Competition Postponed After Lengthy Evaluation
October 20, 2003 (Mundaka, Basque Country) The Billabong Pro Mundaka was again postponed today after being on hold throughout the day. Competitors in remaining round one heats of the US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) met at Bakio for a free-surf session this afternoon, before organizers eventually opted to hold off until tomorrow morning.
The small 1-2 ft (0.5m) waves on offer this morning did increase as strong winds persisted, with 3-4 (1-1.3m) messy conditions this afternoon. Due to the winds and rain however, the tent setup on Bakio beach proved less than ideal for the continuation of heats in this crucial event.
Brazilian Flavio Padaratz was one of many who made use of the surf to practice, acknowledging good enough waves to hold competition, but agreed poor weather and lack of an adequate infrastructure for judging and PA system justified holding off. He will meet Australians Richie Lovett and Lee Winkler in the round’s final heat.
“The surf is OK and we could run the contest, but the setup right now on the beach won’t really allow it,” explained Padaratz. “We wouldn’t have a PA for scores to be read out, and judges would have terrible conditions with the wind and rain. A heat could be called off midway through, so they want to be more prepared for tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, after competition was postponed yesterday due to flat conditions, a handful of competitors and officials from the Billabong Pro Mundaka showed their support of other great athletes and enjoyed an awesome soccer game in nearby Bilbao. Led by contest director Craig Sage, a bunch of Brazilian enthusiasts and Australian sports fans headed in for the afternoon.
Local Basque team Athletic Club did the home crowd proud, schooling Villa Real 2-0 in the fast paced match. Athletic’s goalie, in particular, was in fine form as he fought off all challenges to his territory. Mick Lowe was especially pleased, since he was wearing the Club’s colors like a true supporter.
Another decision will be made tomorrow morning at 8am (local time) in Mundaka.
The Billabong Pro Mundaka is co-sponsored by Fosters, Vans and Von Zipper and supported by Telefonica, BBK, the “Diputacion de Bizkaia”, the “Gobierno Vasco”, the city of Mundaka, the Mundaka Surf Taldea and EHSF (Federation of Surfing).
Remaining Billabong Pro Mundaka Round One
(1st, 2nd>Rnd 2; 3rd=33rd receives US$3,000)
H12: Daniel Wills (Aus); Nathan Hedge (Aus); Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
H13: Mark Occhilupo (Aus); Shane Powell (Aus); Darren O’Rafferty (Aus)
H14: Cory Lopez (USA); Armando Daltro (Brz); Beau Emerton (Aus)
H15: Damien Hobgood (USA); Chris Davidson (Aus); Luke Hitchings (Aus)
H16: Richard Lovett (Aus); Flavio Padaratz (Brz); Lee Winkler (Aus)