Day One Results From The Billabong Pro At J-Bay

Tuesday July 15, 2003 (Jeffreys Bay, South Africa) The Billabong Pro enteredits official waiting period this morning and commenced with two Von ZipperTrials heats. Five hopefuls advanced to earn coveted wildcard positions inthe US$25,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT), with 10 heats of roundone then completed as beautiful conditions greeted Jeffreys Bay.

Great 4ft (1.3m) surf was on offer at Supertubes throughout the day, withsome fantastic waves running down the long righthand point break.

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Two-time consecutive (2000 & ’01) Billabong Pro winner Jake Paterson (WestAustralia) posted the most significant win today by defeating reigning worldchamp and ratings leader Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw), as well as ISA WorldJunior Champ and VZ Trialist Warwick Wright (Durban, SAfr). Paterson holdsan awesome track record at the famed venue and surfed a patient heat, beingrewarded a couple of bigger waves he attacked with trademark forehand snapsand extremely long floaters.

Irons, who has already won three of five WCT’s this season, remained withinstriking distance after a huge double rail grab aerial midway through theheat, but needing an 8.6 on his final ride, was only able to lock in a 7.5score. He’ll now contest the ‘losers’ second round against wildcard Wright.

“This is one of my favorite places to come for sure,” began Paterson.”Obviously cause of my past results… but beating Andy is a good start tomy campaign this year, for sure. He’s the form surfer on tour at the moment,so it’s a solid win. I knew I had to be really patient, so I played the gameand surfed good enough to take the win.

“We were playing gentleman rules, so even though I couldn’t have paddled himup the point and made sure he didn’t catch another wave, I figured if he wasgood enough to get the score he deserved to win,” he added, referring toIrons’ last wave effort. “I saw him do the big air at the end and justthought, ‘oh, I’ve lost it.’ He needed to do something really big, which hedid, but obviously it wasn’t enough (laughs).”

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Fellow West Australian and world #4 Taj Burrow also put on an amazing firstround performance against Tim Curran (CA, USA) and Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen,Aus). The 25-year-old let loose on his forehand with fast snaps and onecritical aerial maneuver he launched through the lip and spun 180 degreesaround, before landing in control for a near-perfect 9.57 score. His other8.5 ride ensured the highest combined tally of the event so far with18.07-points and left both opponents requiring a combination of waves tobridge the gap.

“I was lucky enough to get a couple of sets,” began Burrow. “They had suchgood walls and were so rippable. I was really happy to get some big scoresearly on, and it allowed me to get a little looser and treat it like afree-surf. My best one had a really nice face to work with, so I just did asmany turns as I could. I knew I had a semi-decent score already, and thelast section popped up and I just threw myself into it. I ended up makingthe air, so was stoked.”

2001 world champ CJ Hobgood (FL, USA) dominated his match over AustraliansToby Martin and Shane Powell. The Floridian racked up a 9.0 and then another8.0 on his backhand for another commanding total and easily advanced intoround three.

“I felt confident coming from Durban,” began Hobgood, who reached the finalof the World Qualifying Series (WQS) completed only days ago. “I just wantedto catch the waves that ran a bit slower and let me do some turns. The otherguys’ waves seem to out run them. It’s such a perfect wave, but if you don’tget the good ones it’s still hard.”

Defending Billabong Pro champion and current ratings #2 Mick Fanning (GoldCoast, Aus) set a commanding pace against Paulo Moura (Brz) and VZ Trialswildcard Tiago Pires (Portugal). The Australian opened with an 8.33 ride;following exceptionally fast turns and his rubber-like ability to make themost difficult of maneuvers look easy. ile Moura and Pires both locked ina couple good waves, Fanning’s lead remained throughout.

“I was stoked to get that first good wave,” said Fanning. “I was a bitwobbly for the rest of the heat, but I had an OK second score, so I’m happyto get through. There was a couple of times I should have waited for betterwaves instead of the ones I caught, but lucky for me the other guys didn’tget the scores they needed.

“I’ve been psyched all year to try and catch up to Andy and peg him back abit,” he added, of the rating’s race. “I’ve just got to surf every heat as Inormally do. You’ve got to make each heat to reach finals, so I’m justlooking forward to surfing out here and having a lot of fun with only oneother guy out.”

