Huge World Title Showdown Expected In Brazil Defending Champ Taj Burrow Withdraws Due To Injury

Wednesday 26 October, 2005Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil

NOVA SCHIN FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY BILLABONG (30 October — 9 November)

EVENT #10 ON THE FOSTER’S ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) MEN’S WORLD TOUR

Live on aspworldtour.com

Huge World Title Showdown Expected In BrazilDefending Champ Taj Burrow Withdraws Due To Injury

The focus of the sporting world will shift to Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil from this coming Monday, 30th October as the The Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong gets underway.

The event, the 10th on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour will play host to one of the hottest showdowns for world championship glory in the history of pro surfing as Andy Irons (HAW) attempts to score his fourth world crown and in doing so thwart Kelly Slater’s (USA) hopes of gaining a seventh.

Slater, who has dominated the 2005 tour, has made finals on five occasions this season, claiming four victories at Tahiti, Fiji, Jeffreys Bay and California and one second placing (behind Irons) in Japan. He currently sits in number one on the ratings with 7896 points and could potentially claim the crown here in Brazil.

Irons meanwhile, by his own admission, had a slow start to the year but has well and truly hit his straps after claiming wins at both Japan and most recently in France. He lurks behind Slater with 7128 points and a win here will keep his title hopes alive going into the last event of the year at Iron’s favourite location — Pipeline, Hawaii. After his French victory Irons showed his determination screaming “Bring on Brazil! to the masses.

Post France, Slater and Irons are the only men still in contention for the 2005 world crown and as Slater has admitted several times, if anyone can accomplish the feat of coming from behind to win it’s Andy Irons.

It’s a similar situation to 2003 where Irons won at Pipeline, leapt past Slater who was in the number one slot, then claimed his second world title. For Slater the scars from that year ran deep as he quoted earlier in the year: “It took me till the win in Tahiti this year to get over what happened in 2003.

Slater therefore will be eager to wrap up the title here at the Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong and establish himself as the greatest surfer of all time.

If any one of the following situations take place, Slater will clinch the title in Brazil:If Irons were to come in fifth place, Slater needs only to finish better than 33rd and the title is his. If Irons were to get a third, Slater will win by finishing fifth or better. If Irons were to get second, Slater needs to finish third or better to clinch, and if both make the final, Irons has to win to keep his title hopes alive entering Hawaii. If he loses, Slater will earn his seventh world crown.

Aiding the opening of an opportunity for a victory in Brazil for either surfer was the shock withdrawal of defending Nova Schin Festival champion Taj Burrow (AUS) who broke his foot while free surfing with some pro surfing buddies on NSW, Australia’s North Coast.

“I was freesurfing down at Yamba where I was attending Hitcho’s (former Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour surfer Luke Hitchings) wedding, said Taj. “It was on the day of his wedding and I went for a big air despite there being an ugly landing section. I knew all the boys were watching so I had to try and make it.

“I knew I wasn’t going to land it right and when I did my toes curled up under my foot and I’d never felt pain like it. I was carried to the hospital and the X-Ray revealed my foot was broken. I now have to wear a boot for about six weeks.

Burrow was obviously disappointed with not being able to defend his title but more so was shattered at not being able to gain a solid finish and climb further up the ratings. In both France and California Taj finished equal third and is currently ranked 6th.

“I’m devastated that I can’t go and defend my Nova Schin Festiival title. But that’s what happens I guess. But I guess it could have happened at a worse time, it’s just a little forced holiday! (laughs) I’m excited that I’ll be back by Pipe, especially since I’ve had two 3rds in the last two events and am still in 6th. I really wanted to get a good result in Brazil and move up higher. But I guess I’ll just have to wait till Pipe.

The Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong is supported by the Schincariol Group, the State Government of Santa Catarina and Tropical Brazil.

Live webcast: via aspworldtour.com