Friday 13th! Good evening from the Heritage Resort lagoon in Bel Ombre where the men’s double elimination has been rolling hot and heavy today. Friday 13th proved lucky for Sebastian Ribeiro. After a disappointing early exit in round two of the single-elimination at the hands of James Carew, the Brazilian powered through seven heats in the double-elimination and is lined up to get his chance at revenge: James Carew awaits the re-match tomorrow. Here’s how the last heat of the day went down:
Current discipline: Kite-Surf double elimination
Judging Criteria: Pure wave – 18-minute heats / best 2 waves count from 15 possible waves
Wind: Sideshore 18 – 28 knots
Wave conditions: Clean, but also very peaky ranging from head high to double overhead and often closing out. Demanding at times, glorious at others!
Last heat of the day – Round 8: Heat 33
Oswald Smith V Sebastian Ribeiro
The sets looked strong at the start of the heat and Ozzie was the first to strike, a quick one-two combo on an uneven face; big punches from the South African. Looking on from outback Sebastian let a wave pick him up for a better view as he watched Ozzie’s form. He knew the scale of the task at hand, turned back to the horizon and letting the big wall roll on.
The Brazilian took the next wave, did his familiar foot switch, bringing his left foot forward to his favoured backside stance and dropped down. Almost immediately, the wave turned into a freak, breaking towards him from both sides. He U-turned sharply to abort and just managed to drive back through the wave’s peak before it enveloped him.
A moment later he was dropping in again, this time flowing rhythmically up and down, showing the judges his super vertical combinations, extreme in the way he positions his head down as he pivots in the lip – fins free almost every time.
Ozzie found a peak that pinched up oddly into a sharp triangle. He tried to pull under but had to abort, straight-lining towards the reef as the face collapsed.
Sebastian had two good scores of 7.27 and 6.47 which gave him a solid 13.74 / 7.37 lead. This fight for the podium still had eight minutes left.
Ozzie wasn’t having any luck finding the longer more shapely rides, but remember Sebastian had been out there doing heats in the morning and then solidly since 4 pm. He’d seen all states of tide and seemingly knew when to chance a run to the inside and when not to. Seven waves each with seven minutes to go.
Ozzie, frontside, bailed on two waves in a row that didn’t steepen up, he popped over the back and looked left to see Sebastian steaming in on a bomb, maximum pace – but would the peak throw over? No, he had to line it straight as it closed out behind him.
Again the Brazilian found a good one, floated beautifully along a large stretch of white water, took a big drop and immediately banked hard, effortlessly smooth, leaving him to glide almost mechanically around yet another top turn two metres above the shallow reef. He may only have got two big turns, but it’s his approach, speed control and timing that was making these waves perhaps look more useful than they were.
Friday the 13th, riding lucky heat number 7 of the day – all the headlines are his. He raced along one more wave near the end of the heat and pulled in beneath a lip that started pitching. For a second we thought he’d somehow exit the white water like a hero again. But no.
Ozzie had a real good go on a couple at the end, but pushing super hard dropped down off a brutal lip smack and couldn’t stay on the board.
Like a warrior, Sebastian put the day’s final beast to bed, finding the cleanest face of the entire heat and cruised through a few lazy turns. He knew he’d done it and his legs were shot.
Looking over to the rapidly dropping, golden sun, his thighs must have been burning hot. He’s going to need help to walk tonight and, once back on the beach, said in a complete daze that he’d had to massage his leg while going back upwind because it had stopped working during his last barrel attempt!
Ribeiro won – 13.74 to 7.37 and will face James Carew next in the semi-final on Saturday morning.
Round 8, heat #33: Oswald Smith
Round 7, heat #32: Jan Marcos Riveras
Round 6, heat #31: Pedro Matos
Round 5, heat #30B: Willow-River Tonkin-Shakes
Round 4, heat #29B: Jeremy Chan
Round 3, heat #27B: Charlie Wise
Round 2, heat #25A: Alessandro D’Ambrosio
Click here to go to the live event page where you’ll find all the heat stories, score updates and live ladders. The action continues tomorrow, skippers for the riders is at 09.30 (GMT +4)
Friday 13th September 2019
Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing
Words: Jim Gaunt
Photos: Svetlana Romantsova and Ydwer van der Heide
Videos: Mintautas Grigas
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