Two local surfers advanced to the Round of 96 onSaturday at the ASP Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico surfing competition.
Somers Point native Dean Randazzo easily won Heat 10 in the Round of 128 with a score of 10.83.
Ocean City's Rob Kelly finished second in Heat 7 with a score of 10.64. Ryan Bignold of Australia won the heat with a score of 11.26.
"The surf was small (1-to-3 feet) but very contestable. The break is best on a smaller swell. There is a huge swell coming next week so the contest directors are trying to run as much of the contest they can because it looks like the swell might get too big," Kelly said in an email interview.
The top two competitors in each heat advance to the next round today. Kelly is at the contest with his girlfriend Shannon Williams and teammate Brian Liess from the 7th Street Surf Shop in Ocean City.
"There are no easy heats at this level of competition, but if I get the right waves I feel confident I can keep making heats," Kelly said. "My boards feel great and I spent a lot of time surfing the break prior to the contest so I'm feeling pretty good."
The four-star rated event, held at Jobos, Puerto Rico, is the first time the Association of Surfing Professionals has held a competition on the island since 2010. It's also the first event on the ASP North American schedule for 2013.
Kelly said the reception from the locals to the event has been amazing.
"Surfing in Puerto Rico is what football is in Texas. The crowd on the beach was one of the most crowded I've ever seen at a surf event," he said. "The support for the local competitors is overwhelming. The beach roars whenever any Puerto Rican stands up on a wave. It can be a little intimidating at times but you just have to tune out the crowd and do your thing."
Competition continues today at approximately 7:30 a.m. and can be seen live at www.live.ripcurl.com. Kelly will compete in Heat No. 8 and Randazzo in Heat No. 10.