Irons In Form At The Quiksilver Pro Fiji

May 26, 2003 (Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji) Reigning world champion AndyIrons (Kauai, Haw) controlled his opening round clash in theQuiksilver Pro. The US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) resumedwith remaining round one heats, before completing five heats of the secondelimination round.

Clean 4-5 ft (1.5m) surf was on offer at Cloudbreak, with big walls formaneuvers and the occasional long tube ride. Cross-shore winds increasedthroughout the afternoon.

Irons, who is equal first on the current ratings with six-time world champKelly Slater (FL, USA), dominated the day’s opening heat against two-timeworld champ and Quiksilver Pro wildcard Tom Carroll (Syd, Aus) and PatO’Connell (CA, USA). The Kauaian began with a gliding floater and series ofbackhand re-entries for an 8.5, and then bettered this with three tubes onhis next wave for a 9.1 and combined total of 17.6 to set the day’s pace.

“I was really happy with how things went,” began Irons. “There were a lot offun waves at the beginning and I got a couple of scores, which paid off. Itwas amazing to be out there with Tom. He’s one of my heroes and always hasbeen. I’ve grown up watching all of his movies and just seeing him surf isamazing. To be out in the lineup with him in a heat was pretty cool.

“Now I get a bit of time off to hang with the boys on the Island and have agood time,” he added. “Tavarua is incredible and I love coming here. I’lljust get psyched for the next round, and hopefully we’ll get a bit moresize.”

Defending Quiksilver Pro champion Mick Lowe (Windang, Aus) overcame world #2Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) and Trials wildcard Fred Patacchia (Haw) inhis first showing of the 2003 tournament. The 26-year-old opened his accountwith one of the day’s best scores of 9.17, and despite trailing toward theend due to a lack of good rides, was able to carve his way directly intoround three following his final 7.47 scoring wave.

“I was lucky enough to start off with a 9.17 early on,” said Lowe.”Thankfully I had the inside position for the last wave which came through.

“Anywhere else in the world this would be an incredible day to hold anevent, he added. “You expect a lot coming to Fiji, but it was still perfectout there.”

Parkinson later met wildcard Carroll in round two’s opening heat. Despiteestablishing an early lead, 41-year-old Carroll was soon reminded of theleft hip injury he had been suffering before flying into Fiji. Turning offthe bottom on his second ride, he felt the muscle below the hip joint pop.He tried to continue the heat and actually locked in his best ride for a 6.0next wave, but was then forced to accept his injury would only worsen, andso returned to the marshalling boat for medical attention.

“It’s really unfortunate,” said a disappointed Carroll afterwards. “It’spart of the injury I was carrying, and I guess I applied a little morepressure than I did in my earlier heat. I went into a bottom turn andsquatted hard, and the muscle, or something in my hip, didn’t handle. Itried to ride another wave, but there was no way I could perform to where Iwant to. Injuries are part of being a professional sports person. You’reconstantly working with your body and that’s your engine, so it’s got to bereally highly tuned. It’s put under a lot of pressure, especially during theact of what you’re doing.

“I had high hopes of being here,” he added. “But it just gave up on me then.I have a family at home and a brand new little girl, so it’ll be good totake care of her now.”

Parkinson, who broke the fin off his surfboard at the start of the heat andwas trailing before Carroll left the lineup, eventually found some scores toadvance into round three.

“It was a strange heat,” acknowledged Parkinson. “I thought I broke my boardlanding a floater, but when I looked it was fine, so I caught another waveand it started sliding out, as I didn’t have a back fin. I swapped boards,but then Tom hurt himself. He w winning, and I just figured he waschanging his board until the jet ski drivers told me about his hip. I stillneeded a score though, so glad I got the win and am out of that round.”

Quiksilver Trials winner Troy Brooks (Gold Coast, Aus) continued his greatfortune at Cloudbreak, defeating world #4 Taj Burrow (West Australia) andTaylor Knox (CA, USA) with a fantastic last 8.8 ride in the dying seconds oftheir round one clash. The World Qualifying Series (WQS) campaigner – whoplaced equal fifth in the 2000 Quiksilver Pro, again as a wildcard – sat forthe majority of the heat before securing his round three berth.

