Monday, September 20, 2004 (Lower Trestles, CA, USA) Australian Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast) today won the Boost Mobile Pro of Surf Presented by Quiksilver. The Foster's men's ASP World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced with quarterfinals, continuing through until the US$260,000 event climaxed before tens of thousands of online viewers at www.boostmobilepro.com.
Solid 6-8 ft (2-2.5m) surf was on offer. Slight southwest winds created difficult conditions as the day progressed, yet brilliant surfing continued.
Against six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA), 'Parko' created an early lead in the 35-minute final with a fluidly surfed 8-point righthander. Both contestants made a number of mistakes and fell on what could have been crucial waves, but the current ratings #4 picked off another good right and executed a critical tail sliding maneuver, as well as big aerial, to support his position with an added 7.17 score.
Having won the season's second event at Bells Beach, Australia, before missing two tournaments due to the birth of his daughter Evie, the 23-year-old made up lost ground back by placing runner-up last WCT in Japan. Today's result solidified his position near the top, and signifies the fourth consecutive time he has beaten Slater in as many attempts.
"I don't know what to say," began Parkinson, after being carried from the water's edge by fellow Aussie contestants Nathan Hedge and Troy Brooks. "I was waiting for Slater to deliver his fatal blow. I had an eight, as well as a seven, but those are fairly weak scores these days, especially in a final with him. I kept trying to better my position, but couldn't, and then that wave came for Kelly at the end and I figured, 'well, two finals in two contests is alright.' When I saw the boys on the beach and heard the score…(huge smile says it all).
"I just thought Andy was so far ahead it was a race for second and third," he continued, of this year's world title. "But with him going out early here, and with the way Kelly and CJ are surfing, especially, it's going to be interesting now towards the end of the season. There's still a long way to go.
"The first two contests she's been at I've made finals," he added, of daughter Evie. "Actually, she was in Monica's tummy during Bells, so she's been a good luck charm and I can't wait to keep traveling with her (laughs)."
For Slater, his first WCT final of 2004 remained well within grasp until the last wave was surfed. The 32-year-old posted the best single score of the decider for a brilliantly ridden 8.4 ride, but then caught a series of lefthanders that ultimately provided no favors. The Floridian only required a 6.77 score for more than 20-minutes, yet the final righthander he rode only amounted to 5.23-points.
"I was watching beforehand and all the big sets seemed to be lefts," explained Slater, of his tactics during the final. "So my game plan was to find one of them which walled up, but I never did. I guess it worked against me in the end, but I made a couple of other mistakes too. I only needed a 6.77, so it wasn't a big score. The opportunity was there for me but I just blew it.
"Definitely," he stated, of being pleased with the overall result and ratings. "I caught up on CJ, 'Parko' caught up on me, we all caught up on Andy. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next event (France, September 24-October 3). I think it'll be a real tight race through Brazil and Hawaii."
Equal third in the Boost Mobile Pro were Cory Lopez (FL, USA) and Luke Egan (AUS). Both received US$10,000 and their best results this year.
For Lopez, the result pushed him from 32nd into 21st position on the current ratings. Against Slater he opened with a strong wave, but actually creased his surfboard and was later forced to replace it. He also punted a huge frontside aerial, but failed to ride it out and was ultimately a combination of rides worth 17.78-points behind.
"It was a good event for me," acknowledged Lopez. "I really needed a result badly, and pretty stoked to have gotten a third. Obviously it would have been nice to make the final, but Kelly got off to a good start with a 9.27 and I buckled my board first wave. It didn't really affect the heat outcome, as I didn't catch the right waves and he did. I'm psyched for Europe now, and maybe I'll get a couple of results there to solidify the year so I'm not stressing out in Hawaii."
Egan – the 2002 event winner – trailed throughout against fellow Gold Coaster Parkinson, but still belted a couple of huge backhand turns to stay within range. The 35-year-old required another 8.99 ride, and now holds down 8th spot on the ratings.
"I couldn't find any waves I wanted," explained Egan. "Joel and Kelly have been the form surfers all week, so they both deserve to be in the final. This is the best result I've had all year, so I'm happy. I've had a couple of fifths before this, so it's good to go one better."
Finishing equal fifth today were Australians Danny Wills (Byron Bay), Darren O'Rafferty (Port Macquarie) and Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen), together with 2001 world champ CJ Hobgood (FL, USA).
Hobgood, winner of previous WCT event in Japan, as well as Tahiti earlier this season, still holds down runner-up position on the current ratings heading into the crucial European leg. The 25-year-old was unable to lock in any big scores against Egan, requiring a combination worth 15-18-points to match his opponent.
Boost Mobile Pro of Surf Presented by Quiksilver
- 1st Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.17 – US$30,000
- 2nd Kelly Slater (USA) 13.63 – US$16,000
Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd receives US$10,000)
- SF1: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.77 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 14.24
- SF2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.16 def. Luke Egan (AUS) 13.84
Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$8,000)
- QF1: Cory Lopez (USA) 13.53 def. Danny Wills (AUS) 10.17
- QF2: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.34 def. Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 10.4
- QF3: Luke Egan (AUS) 15.17 def. CJ Hobgood (USA) 8.67
- QF4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.6 def. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 8.1
Official ASP Ratings after WCT#7/11
- 1. Andy Irons (HAW) 6,036-points
- 2. CJ Hobgood (USA) 5,376
- 3. Kelly Slater (USA) 5,316
- 4. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5,208
- 5. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 4,644
- 6. Damien Hobgood (USA) 4,392
- 7. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 4,356
- 8. Luke Egan (AUS) 4,308
- 9. Jake Paterson (AUS) 4,296
- 10. Danny Wills (AUS) 4,104