Quiksilver Pro (May 26 – June 7)
www.quiksilver.com & www.aspworldtour.com
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
2002 World Championship Tour (WCT)
Burrow Sets Pace At ‘Restaurants’
Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji (Monday, May 27) Former world #2 Taj Burrow(Aus) today set the pace in the Quiksilver Pro after the US$250,000 WorldChampionship Tournament (WCT) relocated to the famed venue of ‘Restaurants’,directly in front of the dinning area on Tavarua Island. The final two heatsof round one were completed this morning, before nine of the secondelimination round also took place in epic conditions.
The extremely shallow reef break hosted perfect 4-6ft (1.3-2m) wavesthroughout the morning, with the midday low tide creating exceptionalbarrels. Contestants made the most of their first opportunity to surf thepremier spot in competition, but onshore northwest winds increased andforced organizers to postpone the remaining heats this afternoon.
Burrow, 23, showed no signs of inexperience at the venue against fellowAustralian Phillip MacDonald. Despite having only surfed ‘Restaurants’ forthe first time earlier this morning, he opened his account with the bestsingle score of the day for a 9.4, and then continued to impress the judgesfor the highest combined three-wave total of 24.9-points. While MacDonaldalso put on a fantastic performance and would have won most other heatstoday with his scores, it was the West Australian who advanced into roundthree to now face Aussie Shane Powell.
“That was a great start,” said Burrow afterward. “I wasn’t sure how to surfthe place ’cause today’s the first time I’ve ever surfed ‘Restaurants’. Itwas so hard to do top turns as the waves were sucking up so much and you’dend up doing airdrops down, so I started pulling in and got a couple ofbarrels. I was just learning how to ride it, but I’m stoked to get a 9.4first wave.
“It’s so amazing,” he continued of the venue. “It’s ridiculously shallow.There were rocks popping out all over the place, but the waves were thatgood.”
Current ratings #2 Cory Lopez (USA) snuck through his anticipated clash withtwo-time world champion Tom Carroll (Aus). The Floridian led from theoutset, but the 40-year-old wildcard took the lead with only 10-minutesremaining. Lopez required a further 5.41 score and after losing priority itbecome doubtful he’d secure one, but in the dying seconds he picked off awave inside of Carroll and managed to post a 5.75 for victory.
“There was a lot of good waves and some nice barrels, and I was lucky to getthat last one at the end,” admitted Lopez. “It was a nail biter and I washoping it was going to barrel and luckily it let me do a couple turns.
“I’ve always looked up to Tom Carroll, since I was a tiny ‘grom’,” he added.”He was world champ, and always an inspiration to watch. To come back andget him in the last couple seconds, I’m stoked.”
2000 world champion Sunny Garcia (Haw) then eliminated Quiksilver Pro Trialsrunner-up Rob Machado (USA) in a fantastic duel. The pair went wave forwave, with the Californian earning a 9.0 one ride, and the Hawaiian a 9.25straight afterward. In the end, Machado required an additional 7.66 scorethat never presented itself.
“Luckily for me the wind was blowing a little strong and playing havoc withthe barrels that Rob was getting,” said Garcia “I was fortunate to get someof the set waves and be able to turn, so I’m happy to make round three.
“Rob’s one of the best surfers in the world,” he continued, in praise of hisopponent. “He won Pipe (Hawaiian WCT in 2000) and got second in the world toKelly (Slater, in 1995). I’m sure if he competes on the World QualifyingSeries (WQS) he’ll be back.”
World #16 Richard Lovett (Aus) was next to eliminate one of the tournamentwildcards, ending the run of Trials winner Fred Patacchia (Haw). TheAustralian dominated a fairly one-sided match, with Patacchia ultimately insearch off a combination of scores when it concluded.
“I’m a happy boy now,” said Lovett. “So nervous before that heat. I really,really hate that round and I had a hard draw. Fred’s been ripping. The waveswere good, but a little tricky, so I’m so stoked to get through.”
Former WCT surfer Todd Prestage (Aus), a seed replacement in the QuiksilverPro Fiji, created an upset by ousting current ratings #7 Kieren Perrow(Aus). Prestage, who fell out of the upper echelon of surfing’s ranks in2000, made the most of his opportunity today with a commanding performance.He will now face 1999 world and event champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) in roundthree.
“I finished just outside the WCT cutoff last year,” explained Prestage, ofbeing a replacement. “A couple of the Brazilians are injured at the momentand had to pull out, so I was called the day before the tournament andpacked my bags. I’m here basically having some fun and catching up with allthe boys an enjoying it.
“I feel like I’m only getting better,” he continued. “12 years on tour was along time and I took a year to relax and regroup. My surfing feeling feelsgood and I’m having a blast.”
WCT newcomer Darren O’Rafferty was another standout, eliminating fellowAustralian Nathan Hedge in what was an epic showdown. The lead swungthroughout, but it was O’Rafferty’s critical floaters and precise backhandsurfing that gained the judges’ nod for the second highest total of the day.
“That was unreal,” said O’Rafferty. “It’s my first time over here and, andsurfing this wave as well. I was a bit timid when I was coming down fromsome of those floaters, as you can see all the colors (of the reef) comingat you and the fish swimming everywhere.
“I’ve only gotten through one other heat this year, so I’m stoked,” hecontinued of his maiden WCT campaign. “If you get a few 33rd’s yourconfidence is down. I’ve had a couple and it doesn’t feel good, so to getthrough that second round is a big bonus.”
World #4 Taylor Knox (USA) won his opening round one heat this morning overPaul Canning (SAfr) and Russell Winter (UK) to skip the ‘losers’ secondround. The Californian will now challenge Michael Lowe, after the Australiandominated another great heat with Brazil’s Rodrigo Dornelles.
The day’s final heat between Pat O’Connell (USA) and Luke Hitchings (Aus)also went down to the wire. The Australian posted the match’s best score of9.0 on his last wave, advancing to meet reigning world champion CJ Hobgood(USA) in round three.
Official results of the Quiksilver Pro Fiji Round Two (losers finish =33rd;receive US$3,000)
H1: Cory Lopez (USA) 22.4 def. Tom Carroll (Aus) 22.05
H2: Sunny Garcia (Haw) 22.4 def. Rob Machado (USA) 19.75
H3: Richard Lovett (Aus) 22.3 def. Fred Patacchia (Haw) 17.0
H4: Todd Prestage (Aus) 22.4 def. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 15.75
H5: Taj Burrow (Aus) 24.9 def. Phillip MacDonald (Aus) 23.25
H6: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 24.4 def. Nathan Hedge (Aus) 23.6
H7: Shane Powell (Aus) 19.25 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 17.25
H8: Michael Lowe (Aus) 23.9 def. Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz) 20.0
H9: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 21.5 def. Pat O’Connell (USA) 19.7
Round One (1st advances directly to round three; 2nd & 3rd contest secondround)
H15: Trent Munro (Aus) 15.75; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 15.25; Greg Emslie (SAfr)4.9
H16: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.65; Paul Canning (SAfr) 13.5; Russell Winter (UK)12.0
Remaining Round Two Heats
H10: Renan Rocha (Brz) vs. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H11: Dean Morrison (Aus) vs. Victor Ribas (Brz)
H12: Lee Winkler (Aus) vs. Paulo Moura (Brz)
H13: Maz Quinn (NZ) vs. Greg Emslie (SAfr)
H14: Jake Paterson (Aus) vs. Paul Canning (SAfr)
H15: Nathan Webster (Aus) vs. Russell Winter (UK)
H16: Mick Fanning (Aus) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)