Rip Curl Cup Trials winner Myles Padaca (Haw) completed the dream by defeating Mick Lowe (Aus) in the final of the Rip Curl Cup. The local Sunset Beach surfer collected US$30,000 for his efforts in the final World Championship Tour (WCT) event of the 2001 season, and now leads the prestigious Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing series ratings.
Epic 8-10 ft (3m) waves persisted throughout the day, with clean, hollow conditions on offer at the inside bowl section. Padaca, 30, who eliminated CJ Hobgood (USA) yesterday, prior to the Floridian claiming the 2001 world championship crown, continued his roll today. First he disposed of the tour newcomer, Trent Munro (Aus), and then accounted for Renan Rocha (Brz) during the quarterfinals. Against fellow Hawaiian Kalani Robb he fought back to ultimately reach the final, and once there, picked off his waves wisely. His last, in particular, sealed victory with a classic double barrel ride.
“This is the greatest moment of my professional surfing career,” began Padaca, surrounded by media on the water’s edge. “It feels like a dream. Am I here? Pinch me (laughs). [IMAGE 2]”I just stuck to my same game plan as its been working,” he continued. “I can’t even put it into words right now. So thrilled to come out on top, especially with all these great surfers. I can’t believe it. ‘Lowey’ is a great surfer. They (the judges) were scoring backsiders high throughout the whole event, and you can’t underestimate anyone out at Sunset. It’s so big and there’s a lot of playing ground.
“It’s all icing on the cake,” he said of the money and Triple Crown lead. “I’ve been saying this all day, but I can’t get over surfing Sunset with one other guy out. I love this wave… I live for this wave.”
Lowe, 24, who posted the best single score of 9.85 and highest combined tally for the entire event with 24.85 during his quarterfinal against Shane Beschen (USA), put on a brilliant backhand performance today. After eliminating Peterson Rosa (Brz) in the semifinals, he reached his second consecutive Hawaiian WCT final, and was determined to go one better than a runner-up finish at Pipeline in 2000. Despite opening with the best score of the final, a 7.75, he was unable to match his opponents overall total, requiring another ride worth 5.16 as time elapsed. [IMAGE 2]”I think Myles paid Huey (the mythical surf God) some money to send the sets on my head,” he joked, in reference to being caught inside by many waves during the final. I just wore too many on the head. I couldn’t get them. It happens at Sunset. [IMAGE 3]”I caught a bad wave before his (double barrel) wave, so while I was getting pounded I saw him get that one,” he continued. “I kind of knew I was behind the eight ball, but I only needed one good wave out there to bring myself back, so I just tried to wait, but it didn’t come. I’m just happy to make the final again, but if I get second a third time I might be pretty upset, that’s for sure (laughs).
“To go from 29th and finish the year eighth is great. I’m just stoked. Myles is a great guy and he’s done well. I hope he does well in the Triple Crown. He’s been surfing good all day, but I’m just pretty happy with myself right now.”
Finishing equal third today in the Rip Curl Cup were Robb and Rosa. Both surfers making huge jumps on the final ratings with their results at Sunset Beach.
Robb, 24, moved all the way from 18th into equal fifth position, for his best finish to date after nine years on tour. He beat yesterday’s giant killer Ben Bourgeois (USA) this morning in their quarterfinal, and surfing with his trademark speed and precision, looked to have the advantage on Padaca the following round. The lead swung against him during the final 8-minutes, however, and he was left needing the ‘devil’s score’ of 6.66.
“I had a really good contest and I wanted to win,” said Robb. “That’s all I had on my mind, so it’s kind of a let down for me, but I feel good after moving up the ratingss so much. That’s what I wanted to do, move into the single digits where I know I belong.
“Myles surfs out here a lot,” he continued. “He’s probably out here a lot more than I am cause I’m always traveling around the world. Today he had the upper hand, but I had some really good heats. You win some you lose some, but I’m really ready for next year. It’s going to be a good one.”
Rosa, 27, who also secured his best tour finish in seventh position, was equally pleased by the outcome. The Brazilian almost made what would have been the longest tube ride of the contest against Lowe in their semifinal, but upon falling at the final stage, knew his run had ended too.
2001 World Qualifying Series (WQS) champion elect and wildcard entrant Mick Fanning (Aus), who had been in fantastic form throughout the tournament and against Damien Hobgood (USA) this morning, was eventually stopped by Rosa for an equal fifth placing.
“Oh well, it could be worse,” reasoned Fanning. “I could have not made it through any heats at all. I was just stoked to surf Sunset with only one other person in the lineup. You don’t get that everyday.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a good year,” he continued, in regard to his upcoming rookie season on the 2002 WCT. “It’s good there’s going to be a lot of events. Stoked for CJ, he deserves the world title.”
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series now moves along the North Shore to Pipeline for the third and final event: the Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters. The waiting period for the Xbox Pipeline Masters is from tomorrow, Saturday, December 8, to December 17.
The Vans Triple Crown (TM) Series features the world’s top athletes competing in three championship events in each of the following sports: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, BMX, Freestyle Motocross and Supercross. The Series is made possible through proud sponsors Xbox, Mountain Dew, Ford Ranger, Right Guard Xtreme Sport, G-Shock, Transworld Media, Fox Sports Net and NBC Sports. The Vans Triple Crown (TM) of Surfing is made possible by the additional support of Rip Curl, Quiksilver Roxy, Billabong, Surfrider Foundation, the Association of Surfing Professionals and the Hawaiian Visitors Bureau.
Vans (Nasdaq: VANS) is a leading worldwide brand for Core Sports(TM) specializing in performance and lifestyle footwear, apparel, snowboard boots and bindings. Its contributions to Core Sports include the Vans Triple Crown(TM) Series, the operation of nine large-scale Vans Skateparks, the High Cascade Snowboard Camp(TM), ownership of the Vans Warped Tour(R) and continued sponsorship of the Vans World Amateur Skateboarding Championships(TM). Vans collections are sold in the United States through 148 company owned stores and factory outlets as well as a network of independent retailers. Vans also distributes to more than 50 countries internationally through distributors, sales agents and its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
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OFFICIAL RESULTSTHE RIP CURL CUP MAIN EVENT
Myles Padaca (Hawaii) 18.0
Michael Lowe (Australia) 15.5
H1M. Padaca (Haw) 18.4
Kalani Robb (Haw) 17.0
H2M. Lowe (Aus) 21.5
Peterson Rosa (Brz) 14.75
H1K. Robb (Haw) 17.15
Ben Bourgeois (USA) 3.5
H2M. Padaca (Haw) 14.35
Renan Rocha (Brz) 13.4
H3P. Rosa (Brz) 18.2
Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.9
H4M. Lowe (Aus) 24.85
Shane Beschen (USA) 18.0