September 8, 2003 (Lower Trestles, CA, USA) Richie Lovett today defeated fellow Australian Taj Burrow to win the Boost Mobile Pro of Surf presented by Quiksilver. The US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced with remaining round four heats this morning, followed by quarterfinals, semis, and then climaxed with the grand finale showdown.
Smaller 3ft (1m) conditions were on offer at the famed Californian break, with slight onshore winds, as mainland America’s most important surfing event unfolded.
Current Ratings After Boost Mobile Pro presented by Quiksilver, WCT #7/12
- 1. Andy Irons (Haw) 5,760-points
- 2. Kelly Slater (USA) 5,352
- 3. Taj Burrow (Aus) 5,112
- 4. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 5,088
- 5. Mick Fanning (Aus) 5,052
- 6. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 4,704
- 7. Dean Morrison (Aus) 4,452
- 8. CJ Hobgood (USA) 4,428
- 9. Cory Lopez (USA) 4,224
- 10. Taylor Knox (USA) 4,200
Lovett, who hadn’t progressed past round three all year and was sitting in 30th position on the ratings, began the final with a commanding backhand attack to lock in an 8.0. The 30-year-old then created a lead he maintained, before sealing his maiden WCT victory on the final’s best single ride for an 8.07. He earned US$30,000 and moved into 17th position with the emotion win.
“It’s a dream come true,” began Lovett, after being carried from the water’s edge to the winner’s podium by cheering Aussie compatriots. “I love Trestles and it’s one of my favorite waves. All the boys are here… To be in a final with Taj was also a dream come true, as he’s one of my favorite surfers. I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s the first time I’ve made a (WCT) final, and I’ve been trying for eight years now. My family never gave up on me; my friends never gave up on me… This is just a dream day for me.
“It’s been a source of frustration for me the past six or seven years,” he continued, of his previous efforts. “I just hadn’t been able to crack it, so to have everything fall into place today and to get the win… I can’t even put it into words. I’m so happy and this is best moments of my life for sure. I hope I can keep it going.”
West Australian Burrow played catch-up throughout the 35-minute decider with his always-impressive act, but failed to post the scores needed. He came close with a 7.53 ride in the latter parts of the final, but still required another worth 8.54 at completion. His second runner-up finish of the year, the 25-year-old is not rated 3rd.
“It was definitely an amazing contest and I’m so stoked to make the final and get a result,” said Burrow. “If anyone was going to beat me I’m pretty stoked it was Richie. He nailed it and deserved to win. He got a really good score right off the bat and put me under pressure. I struggled on a couple of good ones, and he smashed it. Congrats to him.”
Equal third were Victor Ribas (Rio, Brz) and Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA, USA) – both collecting US$10,000. For Brazilian Ribas, the result marks his best this season and moved him into 23rd position on the ratings, after losing a close match with Burrow.
“Before the heat I was stoked with how far I’d gone, but I’m very disappointed not to make the final,” said a frustrated Ribas. “I feel bad as I thought I’d done enough to make it.”
Knox kept the Californian flag flying furthest, but ultimately had to settle for his second consecutive semifinal finish when Lovett capitalized on a wave selection error by his opponent and secured his best ride toward the end of the match. Knox moved from 16th into 10th position on the ratings.
“I wish we would have a couple more waves to surf on,” began Knox. “I made a mistake at the end by taking a wave with priority, thinking it would be good, but it wasn’t and the one right behind it was better and turned out to be Rich’s best score. Oh well, I’m trying to be a better competitor (laughs).”
Finishing equal fifth in the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Quiksilver were world #5 Mick Fanning (Gold Coast, Aus), wildcard Bruce Irons (Kauai, Haw), world #2 Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) and six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA).
Fanning’s third round performance remained the benchmark of this year’s tournament, with a combined two wave total of 19.13-points, while Irons giant-killing crusade came to a halt against Ribas. Nonetheless, the World Qualifying Series (WQS) campaigner gained valuable experience as he strives to make the WCT ranks for 2004.