Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 28, used a selective wave strategy to win his Round of 64 heat. The Californian opened his account with a long righthander and waited the majority of his heat to find a backup score.
“My strategy was to try and be selective,” Curran said. “There’s not a lot of guys catching waves and I lucked in to the first one and it put me on the board. I was trying to be patient and I got caught down in to five minutes before my next good one. I would have rather got one earlier, but I think the guys that are patient are the guys that are getting through today.”
Curran, a former ASP WCT competitor, finished 39 on the ASP World Ranking last season and is capitalizing on the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico to launch his global campaign in an attempt to requalify for the ASP Top 34.
“This is a warmup event for me,” Curran said. “The waves are fun and it’s close to home and the vibe here is really cool. It’s a fun way to start off the year and I’m picking and choosing events I want to do. I’m looking forward to having another good year.”
C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 33, top seed at the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico, was one of several high-seeds who navigate the challenging lineup to advance to the Round of 32.
“It’s funny because you’re out there surfing and it’s six-foot teepees,” Hobgood said. “You want to take off on the wave, but it has no wall. You want to do a big bottom turn and then it disappears, so you’ve got to get up in to the lip earlier than you think you do. I’m not one to make excuses, but I’m lucky that I made that heat. There’s not a lot of opportunity, but when it pops up you’ve got to take it.”
Hobgood was another veteran competitor who counted on patience in order to find success at the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico today.
“I just told myself that no one else had scores and to be patient,” Hobgood said. “The only time you could really chill was when you’re on the inside paddling back out. Really though, it’s like any contest. If you want to do well, you have to perform in all conditions. We get conditions like this all the time in CTs, but I was lucky that no one posted a big score in that heat.”
Rob Kelly (Ocean City, NJ), 23, was one young surfer to find success despite the dominance of today’s high seeds. Kelly, who spends ample time in the Puerto Rican lineups during the winter months, looked comfortable in the Jobos lineup and also capitalized on the local knowledge of fellow competitor Dylan Graves (Isabella, PR), 27, to aid in his success today.
“It was hectic because you don’t know where you’re at and you just have to go out there and do your thing,” Kelly said. “I was looking at Dylan (Graves) closely to see what he was doing. Paying close attention to what he was doing helped out.”
Kelly, who advanced in yesterday’s small, clean, waves, displayed impressive versatility today with his comfort in the disorganized Jobos lineup.
“It’s two different extremes from yesterday,” Kelly said. “Yesterday I was groveling and today is the biggest I’ve ever surfed Jobos.”
RIP CURL PRO PUERTO RICO ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Gabe Kling (USA) 12.60, Dillon Perillo (USA) 10.07, Jake Kelley (USA) 7.50, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 6.60
Heat 2: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 11.83, Phillip Goold (USA) 10.10, Guillermo Satt (CHL) 8.26, Hank Gaskell (HAW) 6.96
Heat 3: Nils Schweizer (USA) 8.67, Cam Richards (USA) 8.66, Miguel Tudela (PER) 8.30, Dege O’Connell (HAW) 7.86
Heat 4: Taylor Knox (USA) 8.64, Hunter Lysaught (USA) 7.57, Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 6.94, Jeremy Carter (USA) 5.60
Heat 5: Evan Geiselman (USA) 8.07, Wesley Toth (PRI) 6.33, Davey Brand (ZAF) 5.66, Makai McNamara (HAW) 5.04
Heat 6: Steven Pierson (PYF) 12.50, Michael Dunphy (USA) 9.57, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 5.53, Magnum Martinez (VEN) 5.00
Heat 7: Rob Kelly (USA) 12.66, Dylan Graves (PRI) 8.20, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 8.20, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 8.03
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.74, Ryan Bignold (AUS) 6.53, Carlos Cabrero (PRI) 4.20, Christian Saenz (USA) 3.47
Heat 9: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 11.67, Taylor Clark (USA) 8.67, Blake Jones (USA) 5.42, Dean Randazzo (USA) 2.14
Heat 10: Manuel Selman (CHL) Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 9.33, Matt Pagan (USA) 7.70, Tommy Bursian (PRI) 6.67
Heat 11: Asher Nolan (USA) 12.16, Cory Lopez (USA) 9.13, Chase Wilson (USA) 8.04, Dylan Southworth (MEX) 6.96
Heat 12: Cody Thompson (USA) 11.10, Kellen Ellison (USA) 8.33, Balaram Stack (USA) 5.76, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 5.03
Heat 13: Chris Ward (USA) 9.86, Michael Powell (USA) 9.50, Brett Barley (USA) 8.10, Trevor Thornton (USA) 7.10
Heat 14: Adrien Toyon (FRA) 10.83, Ricardo Delgado (PRI) 6.13, Ian Crane (USA) 5.90, Miguel Diaz (PRI) 5.20
Heat 15: Dylan Goodale (HAW) 9.13, Marcelo Rodriguez (ARG) 8.90, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 7.27, Jose Tavarez (PRI) 6.80
Heat 16: Brian Toth (PRI) 10.06, Andrew Doheny (USA) 6.46, Evan Thompson (USA) 4.53, Andrew Jacobson (USA) 4.27