1999 Billabong Pro winner Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) also posted a wintoday, defeating fellow Australian and VZ wildcard Bede Durbidge (GoldCoast), as well as Pat O’Connell (CA, USA). The 22-year-old, who finishedrunner-up in the previous WCT to Irons, again proved one of the most fluidsurfers at Jeffreys and collected a 9.0 en-route to victory.

“I haven’t been winning my first heats all year, so it’s great to make one,”explained Parkinson. “I was lucky to start off early with a high score. Ifell off on a few, but thankfully did enough on my good wave. I don’t wantto lose any heats here, as I want to be out there as much as I can. To surfJ-Bay with only one other guy is a dream. Stoked to be doing it.”

Durbidge won the first VZ Trials heat for his second consecutive BillabongPro wildcard and again surfed well against his more experienced opponents,but ultimately required another score worth 8.68-points.

“So stoked to get through and have another chance against the top 44,” saidDurbidge. “It’s an awesome experience. I’ve been out of the water for aboutseven weeks (leg injury) and only just got back into it. I’m feeling stiffin the cold water, but it’s getting better all the time.”

Californian Taylor Knox (USA) carved his way past ratings #3 Kieren Perrow(Byron Bay, Aus) and former WCT campaigner and VZ Trials heat winner GregEmslie (East London, SAfr). Knox has placed runner-up twice at Jeffreyspreviously, as his powerful style is well suited to the long righthanders onoffer.

“Kieren makes you surf better and be on your competitive game more,”reasoned Knox. “He’s a really good surfer so I knew I had to play it smart,and same with Greg. He grew up in South Africa and knows this wave reallywell, but I also feel like I know this wave. I’ve done well here before.I’ve been surfing OK all year, but just haven’t put together many heats. Ihave a good board here though, so I’m stoked. J-Bay is such a specialplace.”

Emslie fell off the WCT ranks last year, but remains a standout at Jeffreysand secured his main event spot with superb surfing this morning. AgainstKnox and Perrow he was again impressive, but still required another score of9.23 to advance.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event all year,” said Emslie after the VZTrials. “It’s one of my favorite waves and to get a spot into the main eventis great. I’ve had my best results at J-Bay, with two quarterfinal finishes,so I feel confident out here and hopefully I go well.”

WCT ‘rookie’ Tom Whittaker (Bronte, Aus) overcame current ratings #5 CoryLopez (FL, USA) and replacement surfer Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan (Avoca, Aus) -who filled the spot of injured surfer Michael Campbell (Port Macquarie, Aus)for the fifth wildcard. Whittaker surfed confidently to earn his first roundone win of the year, making use of the empty lineup to select superiorrides.

“I’m very excited to be here,” said Whittaker. “The waves on the WCT aretwice as good as anywhere else, and J-Bay is probably the best. I haven’tgotten through a heat all year, so I was pretty nervous and wanted to getthe monkey off my back. I just tried to wait for the best waves andthankfully I got them. It was amazing being out there without anyone in thelineup. I was just telling myself how lucky I was to be out there then.”

Six-time world champion Kelly Slater’s (Fl, USA) opening heat against NecoPadaratz (Florianopolis, Brz) and Luke Stedman (Whale Beach, Aus) waspostponed to the final match of round one. Slater missed a connecting flightout of New York due to increased airport security and lengthy delays, soorganizers accommodated the 1996 event champ accordingly.

Following in the footsteps of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti, theJeffreys Bay tournament will once again be a three-camera webcast with livestreaming footage, live scores and commentary available onwww.billabongpro.com or www.aspworldtour.com. Another decision will be madetomorrow morning at 7am (local time) as to the day’s schedule.