“I was pretty lucky,” admitted Brooks. “I fell off on a couple earlier inthe heat. I had one score, but needed an 8.6 on my last wave. Taj and I weresitting out the back jostling for position. The wave came through and I tookoff, realizing I needed to get barreled to make the heat. I pulled in andfought with it, and was lucky enough to come out and get the score I needed.

“I love this wave,” he added. “It’s sort of tricky on your backhand, butit’s fun too. You can do all sorts of turns and get barreled – it offerseverything. I had the Trials yesterday, and the conditions were kind ofsimilar, so I went out with the same game plan. I started further up thereef and got a good wave at the start. My first score was in the opening30-seconds and my last in the final 30-seconds, so there was like 29-minutesin between when I didn’t do too much (laughs).”

Burrow later advanced over wildcard Fred Patacchia (Haw), while world #5Mick Fanning collected a 9.6 en-route to victory over South African wildcardTravis Logie in their second round decider.

“All the wildcards are tough,” said Burrow. “I saw Fred ripping in all hisfreesurfs, so I knew it would be hard. I had a really close heat with’Brooko’ this morning and he got me in the last couple of seconds. I reallywanted to get through that scary 33rd place round.”

Trent Munro (Scott’s Head, Aus) locked in the day’s best single and combinedheat scores. Against fellow Australians Darren O’Rafferty (Port Macquarie)and Danny Wills (Byron Bay), the 24-year-old picked off a near-perfect 9.6and then another 8.53 for a combined tally of 18.11. Still recovering frommajor knee reconstruction he underwent last year, Munro is aided by a sturdyknee brace while surfing.

“This set came through and reeled off down the reef so perfectly,” saidMunro of his best wave. “It didn’t section at all, so there was no room formistakes and it was a high scoring ride. No barrel, but top-to-bottom turnsall the way.

“It seems to be getting better everyday,” he added, of his knee. “I have abit of trouble with it in colder water, as I’m wearing my brace over awetsuit, but it seems to feeling much better and I’m hoping to be out of thebrace soon.”

Damien Hobgood (FL, USA) comfortably advanced past Flavio Padaratz(Florianopolis, Brz) and Nathan Webster (Narrabeen, Aus) with a solidperformance. Despite late charges from his opponents, the Floridian manageda couple of good forehand barrels for two strong scores of a 9.17 and thenan 8.8 on his final ride for a combined total of 17.97-points.

“I actually got a really good one and a score, so I knew I could wait forthe better waves,” explained Hobgood. “It just so happened every time I waspaddling out a set was coming. It’s really good to have a heat like that andI had a great time out there.”

Brazilian Guilherme Herdy controlled his heat with fellow countryman VictorRibas and Shea Lopez (FL, USA) from the start. The goofyfooter – who securedhis best result to date with a runner-up finish at the 2000 Quiksilver Proin Fiji – actually missed last year’s tournament due to a perforatedeardrum. After paddling further down the shallow reef break this morninghowever, he was rewarded with the heat’s best waves and moved directly intothe third round.

“I was sitting too far out the back, but then I moved to the inside sectionand caught two good sets,” explained Herdy. “It’s a good start to thecontest and I hope to continue getting those kinds of waves. I love theseconditions and hope we get some more swell. Last year was hard for me as Ihad an eardrum problem in Tahiti and missed that event and then Fiji, so I’mvery happy to be here again.”

1999 event and world champion Mark Occhilupo – who missed his first roundheat – was narrowly eliminated this afternoon by fellow Australian BeauEmerton. Their round two match proved an inconsistent exchange, with thelead changing on the final two waves. Emerton, who replaced injured 2000world champion Sunny Garcia (Haw), was ultimately given the judges nod ofapproval.

“When I saw the draw and knew I had ‘Occy’… he’s such a tough competitorand he’s won here before,” said Emerton. “It was unfortunate for both of usthough, as it could have been a really good heat. There just weren’t anywaves at all. We just happened to have one of those heats with lulls in itand I managed to scrap into a couple of average rides to get through. I hadan amazing week in Tahiti, so I’m just looking at it heat by heat again, asyou never know what can happen.”

The day’s last heat between Dean Morrison (Gold Coast, Aus) and Tim Curran(CA, USA) also proved a close battle. While the Californian locked in theheat’s best single score with a 9.1, the nail-biter ultimately went to theAustralian courtesy of his 6.17 score toward the end.

