October 6, 2003 (Hossegor, France) West Australian Taj Burrow today raisedthe bar in the Quiksilver Pro France with the highest scores so far. Roundtwo of the US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) was completed atLa Graviere, with the first four heats of the third also decided.
Good 4-5 ft (1.5m) waves were on offer at the main contest site, with greatbarrels to be found throughout the day.
Burrow – the current ratings #3 – emerged from a super long tube to post thebest single score of the event for a near-perfect 9.93 against fellowcountryman Luke Stedman. He then added another 9.33 to his tally withtrademark turns, securing the highest overall total of the event with19.26-points and an easy entry into round four.
“Pretty stoked,” began Burrow afterward. “That barrel felt good, and to geta 9.93… I’ve never had a perfect 10 in a WCT, so I would have liked onethen (laughs). Then to get another 9 was great. I hope the waves staysimilar, as I’m feeling really comfortable out there.”
Reigning world champ Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) regained his form in theQuiksilver Pro France this morning. Against Quiksilver Pro Trials winnerTiago Pires (Port) in the days opening clash, he led from the outset andupped the ante with a great inside tube and committed aerial maneuver. Hethen bettered his position with a near-perfect 9.67-barrel ride at the endto amass 18.5-points and left Pires searching for even more.
“Stoked that’s over with and I got my two good waves,” began Irons. “Tiagois a really good surfer and he can pull out all the stops. I wasn’t countinghim out at any point. I’m just taking it heat by heat and don’t want to getahead of myself. I’m my own worst enemy, so if I can deal with myself, I’lldeal with the other guys next.”
Trent Munro continued his domination of European events this year – he wonboth major World Qualifying Series (WQS) tournaments in France this pastAugust – by eliminating defending Quiksilver Pro France champ Neco Padaratz(Brz). Both appeared fired up for the match and executed extremely criticalmaneuvers, but Munro was able to find the superior rides and worked themover from start to shoreline.
“I knew Neco would be trying to get his waves quickly, so I waited and itpaid off,” explained Munro. “Considering the waves we had here a couple ofmonths ago, it’s great now and really high performance. Just to win oneevent was a bonus, but to get both was such a great feeling. Hopefully I cando well here too.”
Padaratz’s older brother Flavio was more fortunate today, overcoming anequally in form Damien Hobgood in round two.
Current #5 Mick Fanning (Gold Coast, Aus) was in devastating form,overcoming local French wildcard Miky Picon, as well as fellow AustralianToby Martin (Dee Why) from round three. Fanning posted a 9.1-barrel ridethis morning, and then clocked up a couple of eights this afternoon to moveone step closer.
“I’ve been training a lot at home, trying to get really fit,” explainedFanning afterward. “I’m pretty psyched and want to be in the (title) race atthe end. We’ll see what happens, but this leg we have now is reallyimportant and where the world title will probably be decided. I’m justtrying to keep it all together and hopefully make a final here.”
Guilherme Herdy (Brz) stopped Richie Lovett’s (Aus) great run of late,knocking him out of the Quiksilver Pro France. The Australian won the WCT inCalifornia last month, and this morning eliminated fellow Australian LeeWinkler, but he wasn’t able to continue past Herdy in round three. TheBrazilian was also a standout at Trestles, and put his backhand attack tosimilar use today.
“I saw Richie’s heat earlier today and he was surfing so well,” said Herdy.”I just tried to do my best, and am so happy I got it. He’s been in greatform, so I knew if he got a wave at the end he could beat me, so I keptpriority until the end.”
Californian Taylor Knox progressed past Auustralian Darren O’Rafferty. Thecurrent #10 posted a strong 8.17 score with his trademark forehand carves,and even landed a good aerial maneuver at the end of the heat.
“It was a fun heat for Darren and I,” said Knox. “He’s a really good surferand I didn’t take it lightly. Hopefully I can build some momentum now.There’s a lot of opportunities for everyone to do well here in France, andI’m hoping to move further up (on the ratings) and have some fun.”
Brazilian Fabio Gouveia created an upset by eliminating current ratings #7Dean Morrison (Gold Coast, Aus). Gouveia opened with an awesome first tubeto post an 8.5 and set the pace (he would have scored more had he not fallenduring a roundhouse cutback). While Morrison took the lead after some tubesand committed turns, his opponent locked in another couple of scores towardthe end and progressed.
“The waves were perfect,” said Gouveia. “My first tube was really good, butI pushed it a little too hard on the cutback. Then I waited a long time formy second score, but I finally got it at the end. So happy.”
Danny Wills controlled his third round heat against fellow Australian ShanePowell this afternoon. The former world #3 collected a 9.0 and 8.17 for oneof the best totals of the day, highlighted by another long barrel ride.
Another decision will be made tomorrow morning by 8:30am (local time).
Quiksilver Pro France Round Two Heats (1st>Rnd 3; 2nd=33rd receivesUS$3,000)
H1: Andy Irons (Haw) 18.5 def. Tiago Pires (Port) 10.66
H2: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 13.17 def. Jonathan Gonzalez (Canary Is.) 11.34
H3: Mick Fanning (Aus) 15.6 def. Miky Picon (Fra) 12.17
H4: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 13.5 def. Tim Curran (USA) 10.84
H5: Luke Egan (Aus) 14.83 def. Tom Whitaker (Aus) 4.33
H6: Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 16.17 def. Dean Morrison (Aus) 13.17
H7: Beau Emerton (Aus) 10.93 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 8.33
H8: Michael Lowe (Aus) 13.84 def. Danilo Costa (Brz) 12.9
H9: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.6 def. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 11.0
H10: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 14.04 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.77
H11: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 11.67 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 3.33
H12: Richie Lovett (Aus) 16.24 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 15.67
H13: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 15.67 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 11.5
H14: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 12.7 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 10.0
H15: Trent Munro (Aus) 15.5 def. Neco Padaratz (Brz) 10.76
H16: Victor Ribas (Brz) 12.83 def. Pat O’Connell (USA) 11.63
Round Three (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,000)
H1: Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.33 def. Toby Martin (Aus) 7.43
H2: Danny Wills (Aus) 17.17 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 9.63
H3: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 13.27 def. Richie Lovett (Aus) 6.76
H4: Taj Burrow (Aus) 19.26 def. Luke Stedman (Aus) 11.83