Wednesday, October 6, 2004 (Mundaka, Euskadi, Spain) Brazilian Armando Daltro today created a major upset in the Billabong Pro at Mundaka, eliminating 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo (AUS). Round one of the Foster's men's ASP World Championship Tournament (WCT) was completed, as well as all 16 second round elimination heats.
Solid 5-6 ft (1.5-2m) waves were breaking this morning. As Guernika River began to drain out around midday, long lefthanders graced the Basque region's mythical surf venue, though crumbling sections made conditions difficult to ride. Light rain continued to fall throughout the day, with onshore winds increasing this afternoon.
Daltro, who is currently rated 46th, won the low-scoring exchange with just an 11.17-total. Nonetheless, the natural footer was able to hold 'Occy' off any substantial rides toward the end of their clash, with the Australian only requiring a wave worth 5.68-points. Having won the 1999 event at as part of his successful world title campaign, the current ratings #8 is always considered a favorite at the epic lefthander. Currently rated #8, the loss signifies the 38-year-old's second consecutive 33rd place finish.
"I'm so happy," began Daltro. "It wasn't a great heat and I didn't have a lot of opportunities to show good surfing, but it's a great win. I used my priority at the end to hold him off any high scoring waves, and this worked well. I'm sure my next heat will be really hard too, but I'll try my best to beat the top seeded guys. I've got nothing to lose and just want to surf well. I haven't competed many times at Mundaka, so I'm still learning how to ride it best."
World #4 Joel Parkinson survived the closest of battles against Billabong wildcard Pete Mendia (FL, USA). Neither found any great waves or big scores, but 'Parko' managed to maintain a slender lead over his goofy foot opponent.
"I won on two four-point rides," said a disbelieving Parkinson. "A win's a win, but I was struggling. The waves looked good, but were really bumpy and fast, making it hard to find a place to do a turn. I'm glad I won, but it was tight. I was really nervous going up against him cause he's a wildcard with nothing to lose. This wave really suits his surfing too, since it's fast and powerful, but thankfully I got it."
Fellow Australian top seeds Taj Burrow (West AUS) and Luke Egan (Gold Coast) also progressed, eliminating wildcard opponents Hodei Collazo (ESP) and Shaun Cansdell (AUS), respectively. Egan, in particular, put on a fantastic display with two eight plus scores in his tally, though never underestimated Cansdell's ability in the lineup.
"Shaun's been surfing unbelievably," offered Egan, of his rival. "I knew I'd have to perform, as he's been competing so well on the Junior series and World Qualifying Series (WQS). The conditions were pretty tricky, but I managed to read them well."
Current ratings #7 Damien Hobgood (FL, USA) accounted for local Basque replacement surfer Eneko Acero in round two. The Floridian began with a strong 7.33 ride, but despite a low backup score, amassed enough points compared to his opponents' tally. Acero was only granted a spot in the Billabong Pro this morning – following the late withdraw of Chris Davidson (AUS) due to personal matters – but was unable to survive either of the rounds he contested.
"I was trying to get amped up for the heat, but my mind's kind of been all over the place," admitted Hobgood. "I caught one decent wave at the beginning, and ended up making it with just another three. Eneko's a great surfer, but it was a slow heat. I'm getting married right after this event, and the European leg is a tough part of the tour, so my mind's been elsewhere. I'm just stoked to be able to surf here."
Californians Taylor Knox and Shane Beschen secured big wins today, eliminating Luke Hitchings (AUS) and 2000 world champ Sunny Garcia (HAW), respectively. Knox produced a stellar performance with the highest combined total of the tournament so far on 18.03-points. The current ratings #17 executed a series of long floaters and a big closeout re-entry for his best 9.53 score.
"I had a lot of fun then," said Knox. "I thought my best wave might have been a closeout, but at Mundaka you never know and just have to take a chance. My board feels really fast and made the floaters, and then I got a good section at the end to kind of go upside down on. Mundaka is such an amazing place. The church overlooking the beach, the wave itself… just a really cool village."
