Thursday, July 15, 2004 (Jeffreys Bay, South Africa) Remaining second round heats of the Billabong Pro were completed this morning in great barreling waves. The Foster's men's ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) resumed in classic offshore conditions, though organizers opted to postpone further competition until the predicted new, bigger swell arrives over the coming days.
Crisp northwest 'Devil' winds were blowing from dawn, with hollow 4ft (1.3m) barrels racing down the line in picturesque fashion.
Cory Lopez (FL, USA) posted the Billabong Pro's best single score so far with a near perfect 9.67, following an incredible succession of three barrels and inside maneuvers. Against Brazilian Neco Padaratz in a highly anticipated clash, the goofy footer only managed to find another ride worth 3.67 points, but it proved enough.
"Neco actually had priority for that wave but let it go, recalled Lopez. "I was stoked he did as it turned into a really good one. I pulled in right from the take off and got a nice barrel, and then lined up another one, and then another (laughs). I've got a really good board which holds in on the rail, which you need out here in these conditions. I'm really hungry to get a result here, as I'm hurting on the ratings. Hopefully I can pull something out.
Richie Lovett found ideal waves in the day's opening heat against fellow Australian Beau Emerton, weaving his way in and out of numerous tubes for the win. The natural footer emerged from two long barrels on his best ride to earn an 8.33, while Emerton struggled to find anything of similar promise and ultimately required a combination of scores to catch up.
"It is tough with the wind out there, but if you get the right wave you can sit high in the barrel and it's pretty safe in there, reasoned Lovett. "I played the waiting game and tried to be really selective with the waves I took. I knew Beau could come back as he's a really good backhand tube rider, so I guess patience won out in the end.
Marcelo Nunes (BRA) won a tight battle against Michael Campbell (AUS). The Brazilian slightly edged out his fellow goofy foot opponent in the low scoring heat, progressing to next meet 2000 world champion Sunny Garcia (HAW) when round three gets underway.
"I had some good luck in that heat as there wasn't many waves, said Nunes. "I surfed well, but it was difficult. I'm so happy to make it, and hope to have my best year yet on the WCT, as this is my third time.
Tom Whitaker locked in a 9-point ride to seal his victory over fellow Australian Trent Munro in the round's final match-up. Following a great tube and big floater, the current ratings #27 advanced to face Brazilian Peterson Rosa in round three.
Kalani Robb (HAW) also secured a victory over Tim Curran (CA, USA) this morning, and is pitted against two-time Billabong Pro winner Jake Paterson (West AUS) next.
Another decision will be made tomorrow morning by 7:30am (local time).
Billabong Pro Round Two Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
H12: Richard Lovett (AUS) 15.16 def. Beau Emerton (AUS) 5.17
H13: Kalani Robb (HAW) 12.5 def. Tim Curran (USA) 10.57
H14: Cory Lopez (USA) 13.34 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 12.66
H15: Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 11.67 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 11.13
H16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 16.5 def. Trent Munro (AUS) 13.0
Upcoming Round Three Heats (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,225)
H1: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Luke Hitchings (AUS)
H2: Jake Paterson (AUS) vs. Kalani Robb (HAW)
H3: Lee Winkler (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
H4: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) vs. Shane Beschen (USA)
H5: Michael Lowe (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
H6: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Nathan Webster (AUS)
H7: Richie Lovett (AUS) vs. Phil MacDonald (AUS)
H8: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Sean Holmes (ZAF)
H9: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
H10: Peterson Rosa (BRA) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
H11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)
H12: Nathan Hedge (AUS) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
H13: CJ Hobgood (USA) vs. Shane Powell (AUS)
H14: Sunny Garcia (HAW) vs. Marcelo Nunes (BRA)
H15: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Greg Emslie (ZAF)
H16: Daniel Wills (AUS) vs. Toby Martin (AUS)