Hawaii surfers not long for Rio

So much Hawaii talent headed east for the Quiksilver Saquarema Prime, but Oahu youngster Keanu Asing was the only one still surfing as the fourth round got underway, Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kauai’s trio of World Championship Tour competitor Sebastian Zietz, along with Evan Valiere and Gavin Gillette all had relatively short events. Zietz was the only one to advance out of his four-man first-round heat.

Seabass put up the highest wave score of the opening Round of 96 in the final foursome. On his second ride, Zietz was awarded a 9.77 that put him squarely in the driver’s seat to be one of the 48 surfers to make it into round two. He backed it up with a 6.50 to win the high-scoring heat on a 16.27 total.

That 9.77 remains the top wave of the event through almost four completed rounds.

Gillette and Valiere were each knocked out in the first round and only four Hawaii surfers advanced to round two – Asing, Zietz, Dusty Payne and Torrey Meister. Once the second round was complete, Asing was the only competitor still repping the Aloha State.

Asing had a dominant performance in his fourth round heat, putting up the second-best heat total of the week. His 9.50 wave is the third-best of the contest and he backed it up with an 8.00 for a 17.50 total that was way too much for South Africa’s Beyrick de Vries. Asing moves into the Round of 16 to face another one of this event’s in-form surfers, Brazil’s Felipe Toledo.

That matchup will be a familiar one. Asing and Toledo have already squared off twice this week. Asing won the first-round heat while Toledo took second place, but the Brazilian got his revenge in round three when he won their three-man heat, advancing directly to round five.

Big names still in the field include a number of Brazilian locals, namely Toledo, Adriano de Souza, Jadson Andre, Heitor Alves and Wiggolly Dantas, all among the 14 surfers already into the final 16.

This week’s winner will earn 6,500 rankings points and $40,000.

Event organizers will make a call Friday at 7:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. Hawaiian time), when the final two heats of round four will hit the water before round five gets underway.

THE WOMEN’S FIJI PRO will begin its waiting period Sunday in Tamarua, Fiji. The fifth stop on the Women’s World Championship Tour will again feature three Kauai wahine. Tatiana Weston-Webb will replace injured Courtney Conlogue for the second straight event, joining fellow Garden Isle surfers Malia Manuel and Alana Blanchard in the field of 18.

Weston-Webb will start her event against Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons, who is coming off a title at the Rio Women’s Pro, and France’s Pauline Ado. Blanchard then goes up against a pair of tough Aussies in Tyler Wright and Dimity Stoyle. Manuel will compete in the final opening heat against South Africa’s Bianca Biutendag and Australia’s Nikki Van Dijk.

Fiji is 22 hours ahead of Hawaiian time, so the event will actually get underway here on Saturday morning.

Visit www.aspworldtour.com for webcast and event information.

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