- Boost Mobile Pro presented by Billabong (Sept 5-14) www.boostmobile.com
- Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) www.aspworldtour.com
- 2002 World Championship Tour (WCT)
San Clemente, CA, USA (September 5) Hawaiian Shane Dorian today set the pace in the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Billabong at Lower Trestles. Round one of the US$286,275 World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced this morning in great surf, with the world’s top rated surfers putting on an amazing show.
Clean 3-5ft (1-1.5m) waves presented themselves all day thanks to Hurricane Hernan arriving on cue for the richest US surfing tournament in history. While the wind did increase, the ideal A-frame lineup continued to promote explosive state-of-the-art maneuvers.
Dorian, currently rated 25th, kept an in-form Taj Burrow (Aus) and Paulo Moura (Brz) at bay in what proved the day’s most dramatic heat. Despite a strong start by Burrow, the 30-year-old selected his right-handers patiently and then carved them all for solid scores. The pair went blow for blow throughout the 30-minute decider, but it was the Hawaiian who advanced directly into round three following his best two scores of 9.0 and 8.6 amassing the highest combined total of the day for 17.65 points.
“I knew it was going to be difficult as Taj is actually my favorite surfer,” admitted Dorian. “I was just looking forward to having a really good heat and putting up some big scores to make it difficult for him to beat me. The waves were so sick and it was just insane, as every turn you could blow your tail out and go backwards.
“It was almost like free surfing, especially when you see Taj take off and just go nuts,” he continued. “On a couple of waves Taj was paddling back out as I was bottom turning, and instead of just doing a snap, I wondered what Taj would do and tried to blow my fins out too. It’s great to win.”
Current ratings leader Andy Irons (Haw) also posted a convincing victory, defeating younger brother and Boost Mobile Pro wildcard Bruce Irons, together with Trent Munro (Aus). The 24-year-old waited patiently as his opponents picked off their initial waves, but then unleashed fast, precise maneuvers to secure the second highest tally of the round with a 9.0 and 8.5, leaving both opponents requiring a combination of scores.
“I just stayed patient, as with only two waves counting you’ve really got to get an eight or better to stay in contention,” explained Irons. “It was fun out there though. We were talking and doing our thing, no hassling and just surfing.
“We’ve surfed together our whole lives, so it’s no big deal, but it definitely motivates you,” he added, of competing against Bruce. “It’s just really nice to surf Trestles with only two other guys. The wave’s a skate park, so anything you want to do you can pretty much go for.”
Current world #8 Luke Egan (Aus) clinched the days’ opening heat with a nail biting last wave against six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Paul Canning (SAfr). The 32-year-old goofy foot worked over the Lowers’ right-handers, but with just over a minute remaining still required a 9.01 to overtake Slater’s lead. He then paddled into a great set wave and put it all together for the best single wave score of the day for 9.25 points and the win.
“I knew I was still in the ball game when that wave came, so I was stoked to get a 9.25 in the last minute,” said Egan. “There are so many good surfers and that 33rd (place) round is so deadly. It’s good to have a day off and concentrate on progressing through the rest of the event.”
Slater, 30, who began his professional career with a major victory at Lowers in 1990, controlled the 30-minute heat from the outset following two great rides. Egan’s final big floater and backhand carves ultimately delegated the Floridian into the losers’ second round, however, where he’ll now face Lee Winkler (Aus).
“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Slater afterward. “I didn’t really feel strong out there. I’ve been traveling a lot and felt a bit weak in my muscles. I’ll be better tomorrow, I’m sure, and get it going.
“It’s nice to be back in California and have a contest,” he added. “It’s been a long time and I really think American surfing, as far as the tour goes, has really suffered the past couple of years. It hasn’t been a great year for me competitively. Things just haven’t happened, so I’m trying to get back into the flow of the tour.”
Former world #2 and local Trestles wildcard Shane Beschen (USA) accounted for 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo and fellow Australian Dean Morrison. Beschen, who dropped out of the WCT ratings at the end of 2001, reminded peers his ability is still spot on, and also received the Oakley Over-The-Top bonus of US$2,000 for his carving 360 executed first ride.
“I guess Occy has a sore ankle, but it didn’t look like it,” laughed Beschen afterward. “It’s been awhile since I surfed a WCT heat, so I just wanted to put in a good performance and am stoked to get the wildcard from Boost.
“Oakley told me they might be offering extra cash for big moves,” he added of the added incentive. “I would have liked to have done a big air or something, but never found the section. I was just warming up on that first wave.”
Occhilupo, who injured his ankle surfing on Australia’s Gold Coast recently, was skeptical prior to paddling out of his ability to compete. Despite placing second, he still proved dangerous and will now meet Bruce Irons for a highly anticipated round two match up.
“I haven’t surfed for a couple of weeks due to my ankle,” said Occhilupo. “I was nursing it a little, but I was surprised I was able to surf it that well.
