3 To The Beach

“Mighty” Mick Campbell Ignites The Bluetorch Pro

You may or may not know this, but the Bluetorch Pro WCT-ASP event held in Huntington Beach, California on July 19¿23 has a lot of history. In previous years it was the Gotcha Pro and before that, the Op Pro¿in other words, a pretty legendary contest. Thanks to incredible showdowns in the surf and unbelievable antics on the beach (e.g., riots on the beach in 1987), the contest has always been a thrill to watch¿this year was no different.

First of all, you gotta love Huntington. Through all the fake boobs, Brazilian bikinis, bleached hair, and cheetah-print clothing, there really is a contest. None of it could deter the crowd from watching Sunny Garcia and eventual winner Mick Campbell put on a show both in the final and out of the water.Garcia, the current tour leader and crowd favorite, was on a roll. After starting his semi with an eight, he patiently sat through a flat spell, waiting ’til the end to finish off a consistent Cory Lopez.

The 35-minute final started out much the same but had a different outcome. After beating last year’s winner Neco Padaratz in the other semi, Mick Campbell started strong and never looked back. The high-tide surf made the lulls even longer, yet throughout the heat Campbell’s backside surfing on the south end of the contest area was earning him consistent sixes. Garcia, on the other hand, was taking waves closer to the pier and putting every ounce of power he could into them¿a gamble that gave him an eight on one wave and a couple mistakes on others.

With two minutes and 25 seconds left on the timer, Garcia needed a 4.86 to pass Mick. As the last seconds wound down, Garcia took a very weak left¿his only glimmer of hope¿and did what he could with it all the way in. All the cheering spectators and Campbell could do was wait for the announcer. Once Garcia’s last wave’s score was announced as a 3.76¿not enough for the win¿Campbell put his hands in the air and threw his board.

“Well, I knew he wasn’t going to get it because there was no outside on it,” said an elated Campbell, “and to ride all the way in on a reform and get a high four is just virtually impossible. So I knew he wasn’t going to get it.”

The final outcome was 19.60 to 19.00, and a very happy Australian with his first WCT victory: “I’m stoked.” said Campbell. “It’s a really important event to win. All the sponsors are here, the industry is here, and it’s just huge. It’s really good for me.”

Although disappointed, Garcia acknowledged Campbell’s strategy. “I felt comfortable sitting where I sat,” said Garcia. “There were good waves. I fell on a couple of waves that would have made the difference. Mick went out and did what he does best. He went out, caught four waves, and tapped it to the beach.”

Visibly more and more discouraged over the close final, Garcia continued with the following that made the day just a bit more exciting: “I’m a little upset to lose to Mick, but that’s the way it is. I’m more upset because prior to this event, I see in an Australian magazine that Mick Campbell had written that all American surfers are pathetic. I don’t think I did too bad. I almost beat him¿for a pathetic surfer, supposedly.”

Then to make matters worse, a non-surfing-media reporter prodded him, “Do you take that Mick’s quote seriously?” “Oh, yeah. I take that straight to heart,” replied Garcia. “For him to say that all Americans are pathetic, that means I’m pathetic. Now, I’ve seen him at Pipe the other year. You want to talk about pathetic, I’ve seen him sitting on the shoulder. That’s pretty pathetic. If we’re all pathetic, then we’d sure hate to see what he sees in the morning when he looks in the mirror.”

Garcia went on to say the following in regard to the close decision: “The judging has changed, and I want to make clear that they have a really hard job doing what they do. To say one surfer is better than anher surfer on any given day is pretty hard, and there’s always going to be one surfer who’s upset. Only one guy can win. They’re doing a great job, it was a close final, and Mick did a better job than I did.”

When Campbell’s turn with the press came, to his surprise, he was suddenly embroiled in a tiff. “You can say what you want in this world. Freedom of speech, you know. I think if people are going to take it personally, that’s their problem. There’s nothing like a bit of healthy rivalry, and if people can’t handle it, then they shouldn’t be there.”

Asked why he made the remark about American surfers, Campbell replied, “Just stirring the pot. Just stirring the pot with a big ol’ spoon gets everyone worked up. They hate me, and when they surf against me, they can’t surf because they hate me so much. I’m out there just cruisin’, and they’re falling off stressing about me. That’s why I like it¿reverse psychology.”

