Day One Of The 2002 Rip Curl Pro At Bells Beach

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
2002 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Parkinson Continues Roll Defeating World Champ Hobgood

Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia (Thursday, March 28th) The 30th AnniversaryRip Curl Pro commenced today, after being placed on hold this morning, withthe first eight heats of round one completed. Current ratings leader JoelParkinson (Aus) continued his momentum with a convincing win over reigningworld champion CJ Hobgood (USA) and local wildcard entrant Troy Brooks.

Surf remained in the 3-5 ft (1.5m) range, with conditions expected to besimilar over the coming days.

Parkinson, who only celebrated his 21st birthday last week, hasn’t put afoot wrong lately. After dominating the first World Championship Tournament(WCT) of the season two weeks ago on Australia’s Gold Coast, he returned tothe competitive arena today faced with an extremely high hurdle. Hobgood andBrooks both secured good rides, but it was the always-casual Queenslanderwho dominated proceedings with his flowing forehand style.

“I had a bit of a strategy then to follow ‘Brooko’ around and it paid off,”explained Parkinson, of watching his local opponent’s every move. “I wouldhave been pretty bummed to go from a win to a 33rd (place finish), so I’mglad that’s behind me now.

“I kind of put it out of my head,” he continued of his recent win. “It’sstill there, though, keeping me buzzed. Hopefully when it comes down to theend of the year and I need that buzz, I’ll just keep thinking about thatwin.

“It’s good to be back at Bells,” he added. “I’ve never been much of awetsuit surfer, but I love coming down here. I’d love to see one of us winit again… not that I have, but Mick (Fanning) has, so hopefully he sharesit around with us (laughs).”

World #5 Jake Paterson overcame a pressurized attack from tour newcomer andfellow Australian Kieren Perrow, in their heat with Brazilian Victor Ribas.Perrow opened his account with the highest single wave score of the day, an8.75, but this wasn’t enough to hold off his more experienced opponent.Paterson required a 6.66 on his final ride, and found a lucky charm of awave for 7.5 from the judges.

“I had the inside for that wave, but I missed it, so I was so bummed withmyself,” explained Paterson, of Perrow’s first ride. “I was confident in theway I was surfing, and then I got an 8.0, and just built on it. There was abit of luck at the end, I would say.”

World #4 Taylor Knox (USA) banked on his vast competitive knowledge todefeat newcomer Phillip MacDonald (Aus) and fellow Californian PatO’Connell. The fluid arches of Knox ultimately proved too strong, especiallyafter he locked in an 8.5, though his heat start hinted the opposite resultwhen he fell a couple of times.

“I actually just grabbed this surfboard from a factory as it was beingrepaired, and I think it still had some foam dust on it,” joked Knox, of hisfirst fall. “I didn’t really stress at all, though, I just waited foranother wave to come and knew if I got one I could get a good score.

“I’m working on it,” he added, of securing another WCT win, since his lastwas in 1996. “I’m just taking it heat by heat. I usually lose when I getahead of myself.”

Renan Rocha out-pointed last year’s event runner-up, Danny Wills (Aus), andfellow Brazil Fabio Gouveia in their match. His strong backhand approachearning the day’s highest total of 22.5-points.

“It was a really hard heat as both guys surf really well in thoseconditions,” acknowledged Rocha. “I just concentrated on getting the rightwaves, as they are the difference. I feel really comfortable out here atBells.”

Fellow Brazilians Rodrigo Dornelles and Peterson Rosa then dominated theirheat against rising star Dean Morrison (Aus). Rosa led for the majority ofthe 30-minute decider, with Dornelles fighting back on a fantastic 8.5 finalride to narrowly seal victory in the dying seconds.

World #6 Kalani Robb (Haw) ddid likewise, turning on during the latter halfto out-score Brazilians Marcelo Nunes and Flavio Padaratz. The 25 year oldfinished equal 17th during the first WCT of the season, and has alreadysecured as good a result here at Bells with today’s win.

“I was just trying not to make any mistakes cause there weren’t a lot ofwaves,” said Robb. “I had to get the butterflies out (during the firstevent), but it’s a long year. I usually have a slow start each year, butwe’ll see how I do here.”

Russell Winter (UK) picked off the first wave the 2002 Rip Curl Pro duringhis heat with world #11 Damien Hobgood (USA) and Beau Emerton (Aus). The 26year old then waited patiently to select his following two rides, narrowlyedging out Hobgood, to advance straight into round three.

“I’ve had a lot of reports off the surfers telling me my surfing has reallyimproved this year, so that really boosts my confidence,” said Winter. “It’smy time now and I want to do well. The next couple of years are importantand I’m trying to move forward. This is definitely a good start.”

Surfer profiles are available on www.aspworldtour.com, and a detailedrelease will follow the completion of each day’s surfing action.