San Clemente, CA, USA (September 6) Current world #4 Joel Parkinson (Aus) today raised the bar in the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Billabong with an exceptional performance. The US$286,275 World Championship Tournament (WCT), the richest ever in professional surfing history, ran through the completion of round two.
Clean 3-4ft (1-1.3m) waves were again on offer at Lower Trestles. Rain clouds drifted over the contest venue at times, sending spectators searching for cover, though surf conditions remained virtually unaffected.
Parkinson, who won the year’s opening WCT event in Australia, was pitted against Neco Padaratz (Brz) this morning. The 21-year-old collected the highest score of the day for an 8.75, and then secured the best of the tournament for a near-perfect 9.5. Combined, his total of 18.25 points surpassed any other so far, and he also secured the Oakley Over-The-Top Bonus for a fraction of his exceptional ride.
“I was really relaxed before the heat and just felt like it was going to be one of those heats,” said Parkinson. “Everything went my way. Neco’s first wave was a seven, and usually I’d freak out on that and get a bit panicky, but I stayed calm, so hopefully I can keep the same head throughout the contest.”
2000 world champion Sunny Garcia (Haw) survived a dramatic climax to his heat with former world #3 Victor Ribas (Brz). Despite falling numerous times and hearing his opponent post good scores, the Hawaiian punished his last wave needing an 8.66 to win. Tense moments passed as the judges deliberated, and when they announced a heat tying score of 8.65 points, a visibly frustrated Garcia was ready to snap. Fortunately for him and those around, a best single wave count back saw him advance.
“I didn’t catch many waves in my heat yesterday, so I wanted as many as I could under my belt,” explained Garcia, after composing himself once victory was his. “I just kept falling though, even on the good wave I had in the middle. I sat there with a couple of minutes to go and prayed God would send me a wave. Everything seemed to come together, but I wasn’t sure if I got the score I needed. It came down to a tiebreak and I was fortunate enough to get the nod. If I had lost I would have been in tears, as I can’t afford to be losing any heats. I’ve had three bad events already this year, and I want to still be in world title contention going into Hawaii, especially with Pipe and Sunset counting this year.”
2001 World Qualifying Series (WQS) winner Mick Fanning, who won the last WCT in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, a month ago, then disposed of Paulo Moura (Brz) with a commanding attack. The 21-year-old Australian posted an 8.5 and then 9.0 for the second highest total of the day with 17.5 points.
“I started off OK and then just tried to better those scores,” explained Fanning. “I was just having fun at the end. It’s not every day you get to surf Trestles with no-one out.”
Current world #41 Phil MacDonald created an upset by eliminating fellow Australian Taj Burrow in a highly entertaining bout. MacDonald, who achieved his best WCT result in the last tournament and made a WQS final recently in Europe, used the momentum effectively. After opening his account strongly, he then demolished his final wave for 9.35 points and a berth in round three.
“I saw my name in the draw against him, and especially out here I knew it would be hard,” said MacDonald. “I just went out there with nothing to lose and just threw everything I had at it. When they announced 9.35 for my last wave I was just rapt.”
Burrow, a crowd favorite with his futuristic array of maneuvers, also surfed brilliantly during the 30-minute match. The West Australian earned a 9.1 for one ride, but required an 8.01 following his opponents’ last effort. After paddling into another and executing a series of precise carves toward the end, more anxiety filled the air as he and his supporters waited for the score. A 7.9 wasn’t enough, however, and he was dealt the dreaded 33rd place finish.
“Phil just ended up getting really good waves and surfed them really well too,” acknowledged Burrow. “He kept pushing it a bit harder when he realized he needed a bigger score. He nailed that 9.35, but I just can’t believe I needed an 8.01 and got a 7.9. It’s just the way it goes and I did fall at the end, but I didn’t think it mattered so much. Anyway, next event for me.”