Official Billabong Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd & 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 14.5; Michael Lowe (Aus) 13.86; Beau Emerton (Aus)12.17
H2: Luke Egan (Aus) 13.63; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 11.63; Luke Hitchings (Aus)11.5
H3: CJ Hobgood (USA) 17.0; Shane Powell (Aus) 11.97; Toby Martin (Aus) 11.64
H4: Taj Burrow (Aus) 18.07; Tim Curran (USA) 10.16; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 8.33
H5: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 16.0; Cory Lopez (USA) 11.67; Adrian Buchan (Aus)10.93
H7: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.0; Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.1; Greg Emslie (SAfr)12.44
H8: Jake Paterson (Aus) 14.33; Andy Irons (Haw) 13.23; Warwick Wright (SAfr)7.87
H9: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.17; Bede Durbidge (Aus) 13.5; Pat O’Connell(USA) 7.0
H10: Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.5; Paulo Moura (Brz) 12.6; Tiago Pires (Port)10.27
H11: Dean Morrison (Aus) 11.67; Trent Munro (Aus) 11.5; Lee Winkler (Aus)5.56
Von Zipper Trials (1st & 2nd>Main Event; 3rd & 4th eliminated)
H1: Bede Durbidge (Aus) 12.67; Warwick Wright (SAfr) 10.5; Sean Holmes(SAfr) 7.5; Che Stang (USA) 6.1
H2: Greg Emslie (SAfr) 15.1; Tiago Pires (Port) 12.5; Adrian Buchan (Aus)9.77; Ricky Basnett (SAfr) 8.44
Remaining Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd & 3rd>Rnd2)
H12: Mark Occhilupo (Aus); Peterson Rosa (Brz); Nathan Webster (Aus)
H13: Daniel Wills (Aus); Darren O’Rafferty (Aus); Armando Daltro (Brz)
H14: Kalani Robb (Haw); Guilherme Herdy (Brz); Danilo Costa (Brz)
H15: Damien Hobgood (USA); Richard Lovett (Aus); Victor Ribas (Brz)
H16: Shea Lopez (USA); Chris Davidson (Aus); Flavio Padaratz (Brz)
H6: Kelly Slater (USA); Neco Padaratz (Brz); Luke Stedman (Aus)
was just telling myself how lucky I was to be out there then.”

Six-time world champion Kelly Slater’s (Fl, USA) opening heat against NecoPadaratz (Florianopolis, Brz) and Luke Stedman (Whale Beach, Aus) waspostponed to the final match of round one. Slater missed a connecting flightout of New York due to increased airport security and lengthy delays, soorganizers accommodated the 1996 event champ accordingly.

Following in the footsteps of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti, theJeffreys Bay tournament will once again be a three-camera webcast with livestreaming footage, live scores and commentary available onwww.billabongpro.com or www.aspworldtour.com. Another decision will be madetomorrow morning at 7am (local time) as to the day’s schedule.

Official Billabong Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd & 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 14.5; Michael Lowe (Aus) 13.86; Beau Emerton (Aus)12.17
H2: Luke Egan (Aus) 13.63; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 11.63; Luke Hitchings (Aus)11.5
H3: CJ Hobgood (USA) 17.0; Shane Powell (Aus) 11.97; Toby Martin (Aus) 11.64
H4: Taj Burrow (Aus) 18.07; Tim Curran (USA) 10.16; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 8.33
H5: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 16.0; Cory Lopez (USA) 11.67; Adrian Buchan (Aus)10.93
H7: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.0; Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.1; Greg Emslie (SAfr)12.44
H8: Jake Paterson (Aus) 14.33; Andy Irons (Haw) 13.23; Warwick Wright (SAfr)7.87
H9: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.17; Bede Durbidge (Aus) 13.5; Pat O’Connell(USA) 7.0
H10: Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.5; Paulo Moura (Brz) 12.6; Tiago Pires (Port)10.27
H11: Dean Morrison (Aus) 11.67; Trent Munro (Aus) 11.5; Lee Winkler (Aus)5.56
Von Zipper Trials (1st & 2nd>Main Event; 3rd & 4th eliminated)
H1: Bede Durbidge (Aus) 12.67; Warwick Wright (SAfr) 10.5; Sean Holmes(SAfr) 7.5; Che Stang (USA) 6.1
H2: Greg Emslie (SAfr) 15.1; Tiago Pires (Port) 12.5; Adrian Buchan (Aus)9.77; Ricky Basnett (SAfr) 8.44
Remaining Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd & 3rd>Rnd2)
H12: Mark Occhilupo (Aus); Peterson Rosa (Brz); Nathan Webster (Aus)
H13: Daniel Wills (Aus); Darren O’Rafferty (Aus); Armando Daltro (Brz)
H14: Kalani Robb (Haw); Guilherme Herdy (Brz); Danilo Costa (Brz)
H15: Damien Hobgood (USA); Richard Lovett (Aus); Victor Ribas (Brz)
H16: Shea Lopez (USA); Chris Davidson (Aus); Flavio Padaratz (Brz)
H6: Kelly Slater (USA); Neco Padaratz (Brz); Luke Stedman (Aus)