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Wilkinson fails to fire in Tahiti Pro

AAP logoAAP 22/08/2016

Matt Wilkinson is in danger of losing his yellow jersey to John John Florence or Gabriel Medina after his surfing world title hopes took a big hit at the Tahiti Pro.

The world series leader was knocked out of the event in the third round by Brazilian qualifier Bruno Santos, managing just two rides in their heat.

In small swells of just over a metre at the usually-feared Teahupoo break, Australian Wilkinson failed to catch a wave until there were just five minutes remaining, and then he only managed a meagre score of 1.93.

He produced another ride on the buzzer of 4.90, however it was nowhere near enough as Santos had already produced a best two-wave score of 12.33 from his eight rides.

Santos, the 2008 champion at Tahiti, had already beaten Wilkinson in the opening round.

The defeat marked the sixth time in seven years that Wilkinson failed to make it past the third round at Teahupoo, and is almost certain to cost him the world championship lead after the seventh stop on the 11-event tour.

Second-placed Florence (Hawaii) and third-placed Medina (Brazil) both won their third-round heats, putting them on the verge of overhauling Wilkinson on the standings.

Australians did enjoy some success in the third round though.

Josh Kerr produced two of the best rides of the day in his combined score of 17.44 to defeat Hawaiian Dusty Payne, while Julian Wilson had a ride of 9.20 in his victory over Frenchman Jeremy Flores.

Joel Parkinson won through over Kanoa Igarshi, but fellow veteran Kai Otton's week is over after he went down to Medina.

Earlier, 11th-ranked Adrian Buchan was the first Australian through to the fourth round, defeating Brazilian Alejo Muniz by a combined score of 8.17.

Adam Melling and Matt Banting suffered the same fate as Wilkinson in the early morning waves, completing just one ride each in their knockout losses.

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