If quarter finalist Luke Egan can win the Billabong MSF Pro he’ll take the lead from Sunny Garcia on the ASP World Championship ratings.
1998 Billabong MSF Pro champion Trudy Todd advanced to the finals and will be out to win her second title at J-Bay.
Hawaiian Megan Abubo who won the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach took the ASP ratings lead from Layne Beachley by advancing to the finals of the Billabong MSF Pro.
Hawaiian Sunny Garcia had all the moves but not the waves in his heat against Brazillian Petterson Rosa.
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa (Wednesday, July 5, 2000). Current ratings leader Sunny Garcia (Haw) and world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) were among the casualties of today’s action when round four of the Billabong MSF Pro men’s division surfed. In rapidly deteriorating conditions at Jeffreys, the pair bowed out to lesser-ranked seeds, leaving the door wide open for their opponents to claim valuable World Championship Tour (WCT) ratings points, as well as the event title.
Garcia, 30, has lead the race for the 2000 world title since winning the first two tournaments of the season, and though he is still out in front, today’s loss to Brazilian Peterson Rosa has closed the gap considerably.
“I had all the opportunities in the world today to beat Peterson,” Garcia admitted. “I blew all of them, so… it’s going to be a long year and we’ve still got 8 events left, so hopefully I’ll be able to get past the ninth (place) round.
“It’s always hard when you come to a good wave location and the waves aren’t quite up to what they should be,” he continued, in reference to today’s onshore surf. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the most of what came through. That was the difference. Peterson got waves and he was on the ball, I was just a little bit behind it.”
Rosa, who finished last year rated 29th, was humble after his win and eager to progress further.
“I had a lot of luck in that heat,” said Rosa. “I waited for the right waves. In the first round here he beat me, then today I won. I’m very happy to make it and get more points on the ratings.”
Occhilupo, 34, struggled for most of his 30-minute heat against American Damien Hobgood, waiting in vain for a decent wave to arrive.
“It was terrible out there,” he stated afterward. “It was good in the morning, but the onshore came and it just got progressively worse, it was really bad. I couldn’t do much with it. I was waiting for anything, but nothing came. I kind of made a few bad moves, I should have had the inside position at the start, but anyway…”
For Hobgood, a newcomer to the WCT this year and twin brother to fellow competitor CJ, the win was a huge confidence booster, despite conditions being far from ideal.
“Like everybody else I wanted to see good waves and see Occy go off,” said Hobgood. “I’m super stoked with the win, but it almost seemed like ‘Occ’ wasn’t trying out there. I got a lucky first one and then we were both kind of taking off on some crumby waves. Luckily I found a decent one at the end. It was really hard to surf out there with that onshore wind, but I’ll take it, I’m happy.”
Current world number-two Luke Egan (Aus) now finds himself in prime position to narrow Garcia’s rating lead after he eliminated American Rob Machado today. Needing a 5.81 in the final seconds of their heat, Egan managed to score a 6.0-point ride and take the match. If Egan now wins event he’ll over-take Garcia on the adjusted ratings.
“I was looking forward to having a good heat with Rob ’cause he’s surfing really good and seems to be back in form and a bit hungrier,” said Egan. “If we had waves like we did this morning it would have been one of the best heats of the day, by far. I’m so glad that little wave came at the end, I put so much into it and it paid off, so I’m stoked.”
Defending Billabong MSF Pro champion Joel Parkinson (Aus) also continued his run today, eliminating American Shea Lopez in the final heat surfed. With conditions deterriorating throughout the day, a decision was made just prior to 4pm (local time) to postpone the remaining men’s round four heat and the women’s final.
HAWAIIAN MEGAN ABUBO TAKES RATINGS LEAD BY REACHING FINAL
Hawaiian Megan Abubo today became the first person to overtake two-time world champion Layne Beachley’s (Aus) rating lead of 16-months when she reached the Billabong MSF Pro women’s final. After eliminating four-time world champion Lisa Andersen (USA) in their 35-minute semi-final, Abubo took a narrow points advantage and now joins Australian Trudy Todd in the grand finale.
“Last year Layne had a great start to the year,” said Abubo, after discovering she was in front. “It’s much closer this year, but I’m stoked to be in the lead. It’s still early on the tour, though. I’m mainly proud to be leading the Hawaiian charge with Sunny (Garcia).”
Finishing equal third today in the women’s division were Andersen and Australian Lynette MacKenzie. Andersen, 31, surfed brilliantly in her quarter-final with world number-two Serena Brooke, but was unable to repeat the performance against Abubo.
“I blew the heat when I took off on a small wave at the start, letting Megan get priority and take the only solid wave that was scored during the heat,” explained Andersen. “I should have been more patient and then maybe it would have been the other way around. I’m stoked with third though, it’s good.”
Mackenzie, 26, finished second the previous two Billabong MSF Pro events, but her dreams of an elusive title were foiled by Todd in their match-up.
“I felt good out there, but I just couldn’t get a wave to save my life,” said Mackenzie. “I sat and waited the whole heat for a set. I’m still happy, but there’s not much you can do when the waves are bad. Trudy surfed well; I just had a shocker.”
Two-time world champion Layne Beachley surfed brilliantly on one wave today during her quarter-final with MacKenzie, earning 9.50 out-of-a possible 10-points, but it wasn’t enough in the wave-starved heat.
“It was the slowest heat I’ve ever seen,” said Beachley after her defeat. “There were no waves for the first 17-minutes and then one of the two waves that did come through I unfortunately fell off. It’s my fault; I screwed up. It was really frustrating and I’m just furious at myself right now.”
Official Results of Billabong MSF Pro Day Seven
Men’s Round Four
Heat 1: N Webster (Aus) 20.55 def. D Wills (Aus) 12.75 Heat 2: L Egan (Aus) 17.95 def. R Machado (USA) 17.75 Heat 3: R Lovett (Aus) 17.65 def. M Campbell (Aus) 17.50 Heat 4: P Rosa (Brz) 20.55 def. S Garcia (Haw) 18.15 Heat 5: D Hobgood (USA) 18.25 def. M Occhilupo (Aus) 14.75 Heat 6: F Padaratz (Brz) 17.55 def. R Rocha (Brz) 11.50 Heat 7: J Parkinson (Aus) 19.10 def. S Lopez (USA) 13.10 Heat 8: S Dorian (Haw) vs. J Paterson (Aus) – Still to surf