1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) put aside an ankle injury to stop the expected charge of Boost Mobile Pro wildcard Bruce Irons (Haw). The Australian credited his selective approach for both seven’s he posted, while Irons required another 7.71 to advance.
“It is a little sore, but I can get away with it on my backhand,” said Occhilupo of his ankle. “Sometimes being injured makes you more selective and it works out. Bruce is obviously one of the best out here, so I’m feeling more confident. I’m pleased to have a couple days off to rest it.”
Guilherme Herdy (Brz) posted a crucial victory for himself over current world #10 Kalani Robb (Haw). The Brazilian suffered a knee injury last year and then perforated an eardrum in Tahiti this season and was forced to miss a tournament. Against the Hawaiian this morning however, Herdy led from his first 8.5 ride and then supported this with another 8.25 to win.
“I’m very stoked to beat him,” said Herdy. “I knew I needed to wait for the best waves and surf them really hard. Since last year I had a knee problem, and then in Tahiti I perforated me eardrum. I’m happy to be strong and healthy again. I hope to get a good result here.”
Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) then pulled a clincher from his bag of tricks against an in-form Lee Winkler (Aus) in the day’s final heat. Despite falling a couple of times and trailing for the latter part, he managed to sneak under the priority his opponent held during the dying minutes and lock in a much needed 8.0 ride. Though unhappy with some of the judges’ scores, Slater reasoned the win installed much needed confidence in what has been an otherwise disappointing return to WCT competition in 2002.
“First off I think the judging’s been really strange,” began Slater, after signing autographs for his legions of fans. “I didn’t think I surfed that one way much better than my first, but I got 1.85 points higher. ‘Wink’ got some good ones and did a bunch of big hits, so it was up to me to try and find one. He had priority, so I had to sneak one when he passed it up and surf it really hard. I was just trying to remember the old times, as I used to do that a lot (laughs).
“That was a real indicator for me,” he continued of the positive outcome. “If I lost that heat it was going to be a real bummer of a contest. Surfed the first heat in the first round and lost, then the last heat in the second (more laughs). It would have shot me down a bit, but I’m stoked. It gave me a lot of confidence. I was actually thinking this morning how at the last second I could get a wave and make it out of this round and then win a contest. I was trying to create a positive picture, so if I got behind in the heat I wouldn’t stress and then one wave could change the whole event for me.”
The Boost Mobile Pro Presented by Billabong is the richest surfing competition ever. 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 bonus 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.
Round three heats will not take place tomorrow, Saturday September 6th, but rather recommence on Sunday the 7th at Lower Trestles, when a fresh swell is expected to greet those remaining contestants.
Official results of the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Billabong Round Two
- H1: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.1 def. Bruce Irons (Haw) 12.4
- H2: CJ Hobgood (USA) 15.5 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 14.1
- H3: Cory Lopez (USA) 15.25 def. Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz) 14.4
- H4: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 18.25 def. Neco Padaratz (Brz) 15.15
- H5: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 16.75 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 13.6
- H6: Phillip MacDonald (Aus) 17.1 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 17.0
- H7: Sunny Garcia (Haw) 15.15 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 15.15 (8.65 beat 7.65)
- H8: Paul Canning (SAfr) 14.85 def. Peterson Rosa (Brz) 14.4
- H9: Mick Fanning (Aus) 17.5 def. Paulo Moura (Brz) 11.6
- H10: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 17.3 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 14.45
- H11: Trent Munro (Aus) 13.5 def. Maz Quinn (NZ) 13.5 (8.0 beat 7.0)
- H12: Beau Emerton (Aus) 15.5 def. Dean Morrison (Aus) 15.25
- H13: Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 16.25 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 14.25
- H14: Jake Paterson (Aus) 15.55 def. Greg Emslie (SAfr) 15.4
- H15: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 16.6 def. Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 15.1
- H16: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.85 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 16.25
For more information on the Boost Mobile Pro, see www.BoostMobile.com
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