“Bruce is a really tough match, and we’re coming into a big leg through Europe,” he continued. “I’m not expecting a lot, but I’ll try my best (tomorrow). I’m just stoked to be back in the water since I couldn’t surf for a few weeks.”
Richie Lovett (Aus) surfed a fantastic heat to beat reigning world champ CJ Hobgood (USA) and Marcelo Nunes (Brz). Having won the recent 6-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) in Hossegor, France, Lovett carried the momentum and put his stylish act through its paces. Although Hobgood secured a 9.0 at the start of the heat, he ultimately required another ride worth 7.61 points.
“Absolute pleasure to be out there,” said Lovett. “The waves were so fun and rippable, and I’m feeling pretty good with my surfing at the moment. I went and did a couple of the events in Europe and did OK. I just wanted to keep my momentum going, instead of having a break, and I’ve done that.
“Feels really good,” he added of the beating Hobgood. “I think it’s one of the only times I’ve surfed against CJ and I know he’s capable of getting huge scores on just about any sort of wave. I was just lucky to get a few myself, and it was enough in the end.”
The United Kingdom’s sole representative on the WCT, Russell Winter, was another standout this afternoon defeating 2001 World Qualifying Series (WQS) champion Mick Fanning (Aus) and Greg Emslie (SAfr). The Australian, who won the last WCT in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, executed trademark forehand carves for an early lead, but it was Winter who came on strong toward the end posting 9.1 points for his committed attack.
“Obviously Mick rips, so after he got his first 8.0 I figured he’d do his usual thing and I’d need to pull something special out of the bag,” said Winter. “I managed to get that good one and it allowed me to do bigger turns.
“I’ve had a few 17th’s and I’m in that round again now,” he added, of already reaching the third. “I want to win, though, so this is the way to go.”
Local Trestles tour veteran Pat O’Connell (USA) emerged victorious against current #4 Joel Parkinson (Aus) and Victor Ribas (Brz). Near the conclusion he and Joel were in position for a set, but the Californian was able to swing into it and secure the heat’s highest single score of 8.9 points.
“It’s tough not to be happy when the waves are fun like that,” said an always-smiling O’Connell. “There weren’t a lot of waves, but when they came it was sort of a dream come true surfing at home like this.
“Every heat is really tough, but Joel is probably my favorite surfer on tour,” he added in praise of his opponent. “He’s a real gentleman out there as well. We were sharing waves and I think that’s what this tour is all about. There’s no reason to hassle. It’s a great show for everyone.”
Renan Rocha secured Brazil’s only win this afternoon, defeating Australians Kieren Perrow and Beau Emerton in the day’s final heat. He’ll now skip a round while his opponents’ battle it out in the dreaded losers’ second round.
The Boost Mobile Pro Presented by Billabong is the richest surfing competition ever held in the US. The cash prize purse for the men’s competition is US$250,000, of which US$30,000 goes to first place. Additionally, the winner will receive a JEEP WRANGLER SE worth US$16,275. The Oakley Over-The-Top bonuses will add US$10,000 and the Billabong/Boost Air Show will contribute another US$10,000 to the mix. All together, US$286,275 will be distributed.
Official results of the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Billabong round one
- H1: Luke Egan (Aus) 16.5; Kelly Slater (USA) 16.25; Paul Canning (SAfr) 12.85
- H2: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 14.85; Kalani Robb (Haw) 13.0; Lee Winkler (Aus) 7.0
- H3: Pat O’Connell (USA) 15.9; Joel Parkinson (Aus) 12.85; Victor Ribas (Brz) 12.35
- H4: Danny Wills (Aus) 15.05; Phil MacDonald (Aus) 14.6; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 8.0
- H5: Shea Lopez (USA) 15.75; Jake Paterson (Aus) 14.7; Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 11.75
- H6: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.9; Cory Lopez (USA) 15.25; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.75
- H7: Michael Lowe (Aus) 15.15; Shane Powell (Aus) 14.4; Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz) 11.9
- H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.5; Trent Munro (Aus) 14.7; Bruce Irons (Haw) 13.25
- H9: Shane Beschen (USA) 16.75; Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 15.5; Dean Morrison (Aus) 13.25
- H10: Richard Lovett (Aus) 16.6; CJ Hobgood (USA) 16.1; Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 10.95
- H11: Shane Dorian (Haw) 17.65; Taj Burrow (Aus) 16.7 Paulo Moura (Brz) 15.2
- H12: Nathan Webster (Aus) 15.25; Luke Hitchings (Aus) 13.8; Sunny Garcia (Haw) 13.15
- H13: Michael Campbell (Aus) 15.85; Peterson Rosa (Brz) 15.35; Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 14.8
- H14: Russell Winter (UK) 17.35; Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.0; Greg Emslie (SAfr) 13.6
- H15: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.4; Maz Quinn (NZ) 15.85; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 10.4
- H16: Renan Rocha (Brz) 15.2; Keiren Perrow (Aus) 14.8; Beau Emerton (Aus) 14.4
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