WCT replacement Troy Brooks (AUS) eliminated Bruce Irons (Kauai, HAW) from the Billabong Pro. The Kauaian, who only days ago secured his best result of the season with a runner-up placing in France, failed to lock in any high scores and suffered his fifth 33rd placing of the year.
"Bruce surfed really well last contest and it's always scary going out against a finalist from the week before," acknowledged Brooks. "I just played my own game plan and the waves got a bit funky as well, but luckily I got some at the end of the heat."
Raoni Monteiro (BRA) continued his great run of late, eliminating world #7 Kieren Perrow (AUS). The Brazilian reached the quarterfinals last week in France for his best result to date, and with a good surfboard and happy home life, the 22-year-old reasoned all the usual distractions are absent, allowing him to simply focus on his surfing.
"This is a real good moment in my life," said Monteiro. "I got ninth in California, fifth in France, and I'm still going here, past Kieren Perrow. It was a hard heat, but my first wave was good. I've got a good sponsor, a daughter, I got married, am on the WCT… feel relaxed and just want to put on a good show for everyone. I'm trying my best in every contest, really focused and surfing powerfully. My surfboard is great, so everything is perfect in my life now."
Guilherme Herdy (BRA) was actually winning his heat against Nathan Webster (AUS) this afternoon, but stood up after the heat was over on a wave his opponent was still being scored for, and there incurred a penalty. Despite holding priority seconds earlier, as soon as the siren sounded, the Brazilian was no longer entitled to interfere. Subsequently, his final 7.17 ride was dropped from his two-wave tally, handing the match to Webster.
Australia's Trent Munro (Scott's Head) posted the day's best single score for a near-perfect 9.6 ride to advance directly from round one to three.
A minute's silence was witnessed today between the first and second rounds, in honor of Australian photographer Kevin 'Twiggy' Sharland who passed away two days ago in France. A friend to all on tour, the father of two will be missed dearly.
Remaining Billabong Pro Mundaka Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd&3rd>Rnd2)
- H11: Michael Lowe (AUS) 9.23; Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.1; Nathan Webster (AUS) 8.73
- H12: Trent Munro (AUS) 16.93; Bruce Irons (HAW) 9.87; Daniel Wills (AUS) 6.84
- H13: Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.74; Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 9.56; Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 9.2
- H14: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.67; Michael Campbell (AUS) 9.87; Sunny Garcia (HAW) 3.3
- H15: Neco Padaratz (BRA) 12.8; Taylor Knox (USA) 12.16; Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.7
- H16: Lee Winkler (AUS) 13.17; Troy Brooks (AUS) 9.47; Eneko Acero (ESP) 6.9
- H5: Richard Lovett (AUS) 11.17; Beau Emerton (AUS) 10.0; Taj Burrow (AUS) 8.93
Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
- H1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.83 def. Peter Mendia (USA) 8.34
- H2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.23 def. Hodei Collazo (ESP) 5.83
- H3: Luke Egan (AUS) 16.67 def. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 10.67
- H4: Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.66 def. Eneko Acero (ESP) 9.5
- H5: Jake Paterson (AUS) 10.77 def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 8.8
- H6: Armando Daltro (BRA) 11.17 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 10.17
- H7: Daniel Wills (AUS) 13.27 def. Beau Emerton (AUS) 9.73
- H8: Shane Beschen (USA) 13.5 def. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 6.33
- H9: Taylor Knox (USA) 18.03 def. Luke Hitchings (AUS) 13.17
- H10: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 13. 27 def. Toby Martin (AUS) 9.83
- H11: Paulo Moura (BRA) 14.67 def. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 10.7
- H12: Nathan Webster (AUS) 13.5 def. Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 7.67
- H13: Pat O'Connell (USA) 14.17 def. Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 14.17 (wins on best wave – 8.5)
- H14: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 14.67 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.5
- H15: Troy Brooks (AUS) 12.77 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 8.0
- H16: Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 10.73 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 10.0
The Billabong Pro Mundaka is supported by prestigious co-sponsors such as Vans, Von Zipper, Hertz, Yamaha and Cobra Jet ski, as well as local companies and administrations such as Mundaka, the Mundaka Surf Club, The Basque Surfing Federation, Bakio and the Bakio Surf Club, BBK, Telefonica and the Basque Government.