In blustery, unorganized storm surf Kai Otton has edged out Raoni Montero to win the Saquarema Prime.
After being delayed yesterday due to a 15-foot swell, action got underway early at Itauna beach. In a single-digit affair, Otton started the morning by taking down Damien Hobgood -- the final heat score, a whopping 9.67 to 5.63. As they say, a win's a win. Then, dashing the chance of a Brazilian sweep, he blew through Jesse Mendes in the quarters and big Willian Cardoso in the semis.
On the other side of the draw Montero was unquestionably the in-form surfer. After sitting out the first round of the morning due to winning the "Dane Reynolds' Round" (the Rd of 24 in which the winner advances directly into the quarters while the losers duke it out in the Rd of 12), a well-rested Montero made short work of Aussie duo Lincoln Taylor and Yadin Nicol in the quarters and semis, respectfully. At the halfway point of the final it looked like he was bound to roll Otton.In the end Montero finished runner-up by less than half a point. Had he gone on to win, he would have been the third Brazilian in a row to win a major ASP event (Miguel Pupo topped the podium at the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro and Adriano De Souza took out the Billabong Pro Rio)
But it was not to be, journeyman Otton took out the comp, and in doing so greatly enhanced his stature on the ASP's One World Ranking. It's fair to say, Otton can and should savor this very hard-earned win. He's had some tough luck with injuries over the past couple of seasons, but you're not likely to find a nicer, more down-to-earth guy on tour.
Up next the ASP Prime series hits the road to Imbituba for the Super Surf International. The contest starts May 31, so not a lot of turn around for the boys, but then they're surfers, it's what they do.