According to Campbell, his remarks aren’t serious¿it’s a little mind game, and he and other surfers actually all get along pretty well. He also dedicated the win to his close friend Andrew Murphy: “We were really close. He passed away, but he’s up there somewhere, so I hope to join him more later than sooner.”A day later, Sunny Garcia offered an official apology to both Mick Campbell and the ASP, acknowledging he was unable to contain his emotions once the final ended and the judges had rewarded his opponent the victory.

“The Hawai’ian’s comments about Campbell generated media frenzy among journalists on hand,” said the ASP press release. “Both Garcia and Campbell later stated there is in fact no problem between the two surfers, rather, a simple misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion.”¿A.C.

Official Results of Bluetorch Pro1.Mick Campbell2.Sunny Garcia3. (tie) Cory Lopez, Neco Padaratz5. (tie) Nathan Webster, Kalani Robb, Tim Curran, Rob Machado

Current Top WCT 16 Ratings After Event Number 61. Sunny Garcia 4,3602. Luke Egan 3,7303. Cory Lopez 3,4704. Mick Campbell 3,4105. Flavio Padaratz 3,3906. Nathan Webster 3,2107. Jake Paterson 3,1408. Peterson Rosa 3,0709. Shane Dorian 3,01010. Guillerme Herdy 2,96011. Taj Burrow 2,90012. Mark Occhilupo 2,88013. C.J. Hobgood 2,77014. Damien Hobgood 2,76015. Rob Machado 2,65016. Luke Hitchings 2,560

Everything Comes Up Sunny: The Panasonic Shockwave U.S. Open

The Panasonic Shockwave U.S. Open is a six-star ASP World Qualifying Series contest that usually proceeds the WCT contest (the Bluetorch Pro). Held directly after a WQS in South Africa, this year competitors had only two days to get from South Africa to California. As a result, events were switched by organizers, and the U.S. Open followed the Bluetorch July 24¿30 and became the climax of Huntington’s two hellish weeks.

After the first “misunderstanding” between Sunny Garcia and Mick Campbell in the WCT predecessor (see preceding Bluetorch Pro story), the focus returned to the surfing. The conditions for the contest could be messy at times, but at least there were waves. The final day had decent head-high peaks that would either close out, make a peak with no shoulder, or every now and then produce a heat winner.

The first semi was relatively uneventful with the consistent surfing of Kalani Robb and Sunny Garcia dominating Chris Davidson and Pat O’Connell, who seemed out of it from the start.

The other semi featured a duel between brothers Keith and Dan Malloy. Although they teamed up to advance in the quarters together, Rob Machado was lighting up “Rob’s Peak” on the south end of the contest area making it a brotherly battle for second. With seconds left, Dan took a right, blazed three strong turns, and earned a 5.5¿enough to knock his brother into third.

The final came, and the waves went. Robb, Machado, and Malloy waited patiently only to watch Sunny rack up some pretty consistent scores sitting next to the pier. One of them, a left, pushed him through the pier where he turned into a northside right and got a couple more turns in for a seven. “I look forward to surfing Huntington when it’s got the size, so you can do the reentry, get through the pier, and get a really good wave out of it,” said Garcia. “It was pretty important I caught that wave because I’d been watching all day, and I’d only seen a couple that were worth going through the pier and connecting.”

With five minutes to go, not a single wave came in for anyone. Pretty far behind during the entire heat, Malloy caught the last wave before the horn and jumped from fourth to second. “It’s by far my biggest result,” said Malloy. “It’s really good because I’ve been hitting a brick wall for three years trying to qualify, and this will be a huge boost. I still have some work to do this year, but I have a really good chance now to qualify just because of this one result. That’s exciting for me. I’ve never been in this position before.”

The final results finished with a happy Garcia 10,000 dollars richer, followed by Malloy, Machado, and Robb, respectively. “It’s been a big inspiration for me,” said Garcia. “To come here and win, it’s a really good feeling. The whole surf industry is here in California. Right in front of the industry, the magazines, and the press is big for my career. I’m not getting any younger. It’s always nice to win.”

