Californian Dane Reynolds today won the Quiksilver Trials with an outstanding final’s performance. Together with Fred Patacchia (HAW) and Alain Riou (PYF), the three earned wildcard spots into the Quiksilver Pro main event. The fourth event on the Foster’s men’s World Championship Tour (WCT) enters its waiting period tomorrow morning.
Perfect 5ft (1.5m) surf was on offer at ‘Restaurants’ all day. Strong offshore winds made the wave faces difficult in early heats, but as they subsided and sets continued, ideal conditions prevailed.
The Quiksilver Trials consisted of three rounds, including the final this afternoon. Following the decision of former WCT surfer John Shimooka (HAW) – who actually made the four-man climax but then opted to forfeit his main event chances – the remaining three hopefuls were guaranteed progression. Subsequently, they each rode their first waves switch foot before the serious action got underway.
Reynolds, on what was his first ever day in Fiji, was quick to adapt to the shallow reef break. The 18-year-old posted a near-perfect 9.8 second ride in the decider, and soon backed this up with another 9.5 for the massive combined tally of 19.3-points and victory.
“The waves were super fun, said Reynolds. “I spent the first two heats kind of getting used to the wave, but luckily I made it through both. In the final I felt no pressure, and basically just free-surfed out there and got some good ones. My first heat today was my first session I’ve ever had out there, so I didn’t really think I was going to make it.
“I feel pretty good, he added, of receiving another chance to compete in a WCT. “It’s better this time, since I actually had to earn the spot and have some rhythm going now.
Hawaii’s Patacchia finished second today, following a couple of great rides, while Tahiti’s Riou was third.
“I’m really stoked, began Riou. “It was a hard Trials and intense. For the final it was good, cause we heard ‘Shmoo’ wasn’t coming, so we relaxed and all went switch foot our first waves. I’m really stoked to make it.
Shimooka, now a Quiksilver International employee, opted to forfeit his chances of one of the three wildcard positions in the final, giving his three opponents a direct main event berth without having to challenge his backhand skills at ‘Restaurants’.
Also receiving wildcards directly into the Quiksilver Pro main event were two-time ASP world champion Tom Carroll (Newport, AUS) and local Fijian Isei Tokovou.
Carroll, who has competed in every Quiksilver Pro since the inaugural tournament in G-Land (East Java, Indonesia) in 1995, is once again in the draw and sure to cause opponents major concern. The 42-year-old is considered one of the world’s best tube riders, especially in waves of consequence and size.
“Obviously I want to go further than 9th place round, said Carroll, referring to his previous best results in Quiksilver Pro’s. “It’s an excellent opportunity to surf against the best surfers in the world, which I take with great honor. Hopefully Cloudbreak will produce some strong, heavy conditions, which I like the most and would love to compete in. It’s an excellent place to compete and focus on surfing, as there are no other distractions. The best opportunity to maximize your potential.
Tokovou — a Tavarua Island boatman — actually learned to surf in the waves of this region and is hoping the experience and local knowledge pays off against the world’s top rated surfers. Carroll presented the 27-year-old his spot last week, during the opening function of the Kelly Slater Invitational.
“Thanks to Tom Carroll, Quiksilver International and all who gave me the opportunity to surf the WCT and go against the best surfers, said Tokovou. “I’ve surfed in a couple of contests in Australia before, as well as the South Pacific Games in Tahiti (1998), but this is definitely the biggest event yet. I’m very excited and a little nervous. Hopefully we get some bigger wavess. I can handle either spot, but would prefer to surf at Cloudbreak.
He will face reigning two-time world champion and defending Quiksilver Pro winner Andy Irons (Kauai, HAW), as well as Damien Hobgood (FL, USA) in round one.
Unfortunately Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen, AUS) has been forced to withdraw from the Quiksilver Pro, following a dislocated shoulder injury suffered during the final at Teahupoo, Tahiti, last week. Brazilian Armando Daltro also withdrew due to lack of sponsorship and financial constraints.
A decision will be made tomorrow morning at 8am (local time), with the Quiksilver Pro main event expected to commence soon after with round one heats.
Quiksilver Trials Results (1st; 2nd; 3rd>Quiksilver Pro main event)
1st Dane Reynolds (USA) 19.3
2nd Fred Patacchia (HAW) 16.9
3rd Alain Riou (PYF) 12.83
4th John Shimooka (HAW) n/s
Semifinals (1st; 2nd>Final)
S1: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 16.17; Alain Riou (PYF) 13.34; Martin Potter (GB) 12.7; Glen Hall (AUS) 7.13
S2: Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.5; John Shimooka (HAW) 12.1; Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.9; Luke Munro (AUS) 4.0
Round 1 (1st; 2nd>Semifinals)
H1: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 17.63; Alain Riou (PYF) 16.43Waqa Matia (FIJI) 4.93
H2: Glen Hall (AUS) 16.4; Luke Munro (AUS) 14.4; Micky Picon (FRA) 11.76
H3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.4; Dane Reynolds (USA) 10.67; Danny Fuller (HAW) 5.56