of lay-days, the world’s best surfers tore into consistently changing conditions at the lefthand pointbreak of Arpoador to complete Round 1 of the Billabong Rio Pro.

Stop No. 3 of 11 on the ASP World Title Series, the opening day of men’s competition saw ASP Dream Tour veterans earn the day’s top scores while defending event winner Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, made an impressive entrance in the Billabong Rio Pro’s opening round.

Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, got off to a strong start to open his Billabong Rio Pro campaign. Slater unleashed two furious tail-drifting backhand turns to notch the day’s highest single-wave score of a 9.00 (out of 10) midway through his bout to overtake ASP World Tour rookie Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, and event wildcard Peterson Crisanto (BRA), 18, after nearly missing the start of his heat.

“That 9 felt good,” Slater said. “I went down to grab my jersey and there was some confusion. By the time I got out, the heat had already started and Julian got that first one. It wasn’t a good start. I knew there were going to be some good ones and I just had to be patient. That one good wave actually let me bottom turn and hit the lip, most of the waves were soft and had a lot of horizontals.”

Slater, who finished runner-up at the Billabong Pro last year, was also quick to admit that several goofy-footers will be tough to beat at the lefthander of Arpoador and noted that the natural-footers will need to be especially selective in their wave choice at the Billabong Rio Pro.

“A little left like this is going to play well for goofy footers,” Slater said. “Owen (Wright) and Jadson (Andre) are probably frothing on it and licking their chops ready to go. We (natural footers) have been on our frontside at Snapper and Bells and now it’s their turn. We’ve just got to try and be smart. Mick (Fanning) looked good and there are waves out there to do it, you’ve just got to be smart.”

Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, opened his Billabong Rio Pro campaign with a sharp backhand attack by belting two Arpoador lefthanders to the tune of a 16.83 (out of 20) on his first two waves to earn the highest heat-total of the day. The Australian veteran notched his Round 1 heat win over dangerous Brazilian rookie Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, and event wildcard Ricardo Santos (BRA), 20.

“It was kind of scary for a second there, right when they decided to start the competition the wind started howling, but then it cleaned up heaps,” Burrow said. “I got two fun ones at the start so I’m happy.”

Jadson Andre, defending event winner, reveled in Arpoador’s lefthanders with a combination of aggressive carves and snaps to take a convincing Round 1 heat victory with the support of the Brazilian crowd behind him.

“I’m so happy to be here competing in Brazil and I love Arpoador, I feel like a local,” Andre said. “I’ve competed here several times before and have friends here. I know everyone says I should feel pressure as defending champion, but I’m not worried about it. I’m just thinking about the next heat. That’s what I did last year.”

Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, two-time ASP World Champion, slowly built momentum in his opening Billabong Rio Pro heat, eventually igniting two lefthanders by combining a series of seamless backhand turns to notch a 15.07 heat total and advance directly through to Round 3.

“It was tricky trying to find the right one out there, but I watched the heat before and noticed that guys that were doing turns back-to-back were getting scores, so I tried to concentrate on that,” Fanning said. “They weren’t the biggest waves, but they just allowed three turns straight away.”

The Australian talent also expressed the importance of advancing directly through to Round 3 with Brazil’s ever-changing conditions.

“It’s really good to skip as many rounds as possible, especially here in Brazil where it can be really unpredictable,” Fanning said. “I’m stoked to get through Round 1 and I’ll go back and assess what’s going on and hopefully keep going.”

Billabong Rio Pro event organizers will reconvene at Aproador at 7am local time tomorrow morning for a possible 8am start.

To watch the Billabong Rio Pro LIVE log on to

For additional ASP information log on to

Billabong Rio Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.60, Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.67, Bobby Martinez (USA) 7.47
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.84, Adam Melling (AUS) 11.16, Kai Otton (AUS) 7.90
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.33, Ricardo Santos (BRA) 11.17, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.60
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07, Simao Romao (BRA) 12.36, Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.66
Heat 5: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.13, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.07, Igor Morais (BRA) 6.34
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.17, Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.37, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 3.84
Heat 7: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.33, Gabe Kling (USA) 10.66, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 7.90
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.56, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.80, Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.43
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.00, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.10, Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.93
Heat 10: Cory Lopez (USA) 11.54, Chris Davidson (AUS) 10.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.57
Heat 11: Daniel Ross (AUS) 14.90, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.67, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.96
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.03, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.70, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.34

Billabong Pro Rio Commences Tomorrow

Videos Courtesy of Billabong

BARRA DA TAJUCA, Rio De Janeiro/ Brazil (Tuesday, May 10, 2011) – The waiting period for the Billabong Rio Pro begins tomorrow, May 11 and with a promising swell expected to ignite the beach breaks of Brazil there is a good chance that the ASP Top 34 could kick things off straight away at the event’s primary site of Barra Da Tajuca.

Stop No. 3 of 11 on the men’s ASP World Title Season, the Billabong Rio Pro returns to Rio De Janiero after landing at several iconic Brazilian destinations over the years.

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, current No. 2 on the men’s ASP World Title Race, enters the Billabong Rio Pro with a newfound confidence after taking an amazing win at Bells Beach and hopes to maintain his form at Barra Da Tajuca.

“I think my form has always been there, but I was missing confidence,” Parkinson said. “Being back in the winner’s circle has brought that back and I feel like I’m surfing good again. Making the right decisions in heats is the key and it feels good to be back into it.”

Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, earned the biggest victory of his career by defeating 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 39, to win the Billabong Pro in Santa Catarina last year and is hungry to post another impressive showing with the support of his nation behind him.

“My victory last year was the most memorable day of my life,” Andre said. “When I won last year it was only my third World Tour event and I won, but I’m going to surf heat-by-heat and try to progress. The aim is always to win and that’s what I’m trying for in the end.”

Kelly Slater current leader on the ASP World Title Race, won an elite ASP World Tour event in Rio de Janeiro back in 1997 and his return to the city sparks many fond memories.

“I have a lot of good memories from competing in Rio,” Slater said. “The last year that I was here was the year Peterson Rosa won, and if he didn’t win I wouldn’t have won the World Title that year. I was here once or twice in the 90’s and I’ve had good times. One year we had good waves and good barrels and I have a lot of good friends here and it’s been a long time since I’ve been back.”

Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, who is heading into the Billabong Rio Pro after an equal 3rd place finish at Bells Beach, is out to use the support of his passionate fans to tackle the world’s best surfers and hopes one of his fellow countrymen will keep the Billabong Pro Rio title in Brazil.

“I’m coming off of a good result and having the support of the crowd is definitely going to help me get on a roll,” De Souza said. “Hopefully the waves come my way and one of the five Brazilians will be the winner of this event.”

Aside from the men’s competition, the Billabong Rio Pro will see the world’s best female surfers competing as well, with the Brazilian event representing stop No. 4 of 7 on the women’s ASP World Title Race.

The Billabong Rio Pro holds a waiting period from May 11 through 22 and is webcast LIVE via

For additional ASP information log on to or


Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), TBA
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW), TBA
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), TBA
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS), TBA
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), Chris Davidson (AUS), Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA


Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (BRA), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA), Paige Hareb (NZL), Felicity Palmateer (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Maya Gabeira (BRA)
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Andrea Lopes (BRA)
Heat 5: Stepahnie Gilmore (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA), Suelen Naraisa (BRA)
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Alana Blanchard (HAW)

Courtesy of the ASP