Quiksilver Pro (May 26 – June 7) www.quiksilver.com & www.aspworldtour.comAssociation of Surfing Professionals (ASP)2002 World Championship Tour (WCT)
Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji (Wednesday, May 29) Six-time world championKelly Slater (USA) today upped the scoring ante in the Quiksilver Pro. TheUS$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) recommenced this morning atCloudbreak with round three, before four heats of the fourth round were thendecided.
Offshore winds and 8ft (2.5m) waves created epic conditions, though thehigher tide led to some inconsistent heats this morning. As the dayprogressed, however, and the tide dropped, hollow barrels once againcaptivated onlookers.
Slater, who earned a near-perfect best two-wave total of 19.25-points inround one, today pushed the boundaries even further. Against fellowFloridian Damien Hobgood in round three, the 30 year old posted his and the event’s second perfect 10 with uncanny tube riding skills, as well as a 9.5,for a combined tally of 19.5 out of a possible 20-points. This all happenedwithin the first 10-minutes, leaving two thirds of the heat remaining andHobgood requiring a combination of rides worth 13.51-points that was neverachieved.
“I don’t even know what to say,” began Slater. “It’s Cloudbreak. One of theperfect waves around the world and I was just in sync first heat and thenagain then. Luck came together for me. I got a 9.5 and didn’t want to getcaught up on the fact I already had a good score. I passed one wave up, butmy next one was the real good wave. I got both those waves in the first10-minutes, so I knew Damien could do the same thing. He’s one of the bestguys out here.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to come out of that thing,” he said of the10. “I thought it was going to keep going to Tavarua (laughs). I wasactually sitting out there a bit nervous after my first wave withanticipation for another set, and I started thinking about my dad whorecently passed away. I just got calm and then that wave came. It wascrazy.”
Defending Quiksilver Pro champion Luke Egan (Aus) held off Paulo Moura (Brz)to now be up against Slater in round four’s most anticipated clash. Findingone of the best rides of the morning, the Australian secured a 9.0 to endthe Brazilians’ campaign at ‘Cloudbreak’.
“I actually got barreled two times and almost a third,” said Egan of hisbest ride. “I’ll be up against Kelly next and he’s surfing incredibly. I’lljust stick to my own game plan and try to block him out and do my best.”
Current ratings #8 Shea Lopez (USA) later posted the day’s second best totalto eliminate an equally dynamic Joel Parkinson (Aus) in round four. TheFloridian opened with a near-perfect 9.75 and then consolidated with another9.0 to seemingly steal the match from his opponent. ‘Parko’, who lost onesurfboard early due to a broken leash and then snapped another board midwaythrough, came back with vengeance on borrowed equipment. First he posted a7.5, and immediately following this ride he stroked into a wide breaking setand scored his first perfect 10 in a WCT. Only needing another 8.76-pointsto advance, and with priority, he wrongly caught an average wave at the3-minute mark and was then held off anything else by Lopez.
“After I got my 9.0 I couldn’t believe I was that far ahead,” said Lopez.”But the waves are perfect, so you never know. He got a good wave, and thenthe third wave of the set broke wide and I realized he was in position forit. I could hear the announcer screaming something, so I was freaking,thinking he may have gotten a nine and then a 10 on two waves out of three.When I heard he only got a 7.5 I was stoked. I still can’t believe thewaves.”
“You should have given it to me at the beginning,” joked Parkinsonafterward, to ASP digital photographer Pierre Tostee, who lent his surfboardto the Australian after he had lost both of his in the lineup and waswithout another.
Current ratings #1 Andy Irons (Haw) was the major upset today, beingeliminated by Quiksilver Pro Trials wildcard Troy Brooks (Aus) in roundthree. The Hawaiian, carrying an elbow injury from his free-surf sessionyesterday afternoon, never found the form which took him to back-to-back WCTtitles earlier this year. Despite paddling into a few good waves, herepeatedly jumped off early and failed to secure the 5.86-points he needed.
“How would anyone would feel if they lost?” responded Irons afterward. “I’mnot stoked, but it’s over, so I’m going home to relax and get ready for thenext one at J-Bay (SAfr).
“It was definitely in my head as it’s pretty sore,” he continued, of hisright elbow. “I pulled back on a couple I probably should have stuck withand that’s that. I needed to do well here, I think, as the beach breakevents (in Europe later this year) are going to be tough. It’s still a longyear ahead, so we’ll see what happens.”
