World No.1 surfer Gabriel Medina has pulled off a series of spectacular aerials to book his spot in the third round of the WSL Rottnest Search in Western Australia.
Medina produced one of the dominant heats of Sunday’s opening round, going to the air multiple times on the way to posting a two-wave total of 17.00.
The Brazilian got the ball rolling with a spectacular alley-oop aerial in the three-to-four foot conditions at Strickland Bay on Rottnest Island.
But he saved his best for the dying seconds of the heat, pulling off another alley-oop aerial before producing a frontside air reverse to put the icing on the cake.
His opponents Kael Walsh (9.00) and Jack Freestone (5.96) simply had no answers to Medina’s aerial show.
“I love these combinations, different airs,” Medina said.
“The heat before was super slow, but I knew the waves were going to come on more during our heat. I’m happy to have a good performance. I’m loving it.”
Taj Burrow’s one-off comeback had a limp start, with the 42-year-old managing just one scoring wave of 0.70.
His opponents Adriano de Souza (6.50) and Italo Ferreira (5.83) also struggled as the waves dried up during their heat, but they did enough to secure a spot in round three.
The result means Burrow has now been thrust into the elimination second round.
Brothers Owen and Mikey Wright were in the same three-man heat as each other and both made it through to the third round, with Mikey taking the top honours.
“I’ve had a few first-round heat losses lately,” Mikey said.
“I’ve been thinking I just need to kick it in the guts and get it moving, so I’m frothing to finally get one.
“It was an interesting heat at the start. I kept going right and couldn’t score over a two and Owen was going left and not getting over a two, so I was confused about what to do.
“Towards the end, I just waited for one with a long wall so I could just go to town on it and get a few turns in.”
Fellow Australian Julian Wilson, Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi, Jack Robinson, Jordy Smith, Filipe Toledo, Ryan Callinan, and Conner Coffin were others to book their third round spots.
Frenchman Jeremy Flores and Brazil’s Caio Ibelli were among the big names forced into the elimination second round.
In the women’s event, Australia’s seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue, and Caroline Marks all booked spots in round three.
But last week’s Margaret River Pro winner Tatiana Weston-Webb faces an elimination second round heat.