On a last note, Brazilian Paulo Moura won the Ocean and Earth Junior Pro, squeaking by an all-star field including Dustin Cuizon, Joel Parkinson, and Bobby Martinez for a first-place check of 2,500 dollars.¿A.C.

Taylor Knox Takes Mr. Price Pro Winning 70,000 rand (nearly 10,000 dollars), Taylor Knox took out the inaugural Mr. Price Pro, a six-star WQS contest held at North Beach in Durban, South Africa. The final, held in three-foot high-tide waves, was won with a stunning display of high-performance surfing.

Knox called on all his experience in the 30-minute cosmopolitan final, notching up the highest-scoring ride¿an excellent 9.5 effort to take the lead from Brazilian Armando Daltro with eight minutes remaining. Consolidating his lead with a short left-breaking wave, Knox went on to cement his victory with an eight-point ride in the dying seconds.

“This has been a great event, and I’m really stoked to win it,” said an elated Knox after accepting his winner’s check and leaving directly for the airport to catch a flight to California for his next event.¿ASP Press Release

Results Of The Mr. Price Pro in Durban, South Africa:1. Taylor Knox 2. Armando Daltro 3. Danny Wills 4. Travis Logie

Machado takes LacanauMoves to sixth in the ratings.

Rob Machado claimed his first World Championship Tour (WCT) victory in three years, defeating Brazilian Armando Daltro in the final of the T&C Lacanau Pro in France. With only one- to two-foot waves, both gifted small-wave surfers put on a great show considering the conditions.

Machado dominated the 35-minute final from the onset, even managing to score an 8.5 in the diminutive surf. The 1995 world number-two (1995) is widely regarded higher than his Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) rating has suggested in recent years, but today’s win shot him back toward the top into sixth position.

“It wasn’t easy, conditions were tough,” said an elated Machado on the water’s edge afterward. “I had to be really selective for waves. I knew I wanted to go right and keep it on my backside, and that’s what I did and it worked out really good … stoked! It’s been a while, it’s nice to win. It feels really good, I’m happy.”

Interesting to note, Machado’s previous two WCT wins were also in France (1995 and ’97) at the same location of next week’s Hossegor Rip Curl Pro.

“It’s hard to win a WCT, there’re a lot of really good surfers,” he reasoned. “You’ve got to have a lot of faith in your boards, in yourself, and trust in what you’ve got, and just go with that. I’ve been watching him Armando all week and he’s the pier where he turned into a northside right and got a couple more turns in for a seven. “I look forward to surfing Huntington when it’s got the size, so you can do the reentry, get through the pier, and get a really good wave out of it,” said Garcia. “It was pretty important I caught that wave because I’d been watching all day, and I’d only seen a couple that were worth going through the pier and connecting.”

With five minutes to go, not a single wave came in for anyone. Pretty far behind during the entire heat, Malloy caught the last wave before the horn and jumped from fourth to second. “It’s by far my biggest result,” said Malloy. “It’s really good because I’ve been hitting a brick wall for three years trying to qualify, and this will be a huge boost. I still have some work to do this year, but I have a really good chance now to qualify just because of this one result. That’s exciting for me. I’ve never been in this position before.”

The final results finished with a happy Garcia 10,000 dollars richer, followed by Malloy, Machado, and Robb, respectively. “It’s been a big inspiration for me,” said Garcia. “To come here and win, it’s a really good feeling. The whole surf industry is here in California. Right in front of the industry, the magazines, and the press is big for my career. I’m not getting any younger. It’s always nice to win.”

On a last note, Brazilian Paulo Moura won the Ocean and Earth Junior Pro, squeaking by an all-star field including Dustin Cuizon, Joel Parkinson, and Bobby Martinez for a first-place check of 2,500 dollars.¿A.C.

Taylor Knox Takes Mr. Price Pro Winning 70,000 rand (nearly 10,000 dollars), Taylor Knox took out the inaugural Mr. Price Pro, a six-star WQS contest held at North Beach in Durban, South Africa. The final, held in three-foot high-tide waves, was won with a stunning display of high-performance surfing.

