Figueira Pro 2000 – Machado Wins

Figueira da Foz, Portugal (Sunday, Sep 17, 2000) Rob Machado (USA) today claimed his seventh victory of seven years on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour (WCT) by defecting Taj Burrow (Aus) in the final of the Figueira Pro 2000. With thousands of Portuguese enthusiasts present, the American dominated the 3-foot (1m) conditions to advance from the quarterfinals all the way up onto the winners’ podium to collect US$20,000 and move into fourth position on the current ratingss.

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Machado, 26, began this years’ European leg of tour a month ago by winning his first WCT title in three years at Lacanau, France. While he failed to progress past the third round in the following two events, today he put all the pieces together once again to receive the accolades his surfing always warrants. First he eliminated current ratings runner-up Luke Egan (Aus) in the quarters, then ended Richie Lovett’s (Aus) dream run in their semifinal, before going head-to-head with 1999’s world number-two.

The match with Burrow was the ultimate display of progressive surfing. Both light-footed surfers went ballistic, pushing each other and the benchmark for future events all the much higher. Machado made a smart decision from the onset, using a peak breaking further outside and found three high scoring rides. His opponent originally sat on a separate inside section, but upon realizing he needed to do something different to bridge the combination of scores he trailed by midway, the Australian paddled over near Machado and proceeded to score the best ride of the final, a 9.0, but even still, it proved too late.

“I feel like a million bucks,” said Machado, surrounded by media and autograph seekers afterward. “I feel great. I’m going to love to watch that on tape ’cause I know Taj was doing some crazy stuff on the inside. Every time he caught a wave everyone was screaming and yelling. He was doing airs, and I just think he was pushing the level of surfing, the progress of competitive surfing to a whole new level, and it was good. Made me want to try really hard to beat the kid.

“It was really difficult to decide where to sit,” he admitted. “I was watching the waves during the expression session before the final and there were some down the beach and some up the beach. He chose down the beach and I chose up the beach. It turned out to work in my favor.

“It really just all clicked here in Europe, with my boards and myself… my mind,” explained Machado. “It felt really good. The two events that I didn’t do well in I still felt like I surfed really well and I should have done better, you kw? But that’s the way it goes, just luck. But to win two events in Europe feels so amazing, and now I get to go home tomorrow (laughs).”

Burrow, 22, surfed an inspired final day, eliminating Kalani Robb (Haw) convincingly in the quarters, then out-scored current ratings leader Sunny Garcia (Haw) in a thrilling semifinal that went right down to the wire. Against Machado he continued his brilliance, though made a tactical error early on and never fully recovered. Still, his surfing impressed everyone and the result puts him back on track after too many unfitting finishes earlier this year. He’s now in ninth position and holds a slender chance of catching up with Garcia’s lead before the season concludes in Hawaii come December.

“It was good I guess, but not as good as it could have been for me,” reasoned Burrow afterward. “It was fun and I got to do a couple of airs, but I blew it by starting on the bank down the beach. I just wanted to surf the shore break wedges because it was good for boosting, really, and I just wanted to boost in the final. I was just frothing (laughs). In the end I went over to where Rob was and it was much better.[IMAGE 2] He’d already had an 8.50 and I only had a 7.0 and a 6.0. He had some huge scores, but I ended up making one good air out the front and scored a 9.0, so that put me in contention, but then I needed an 8.0 at the end and I just didn’t have enough time, really.

“I just figured I had to try,” he added, speaking of the critical aerial maneuver he landed midway through. “I like being in that position because I know I have to go for broke. It’s cool. I’m happy for him and I’m happy to have been in the final. It was good to just snap out of that 17th (place) round for me. Hopefully I can maintain it for the rest of the year.”

Finishing equal third today were Garcia and Lovett. Garcia, 30, extending his ratings lead since his closest rival, Egan, was eliminated the round before. Still, the Hawaiian found his loss to Burrow hard to accept after executing the kind of power turns he’s renowned for, and almost in a league of his own with. Nonetheless, he remained calm and explained the whole situation from his perspective.

“Taj is a good surfer,” began Garcia. “But the judging criteria has changed and I just did two of the hugest turns you could do and scored a six, and then I go back out and take another wave and do three little turns and get a five. I can’t see the justice in that. I’m not happy with the judging in that heat, but we’re getting towards the end of the year and everything’s getting tight, so my stress level is up and I wouldn’t want to be a judge. They try their best, but you can’t make everybody happy and at the end of the day there are 47 losers and only one winner, so there’s a lot of unhappy surfers with the judges.

“I think I made another 120-points on Luke and every little bit counts,” he added. “I came here to Europe wanting to leave with a 1000-point lead and I think I have 700 plus-points. I’m not extremely happy, but I guess I can’t be too bummed with my result.”

Lovett, who actually turned 27 today, celebrated in style by collecting his best WCT result since finishing third in this same event three years ago (1997). Widely respected for his surfing ability, the Australian has been unfortunate not to generate more finishes of this caliber. He put on a devastating performance against Brazilian Renan Rocha to leave him needing a combination of scores, and then gave Machado a solid run for his money in their decider, only needing a 5.86 as the siren blasted.

“I had two pretty good waves and then towards the end a good wave came through which I couldn’t really get to, even though I had priority,” explained Lovett after remaining in the water for an expression session between his semifinal and the final. “Rob ended up catching it and scoring his best ride, a 7.40. In retrospect, I did the same thing to him earlier in the heat, but I think it was just a lack of waves. It didn’t pay off waiting, but on the same note I don’t think anything really came through that could have provided what I needed.