Brooks, 23, then faced former world #2 Taj Burrow (Aus) in the day’s finalheat. Despite the confidence gained by his early victory, he was unable torepeat the performance against a surfer he defeated in the 2000 event, whenhe had placed fifth as a wildcard.
Burrow, who had earlier eliminated fellow Australian Shane Powell, surfed asmart, tactical heat against the wildcard. He’ll now face Lopez in thesecond quarterfinal.
“It was a tricky heat and he beat me out here last time,” explained Burrow.”I was trying my hardest to beat him, and just had to play the game, sincethere weren’t a lot of good ones. I’m so stoked to make the quarters though.
“I really hope he’s peaked,” he added, of facing Lopez. “Those two nineswere ridiculous, and Parko’s 10… that was an amazing heat. Shea’s good outthere, obviously. I’m just slowly learning how to ride the waves ’cause it’sreally difficult. I’m hoping it’s pumping and I score some nines next heat.”
World #7 Peterson Rosa remains the only Brazilian in the tournament after heoutscored Hawaiian Kalani Robb in round four. Rosa led from the outset andthen cemented his position in the first quarterfinal with a fantastic9.0-barrel ride at the end. He’ll challenge reigning world champion CJHobgood (USA), who dominated his clash with world #5 Jake Paterson (Aus)this afternoon (Aus).
“In the end there was a good set and he paddled for the first one, and thelast one came to me and I had a nice barrel for a 9.0,” said Rosa. “He’s areally good surfer in these conditions and I knew it would be a tough heat.I respect him a lot, but I’m stoked. I’m waving the (Brazilian) flag, sonext heat – let’s do something (laughs).”
2000 world champion Sunny Garcia locked in a superb barrel ride for a 9.5and ultimately the win over fellow Hawaiian Shane Dorian. He’s pittedagainst current ratings #8 Danny Wills (Aus) in round four, after theAustralian eliminated fellow countryman Beau Emerton.
“I was watching some of the scores earlier and seeing someone like AndyIrons only getting a 9.0 total, was a bit of an eye opener ’cause usuallyhe’s getting 9.5’s on every wave. It’s just a matter of catching waves, andI got lucky. I needed a 7.36 and Shane went the first wave of the set, andthe second actually ended up being a bit better.
“There’s not too many Hawaiians on tour, so I don’t really like to surfagainst them unless it’s Andy in the finals, or later in the event,” headded. “It’s always nice to beat Shane ’cause he’s such a great competitor,but on the same hand he’s also one of my good friends.”
1999 world and inaugural Quiksilver Pro champion Mark Occhilupo advancedthrough another slow heat over fellow Australian seed replacement ToddPrestage. Despite allowing his opponent to catch the final wave that offeredthe score he required, Occhilupo’s lead remained unchanged. He will now faceworld #8 Michael Lowe (Aus), who ousted world #4 Taylor Knox (USA) inanother nail-biter. The Californian opened with an 8.9, but was unable tosecure a second score for the win, and even broke the nose off his surfboardat the end of their heat trying.
Official results of the Quiksilver Pro Round Four (losers finish =9th; receive US$5,000)
- H1: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 16.75 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 12.85
- H2: CJ Hobgood (USA) 17.9 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 12.85
- H3: Shea Lopez (USA) 18.75 def. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 17.5
- H4: Taj Burrow (Aus) 12.75 def. Troy Brooks (Aus) 11.4
Round Three (losers finish =17th; receive US$4,000)
- H7: Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.0 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 11.25
- H8: Troy Brooks (Aus) 10.85 def. Andy Irons (Haw) 9.0
- H9: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 11.0 def. Todd Prestage (Aus) 10.65
- H10: Michael Lowe (Aus) 11.0 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.9
- H11: Luke Egan (Aus) 17.5 def. Paulo Moura (Brz) 15.45
- H12: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.5 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.75
- H13: Cory Lopez (USA) 16.25 def. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 5.5
- H14: Dean Morrison (Aus) 14.75 def. Trent Munro (Aus) 11.85
- H15: Daniel Wills (Aus) 13.1 def. Beau Emerton (Aus) 11.65
- H16: Sunny Garcia (Haw) 15.75 def. Shane Dorian (Haw) 13.6
Remaining Round Four Heats
- H5: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) vs. Michael Lowe (Aus)
- H6: Luke Egan (Aus) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
- H7: Cory Lopez (USA) vs. Dean Morrison (Aus)
- H8: Danny Wills (Aus) vs. Sunny Garcia (Haw)
Further Information and Surfer Profiles:
www.aspworldtour.com & www.quiksilver.com