As the brackets of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games whittle down, members of the same team are beginning to run into each other; not as teammates, but as competitors.
This is the case for U.S. surfers Cory Lopez and Austin Ware, who meet in the same heat on Wednesday, and for Costa Rica´s Jason Torres and Gilbert Brown, set for a face-off Thursday.
Brown and Torres, who have established themselves as top surfers in the competition that has engulfed the central Pacific towns of Playa Hermosa and Jacó, were initially slated to compete Wednesday but their heat has been pushed back a day.
On Sunday, Torres was in the same heat with Flores, who is ranked as one of the top 10 surfers in the world. In the heat, Torres finished first with Flores coming in second. Gaskell has finished first in each of his three heats thus far, and has posted some of the top scores in the competition.
In heat number 2, U.S. surfers Lopez and Ware face off against Carlos Cabrero of Puerto Rico and Manuel Selman of Chile. Ware has won all three of his previous heats, while Lopez has won two of three.
On Tuesday, three Costa Rican surfers – Luis Vindas, Lisbeth Vindas and Natalie Bernold – were eliminated from the Open competition. Luis Vindas was eliminated in the fourth round of repercharge and finished the tournament in 25th place.
On the women´s side, Lisbeth Vindas was eliminated in the fifth round of repercharge and finished among the top 16 surfers of the competition. In the ISA World Surfing Games in Portugal in 2008, she finished 25th.
Also eliminated on the women´s side was 17-year old Bernold, who finished fourth in her fourth round repercharge heat. Bernold advanced through three rounds of the competition before her elimination Tuesday.
Carlos Muñoz is the other Costa Rican surfer remaining in the competition. Muñoz, who is 16, won two repercharge heats on Tuesday to advance to the sixth round of the repercharge competition on Wednesday. Muñoz overcame two interference penalties on Tuesday, one in each heat, to advance.
In the men´s Open competition, only 24 surfers remain; 16 in the primary grouping and eight in the repercharge group. The ISA World Surfing Games are essentially a double elimination format. If a surfer finishes 1st or 2nd in a four-surfer heat, they remain in the primary grouping. If a surfer finishes 3rd or 4th in a heat, they are demoted to the repercharge grouping. If a surfer finishes in 3rd or 4th in a repercharge heat, they are eliminated from the competition.
Twelve surfers remain in the women´s Open competition – eight in the primary grouping and four in the repercharge grouping.
Watch the World Surfing Games live here: http://www.billabongpro.com/isa09/live.php