“I’m really, really happy I got third,” he proclaimed. “It equals the best result I’ve ever had in a ‘CT, which funnily enough was here three years ago (when Figueira was last on the WCT schedule). It bums you out also, though, ’cause you get that close to making a final and a shot of winning it. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but overall I’m pretty stoked.”

Current world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was also dealt a painful blow today, despite not even being at the contest site. Although he finished second to Shane Dorian (Haw) last week in Spain, the Australians’ title defense dreams were shattered with Garcia storming further out in front. Even if Occhilupo, currently rated-14th, was to win each of the remaining three WCT events and his rivals were to lose early, Garcia would still be 30-points ahead.

As it stands now, only those eight surfers directly underneath the Hawaiian on the points-ladder have a mathematical opportunity to pass him before it all concludes.

The World Championship Tour now heads back to California, USA, for the Billabong Pro at Trestles (Sept. 24-29).

Official Results of the Figueira Pro 2000 Pro Final Day – WCT Event #10 everybody happy and at the end of the day there are 47 losers and only one winner, so there’s a lot of unhappy surfers with the judges.

“I think I made another 120-points on Luke and every little bit counts,” he added. “I came here to Europe wanting to leave with a 1000-point lead and I think I have 700 plus-points. I’m not extremely happy, but I guess I can’t be too bummed with my result.”

Lovett, who actually turned 27 today, celebrated in style by collecting his best WCT result since finishing third in this same event three years ago (1997). Widely respected for his surfing ability, the Australian has been unfortunate not to generate more finishes of this caliber. He put on a devastating performance against Brazilian Renan Rocha to leave him needing a combination of scores, and then gave Machado a solid run for his money in their decider, only needing a 5.86 as the siren blasted.

“I had two pretty good waves and then towards the end a good wave came through which I couldn’t really get to, even though I had priority,” explained Lovett after remaining in the water for an expression session between his semifinal and the final. “Rob ended up catching it and scoring his best ride, a 7.40. In retrospect, I did the same thing to him earlier in the heat, but I think it was just a lack of waves. It didn’t pay off waiting, but on the same note I don’t think anything really came through that could have provided what I needed.

“I’m really, really happy I got third,” he proclaimed. “It equals the best result I’ve ever had in a ‘CT, which funnily enough was here three years ago (when Figueira was last on the WCT schedule). It bums you out also, though, ’cause you get that close to making a final and a shot of winning it. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but overall I’m pretty stoked.”

Current world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was also dealt a painful blow today, despite not even being at the contest site. Although he finished second to Shane Dorian (Haw) last week in Spain, the Australians’ title defense dreams were shattered with Garcia storming further out in front. Even if Occhilupo, currently rated-14th, was to win each of the remaining three WCT events and his rivals were to lose early, Garcia would still be 30-points ahead.

As it stands now, only those eight surfers directly underneath the Hawaiian on the points-ladder have a mathematical opportunity to pass him before it all concludes.

The World Championship Tour now heads back to California, USA, for the Billabong Pro at Trestles (Sept. 24-29).

Official Results of the Figueira Pro 2000 Pro Final Day – WCT Event #10

1st R Machado (USA) 24.00 def. 2nd T Burrow (Aus) 23.10 [IMAGE 3]

Semifinals
SF1: T Burrow (Aus) 22.35 def. S Garcia (Haw) 22.15
SF2: R Machado (USA) 20.00 def. R Lovett (Aus) 19.65

Quarterfinals
QF1: T Burrow (Aus) 17.50 def. K Robb (Haw) 13.00
QF2: S Garcia (Haw) 18.30 def. F Padaratz (Brz) 17.30
QF3: R Machado (USA) 17.15 def. L Egan (Aus) 13.30
QF4: R Lovett (Aus) 24.00 def. R Rocha (Brz) 17.85

Top-10 Rated Surfers After Figueira Pro 2000
1. S Garcia (Haw) —- 6930-points
2. L Egan (Aus) —- 6200
3. CJ Hobgood (USA) —- 5500
4. R Machado (USA) —- 5450
5. M Campbell (Aus) —- 5370
6. S Dorian (Haw) —- 5250
7. J Paterson (Aus) —- 5170
8. F Padaratz (Brz) —- 5090
9. T Burrow (Aus) —- 4960
10. C Lopez (USA) —- 4910

1st R Machado (USA) 24.00 def. 2nd T Burrow (Aus) 23.10 [IMAGE 3]

Semifinals
SF1: T Burrow (Aus) 22.35 def. S Garcia (Haw) 22.15
SF2: R Machado (USA) 20.00 def. R Lovett (Aus) 19.65

Quarterfinals
QF1: T Burrow (Aus) 17.50 def. K Robb (Haw) 13.00
QF2: S Garcia (Haw) 18.30 def. F Padaratz (Brz) 17.30
QF3: R Machado (USA) 17.15 def. L Egan (Aus) 13.30
QF4: R Lovett (Aus) 24.00 def. R Rocha (Brz) 17.85

Top-10 Rated Surfers After Figueira Pro 2000
1. S Garcia (Haw) —- 6930-points
2. L Egan (Aus) —- 6200
3. CJ Hobgood (USA) —- 5500
4. R Machado (USA) —- 5450
5. M Campbell (Aus) —- 5370
6. S Dorian (Haw) —- 5250
7. J Paterson (Aus) —- 5170
8. F Padaratz (Brz) —- 5090
9. T Burrow (Aus) —- 4960
10. C Lopez (USA) —- 4910