Jeffreys Bay, South Africa (Sunday, July 2, 2000). Defending Billabong MSF Pro and current world junior champion Joel Parkinson picked up where he left off last year today, convincingly winning his opening heat of the fifth 2000 World Championship Tour (WCT) event. After four days wait, the men finally took to the water this morning in perfect 3-5 ft (1.5m) conditions at ‘Supertubes’.
Parkinson, 19, sent shock waves through the surfing fraternity when he won the prestigious event last year as an 18-year-old wildcard entrant, defeating the top 44 surfers in the world. He then dominated the world junior titles in Hawaii last November, boosting his already impressive record. Up against current world number four Flavio Padaratz (Brz) and fellow Australian Shane Powell today, Parkinson racked-up the scores to equal the highest single ride of the day for 9.25 out-of-a possible 10-points, as well as another 9.0-point ride, to advance straight into round three.
“It was a good start and I hope it keeps going,” said a relaxed Parkinson after the fine display of surfing. “That’s the start I was hoping for, so I’m glad I got it, now I’ve just got to back it up.”
Speaking about his chances of a repeating last year’s result, Parkinson was quietly confident, and acknowledged wanting to surf against good friends and fellow Aussie wildcard entrants Dean Morrison and David Rastovich.
“I’ve got a lot of support, my Dad’s here, so I’m stoked,” said the defending champ. “I’m pretty keen to make the final again and do well. I’d love to have a heat with one of the younger guys I did the junior events with last year. It’d be great to have a quarter-final, or semi-final with ‘Deano’ (Morrison) or ‘Rasta’ (Rastovich).”
South African wildcard entrant Sean Holmes was the next to cause a sensation, defeating current world number-two and last event winner Luke Egan (Aus). Holmes, 23, the current South African National champion who reached the quarter-finals in last year’s tournament, showed his ability on the long right-handers again today, though luck was a factor in the result. Egan was unaware he had caught his 10-wave limit early, meaning he had to allow Holmes a wave in the dying moments of the 30-minute heat and watch him score the points he needed.
“As a wildcard you’ve never got anything to lose, so you just take every heat as it comes,” reasoned the South African afterward. “I wouldn’t have made it through, but Luke had 10 waves, so I managed to get that last one off him. I was lucky.
“J-Bay just suits my surfing,” he added. “I go out there and have fun, it’s basically just free-surfing, like I’m not in a contest. It was a good heat, so yeah, I’m stoked.”
Egan, who jumped up into second position on the ratings after his fantastic win in Fiji last month, was disappointed with the result, but happy with his surfing today. He’ll now contest the ‘sudden death’ round two.
“I was happy with the way I was surfing then,” Egan explained. “I could have had the heat easily, actually, so I’m a bit disappointed. I’ve made the semi’s here before and I’m feeling good, my boards are good; I’ll keep nudging away.”
Current rating’s leader Sunny Garcia (Haw) furthered his cause to win an elusive world title when he claimed his opening heat. After disappointing finishes in the past two events, Garcia is determined to get his title hopes back on track while at Jeffreys.
“I was kind of bummed I missed the set of the heat, but I was fortunate to get two good waves at the beginning, and an ok one at the end,” explained the Hawaiian. “I’m happy, just a little out of shape since I haven’t surfed much in the past 10 days. It’s a little hard with the cold water, but hopefully I will get another surf in later today so when we next surf (in competition) I’ll be in better shape.”
Current world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) also posted a solid win today, executing an awesome display of power surfing. Currently seventh on the ratings, ‘Occy’ iis still well within reach of another title.
“It’s been really slow the first few days here, so it’s great to surf good J-Bay,” said Occhilupo. “I’ve been watching great surfing today.
“I feel good where I’m at on the ratings,” he continued. “I’m not too far away and I’m not getting harassed (laughs), so I’m comfortable where I’m at and pretty stoked.”
World number-two Taj Burrow (Aus) was the highest scorer of the round, finishing with 22.35 out-of-a possible 30-points. Despite injuring his rib when arriving in South Africa five days ago, he still managed to surf with his usual lightning-fast speed to clock up the win.
“That was the first surf I’ve had in about five days,” he explained. “I did something to my ribs when I first got here and it’s been hurting whenever I take a deep breath. I felt like I was surfing OK, but it hurts so much now. The doctors have been looking at it, but they’re not sure what to do. Hopefully it will be better soon.”
Official Results of Billabong MSF Pro Men’s Round OneHeat 1: K Malloy (USA) 16.60, A Daltro (Brz) 16.35, L Hitchings (Aus) 16.25Heat 2: R Lovett (Aus) 18.50, N Padaratz (Brz) 14.00, G Herdy (Brz) 12.75Heat 3: M Campbell (Aus) 19.00, R Rocha (Brz) 17.25, C Hayes (Haw) 13.30Heat 4: J Parkinson (Aus) 22.10, S Powell (Aus) 15.15, F Padaratz (Brz)Heat 5: S Dorian (Haw) 19.50, Y Sodre (Brz) 13.75, A Irons (Haw) 9.00Heat 6: R Machado (USA) 22.00, D Rastovich (Aus) 10.40, C Lopez (USA) 9.65Heat 7: S Holmes (SAfr) 19.85, L Egan (Aus) 19.65, S Lopez (USA) 14.95Heat 8: S Garcia (Haw) 19.55, P Rosa (Brz) 19.00, D Weare (SAfr) 13.35Heat 9: M Occhilupo (Aus) 19.75, D Morrison (Aus) 14.85, T Curran (USA) 10.00Heat 10: T Burrow (Aus) 22.35, D Hobgood (USA) 18.50, S Nicholson (SAfr) 18.25Heat 11: G Emslie (SAfr) 16.25, P Canning (SAfr), V Ribas (Brz) 10.25Heat 12: D Wills (Aus) 20.90, S Sutton (Haw) 20.65, J Paterson (Aus) 13.15Heat 13: N Webster (Aus) 20.80, R Winter (UK) 18.20, T Knox (USA) 17.45Heat 14: K Robb (Haw) 17.10, CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.90, G Ringrose (Aus) 13.25Heat 15: R Williams (Haw) 21.50, M Lowe (Aus) 18.60, T Prestage (Aus) 12.60Heat 16: B Emerton (Aus) 18.00, F Gouveia (Brz) 14.45, P O’Connell (USA) 14.20