Knox called on all his experience in the 30-minute cosmopolitan final, notching up the highest-scoring ride¿an excellent 9.5 effort to take the lead from Brazilian Armando Daltro with eight minutes remaining. Consolidating his lead with a short left-breaking wave, Knox went on to cement his victory with an eight-point ride in the dying seconds.

“This has been a great event, and I’m really stoked to win it,” said an elated Knox after accepting his winner’s check and leaving directly for the airport to catch a flight to California for his next event.¿ASP Press Release

Results Of The Mr. Price Pro in Durban, South Africa:1. Taylor Knox 2. Armando Daltro 3. Danny Wills 4. Travis Logie

Machado takes LacanauMoves to sixth in the ratings.

Rob Machado claimed his first World Championship Tour (WCT) victory in three years, defeating Brazilian Armando Daltro in the final of the T&C Lacanau Pro in France. With only one- to two-foot waves, both gifted small-wave surfers put on a great show considering the conditions.

Machado dominated the 35-minute final from the onset, even managing to score an 8.5 in the diminutive surf. The 1995 world number-two (1995) is widely regarded higher than his Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) rating has suggested in recent years, but today’s win shot him back toward the top into sixth position.

“It wasn’t easy, conditions were tough,” said an elated Machado on the water’s edge afterward. “I had to be really selective for waves. I knew I wanted to go right and keep it on my backside, and that’s what I did and it worked out really good … stoked! It’s been a while, it’s nice to win. It feels really good, I’m happy.”

Interesting to note, Machado’s previous two WCT wins were also in France (1995 and ’97) at the same location of next week’s Hossegor Rip Curl Pro.

“It’s hard to win a WCT, there’re a lot of really good surfers,” he reasoned. “You’ve got to have a lot of faith in your boards, in yourself, and trust in what you’ve got, and just go with that. I’ve been watching him Armando all week and he’s been surfing really well, he’s beaten some really tough opponents. I’m stoked for him to make it to the final. I like his surfing.”

For Daltro, the result marks his best to date during seven years on tour. Previously, he’d finished third in Japan last year, also defeated then by Machado. On the World Qualifying Series (WQS), however, the Brazilian has excelled and currently leads those ratings, while he is now eighteen on the WCT.

Jake Paterson and Shea Lopez tied for third place. Paterson’s run was ended by Machado, while Lopez failed to match Daltro’s scoring. Australian Paterson’s results moved him into fourth on the ratings and well within striking distance of current rating’s leader Sunny Garcia.¿ASP press release

Official Results Of T&C Lacanau Pro 1.Rob Machado 2.Armando Daltro 3. (tie) Jake Paterson, Shea Lopez

Current WCT Top Ten 1. Sunny Garcia 4,970 points2. Luke Egan 4,2303. Mike Campbell 4,0204. (tie) Jake Paterson, Cory Lopez 3,8706. Rob Machado 3,6507. Flavio Padaratz 3,6308. Nathan Webster 3,6109. Shane Dorian 3,51010. Peterson Rosa 3,470e’s been surfing really well, he’s beaten some really tough opponents. I’m stoked for him to make it to the final. I like his surfing.”

For Daltro, the result marks his best to date during seven years on tour. Previously, he’d finished third in Japan last year, also defeated then by Machado. On the World Qualifying Series (WQS), however, the Brazilian has excelled and currently leads those ratings, while he is now eighteen on the WCT.

Jake Paterson and Shea Lopez tied for third place. Paterson’s run was ended by Machado, while Lopez failed to match Daltro’s scoring. Australian Paterson’s results moved him into fourth on the ratings and well within striking distance of current rating’s leader Sunny Garcia.¿ASP press release

Official Results Of T&C Lacanau Pro 1.Rob Machado 2.Armando Daltro 3. (tie) Jake Paterson, Shea Lopez

Current WCT Top Ten 1. Sunny Garcia 4,970 points2. Luke Egan 4,2303. Mike Campbell 4,0204. (tie) Jake Paterson, Cory Lopez 3,8706. Rob Machado 3,6507. Flavio Padaratz 3,6308. Nathan Webster 3,6109. Shane Dorian 3,51010. Peterson Rosa 3,470