You can never be guilty of hero worship if you want to win on the ASP World Championship Tour. Apparently, Bobby Martinez already knows that rule.

In the Santa Barbara rookie's first official WCT man-on-man heat, he went huge, posting the highest wave score of the day (9.8) and eliminating a childhood hero, Mark Occhilupo. "Mark is my favourite surfer in the world and he always will be," the 24-year-old Martinez told the ASP after his heat in head-high surf at Rainbow Bay (just down from Snapper Rocks on Australia's Gold Coast).

But that doesn't mean he'll lay over for him, as Martinez continues to build momentum after a career-best season on the WQS last year. "When I qualified for the tour last year, my family wanted to have a big barbecue for me," he told SURFING. "But I told them to hold off. Hopefully there'll be much bigger things to celebrate down the road."

And it looks like he's getting there, one hero at a time.

[For more on Bobby Martinez, check SURFING's Seven Days Profile in our May 2005 issue, due out in mid March.]

HEAT 1: Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 15.70 def Jeremy Flores (REU) 11.67
HEAT 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.00 def Ben Dunn (AUS) 11.97
HEAT 3: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 14.50 def Jay Thompson (AUS) 13.94
HEAT 4: Bruce Irons (HAW) 17.00 def Luke Munro (AUS) 12.50
HEAT 5: Jake Paterson (AUS) 16.33 def Jarrad Howse (AUS) 13.16
HEAT 6: Mikael Picon (FRA) 14.84 def Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.50
HEAT 7: David Weare (ZAF) 14.33 def Victor Ribas (BRA) 11.{{{57}}}
HEAT 8: Dean Morrison (AUS) 15.{{{90}}} def Yuri Sodre (BRA) 12.33
HEAT 9: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.50 def Pedro Henrique (BRA) 14.36
HEAT 10: Paulo Moura (BRA) 12.23 def Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 12.13
HEAT 11: Bobby Martinez (USA) 18.10 def Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 13.20
HEAT 12: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.50 def Luke Stedman (AUS) 13.40
HEAT 13: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.63 def Mick Lowe (AUS) 10.00
HEAT 14: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 13.33 def Chris Ward (USA) 11.47
HEAT 15: Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 14.83 def Tim Reyes (USA) 12.34
HEAT 16: Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 14.67 def Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.84