Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour
title contender Taj Burrow (AUS) was soundly eliminated by rookie Pedro Henrique
in round three of the Quiksilver Pro France presented by Evian held today at Les
Culs Nus in France.
The pint-sized Brazilian Henrique, excelled in the wind-affected one metre
(three foot) waves to easily account for the currently ranked world number two
Burrow, outpointing him with precise tactics and wave riding ability notching up
a total of 15.37 out of 20 to Burrow’s 12.83.
“I was watching the lefts all day and the conditions kept changing,” said
Henrique in broken English. “It’s a little better now than in the middle of the
day. It was possible to get some of the lefts so it was really good.”
For the former ASP World Junior Champion, Henrique it is the biggest “kill” of
his career and one that will give him enormous confidence going into the
business end of the event and into the last few remaining events on the tour.
The win also highlighted his panache in the aerial manoeuvre department.
“I’m feeling so happy,” said Henrique. “I just went out there and tried to do
airs and to just do my best surfing. The conditions are good for doing airs. I’m
so happy. I rode out the big airs and did well in the heat. It’s my best result
so far, but I hope to do better than this and I thank God for this result.”
Henrique will now be pitted against 2005 ASP Rookie Of The Year Fred Patacchia
(HAW) in round four.
For Burrow the result was a devastating blow with the highly popular surfer’s
title hopes now becoming much more distant.
While he is still in the running for the crown he will have to place very highly
in the next three events to stay in the running.
The task was made even harder by the fact that both Kelly Slater (USA) and Andy
Irons (HAW) showed solid form to oust their rivals to book a place in round
While Slater has the ratings lead, a win by Irons will close the gap and place
him in a position similar to 2005 where he is well within striking distance on
the seven-time world champ.
Irons was devastating in his disposal of another tour rookie, Adrian Buchan
(AUS) and showed just why he has won this event three times.
He opened his account with a solid 8.17 and never looked back.
“The conditions are so bad out there I knew if I went out there and got a good
score off the bat it would take a lot of the stress and pressure off,” said
Irons. “That first wave opened up and I got three turns in and a nice landing so
I knew it would be a good score. Then I just had to capitalise on that and I
knew I’d be in the clear.”
Speaking on the conditions that were particularly tough, Irons was happy to grab
the waves that he did.
“The current is really powerful,” said Irons. “But we’ve surfed contests like
this a lot. It’s really tough, the tides really low and there’s a lot of rip and
wakes in it. It’s really easy to fall off your board. I just tried to play it
safe and get a couple of scores up. It’s a good result for me.”