Matthew Moir moved to within one heat of an individual medal as Justin Bing in the longboard division and Tanika Hoffman in the women’s division produced high scoring performances on Day 4 to keep the South Africa in contention for a team medal at the 2011 Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in Panama.
After several stoppages for torrential rain and lightening, Moir featured in the most dramatic result of the day when he relegated defending ISA World Longboard Champion Antoine Delpero (FRA) to the repecharge rounds with a last minute ride.
Needing a score of 6.56 out of 10 to overtake Delpero for second spot in the heat and progression to the last four in the Qualifying bracket, Moir rode his final wave and then had to wait on the beach before the score came through at a near perfect 9.02!
“I knew I had two minutes to catch a wave and luckily it came, and I got the highest wave score of the heat,” said Moir. “The vuvuzelas brought me that wave. Afterwards, when I was waiting for the score on the beach, I was pretty nervous.”
Moir, the ISA World Longboard Champion in 2006 and 2008, will face Piccolo Clemente (PER), Toni Silvagni (USA) and Harley Ingleby (AUS) on Friday with the top two in the 20 minute encounter advancing directly to the Grand final where they are guaranteed either a gold, silver, bronze or copper medal.
The third and fourth placed surfers drop into the Repecharge rounds where they get another chance to reach the division finale.
Justin Bing, who had already delivered two heat winning displays in the Repecharge rounds, racked up scores of 7.50 and 6.16 for a heat tally of 13.66 out of 20 yesterday to claim second spot behind Taylor Jensen (USA) and progress to Round 5.
Bing will be in action again today as organisers run multiple rounds of Repecharge heats in all divisions.
In the Women’s division, Tanika Hoffman recorded her best result of the event to date, earning scores of 7.70 and 6.30 for a heat winning tally of 14.0, the second highest score by any woman on the day. Hoffman joins teammate Nikita Robb, who did not compete yesterday, in Repecharge Round 4 and the pair will be in action today starting at 3pm SA time.
Team SA’s only casualty yesterday was Klee Strachan who was ousted from the event in equal 16th place overall with a contribution of 1 652 points to the team total when he placed fourth in his Men’s Repecharge Round 4 heat.
Just 42 surfers from the 176 who started the event remain in contention for medals. Australia is firmly in the box seat for the team gold medal with seven of their eight team members still in the event, five of whom are in the Qualifying bracket. Brazil and France each have five in contention while South Africa, Venezuela, Peru and USA have four and Argentina have three.
With all four surfers in the Men’s division eliminated, South Africa, who claimed the team bronze medal at the 2010 event in Peru, will be relying on the longboarders and women to keep on progressing through the business end of the event in order to earn another team medal this year.