Defending champion and world title favourite, Jared Houston, was eliminated from the competition during a dramatic day at the Itacoatiara Pro in Brazil.
Houston was one of the favourites to defend his title going into the event, however struggled to find high scoring waves in the wild and rough conditions at the APB Tour event.
The South African was eliminated by Portuguese rider Antonio Cardosa and heat winner Alex Uranga in heat one of Round Five and will now turn his attention to round two of the APB Tour at Arica, Chile.

IMG_9586A major swell continued to pound Praia de Itacoatiara on day four of competition at the 2015 APB Itacoatiara Pro Brazil presented by Toyota SGA. Heavy 2-2.5 metre (6-8 ft.) waves with sets in the 3-meter-plus range (10 ft.) helped set the stage for some big scores and dramatic moments.

Men’s competition worked its way through a total of 22 heats for the day, beginning with round four non-elimination heats. Diego Cabrera (Canary Islands), Helliton Loureiro (Brazil), Eder Luciano (Brazil), 2-time World Champion Amaury Lavernhe (Reunion Island), 2011 World Champion Pierre Louis Costes (France), Alan Muñoz(Chile), Kalani Lattanzi (Brazil), and Sergio Luis (Brazil) all won their heats allowing them to bypass round five and advance directly to round six. Top highlights from round four included perfect 10’s for big barrel rides fromHelliton Loureiro and Kalani Lattanzi.
Round five provided some extra drama right from the start. Defending 2014 Itacoatiara Champion, Jared Houston (South Africa) was eliminated from competition by Portugal’s Antonio Cardoso and the heat winnerAlex Uranga (Basque) in heat one. It was heat three, though, that gave us the scariest moment of the day. Chilean Yoshua Toledo and Brazil’s Roberto Bruno both got caught inside of a massive set wave during the heat. Both of their leashes snapped, they lost their boards, and got worked by a series of solid 3 meter (10 ft.) sets. The 17-year-old Toledo got the worst of it, getting slammed into the bottom and caught in a rip current. He signaled for help, and the Itacoatiara lifeguards rushed to his aid utilizing their jetski and rescue sled. Yoshua was rushed to a nearby hospital for x-rays of his neck and back. Fortunately, he did not suffer any serious injuries and returned to the contest site later in the day.

IMG_8897There were still other intriguing moments in round five. Heat five turned into a down-to-the-wire battle for the heat win between Hawaiian supergrom Tanner McDaniel and South African young gun Luke Kitchin. Tanner would dial in the winning score on his last wave in the closing seconds to just barely beat out the horn. Later, in the last heat of round five, 6th-ranked Israel Salas fell at the hands of two fellow Brazilians, 2008 World Champion Uri Valadão and Francirley Ferreira.

IMG_9480Above: South Africa’s Iain Campbell busts a big flip on his wave to advancing through to Round 7. Photo: Tony D’Andrea/APB Media

After being reseeded, the first six heats of round six hit the water to finish off the day. Lucas Nogueira (Brazil) and South African Iain Campbell advanced out of heat one, while Tanner McDaniel and Kalani Lattanzi moved on from heat two. Sergio Luis and Alan Muñoz progressed from heat three to the next round, and it wasAmaury Lavernhe and Matias Dias (Chile) continuing on through heat four. In the last two heats of the day,Francirley Ferreira and Pierre Louis Costes claimed the top two advancing positions for round five withAntonio Cardoso (Portugal) and Diego Cabrera earning passage to the next round as well.

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