“That was my first surf out there as I missed my first heat,” beganMorrison, who figured the swell would not arrive until later this week. “Ididn’t really know where to sit and was lucky to get my last wave and alittle tube and they (the judges) gave it to me, so I was stoked.”

WCT newcomer Danilo Costa (Brz), who last week earned a career high byreaching semifinals in Tahiti to place equal third, suffered the oppositefate here in Fiji. During his opening heat of the Quiksilver Pro yesterday,the Brazilian possibly broke a bone in his foot and has since be forced towithdraw from the tournament, allowing Shane Powell (Avoca, Aus) a’walk-through’ into round three.

You can follow the event daily on http://www.quiksilver.com

Quiksilver Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.6; Tom Carroll (Aus) 15.0; Pat O’Connell (USA) 14.7
H9: Michael Lowe (Aus) 16.64; Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.67; Fred Patacchia(Haw) 10.7
H10: Troy Brooks (Aus) 15.63; Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.4; Taylor Knox (USA) 12.06
H11: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 16.5; Victor Ribas (Brz) 10.74; Shea Lopez (USA)7.9
H12: Richie Lovett (Aus) 15.5; Cory Lopez (USA) 14.94; Fabio Gouveia (Brz)9.6
H13: Damien Hobgood (USA) 17.97; Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 13.7; Nathan Webster(Aus) 13.57
H14: Lee Winkler (Aus) 13.1; Shane Powell (Aus) 12.67; Shane Dorian (Haw)10.17
H15: Trent Munro (Aus) 18.13; Daniel Wills (Aus) 14.84; Darren O’Rafferty(Aus) 13.07
H16: Michael Campbell (Aus) 16.17; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 12.17; Armando Daltro(Brz) 12.17
Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd, receives US$3,000)H1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 11.9 def. Tom Carroll (Aus) 9.83
H2: Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.5 def. Fred Patacchia (Haw) 11.34
H3: Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.1 def. Travis Logie (SAfr) 10.0
H4: Beau Emerton (Aus) 11.0 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 10.0
H5: Dean Morrison (Aus) 14.17 def. Tim Curran (USA) 9.1
Remaining Round Two heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd, receives US$3,000
H6: Shea Lopez (USA) vs. Luke Stedman (Aus)
H7: Cory Lopez (USA) vs. Tom Whitaker (Aus)
H8: Shane Dorian (Haw) vs. Chris Davidson (Aus)
H9: Daniel Wills (Aus) vs. Toby Martin (Aus)
H10: Neco Padaratz (Brz) vs. Victor Ribas (Brz)
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
H12: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Nathan Webster (Aus)
H13: Luke Hitchings (Aus) vs. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus)
H14: Nathan Hedge (Aus) vs. Armando Daltro (Brz)
H15: Danilo Costa (Brz) vs. Shane Powell (Aus)
H16: Phil MacDonald (Aus) vd caught two good sets,” explained Herdy. “It’s a good start to thecontest and I hope to continue getting those kinds of waves. I love theseconditions and hope we get some more swell. Last year was hard for me as Ihad an eardrum problem in Tahiti and missed that event and then Fiji, so I’mvery happy to be here again.”

1999 event and world champion Mark Occhilupo – who missed his first roundheat – was narrowly eliminated this afternoon by fellow Australian BeauEmerton. Their round two match proved an inconsistent exchange, with thelead changing on the final two waves. Emerton, who replaced injured 2000world champion Sunny Garcia (Haw), was ultimately given the judges nod ofapproval.

“When I saw the draw and knew I had ‘Occy’… he’s such a tough competitorand he’s won here before,” said Emerton. “It was unfortunate for both of usthough, as it could have been a really good heat. There just weren’t anywaves at all. We just happened to have one of those heats with lulls in itand I managed to scrap into a couple of average rides to get through. I hadan amazing week in Tahiti, so I’m just looking at it heat by heat again, asyou never know what can happen.”

The day’s last heat between Dean Morrison (Gold Coast, Aus) and Tim Curran(CA, USA) also proved a close battle. While the Californian locked in theheat’s best single score with a 9.1, the nail-biter ultimately went to theAustralian courtesy of his 6.17 score toward the end.

“That was my first surf out there as I missed my first heat,” beganMorrison, who figured the swell would not arrive until later this week. “Ididn’t really know where to sit and was lucky to get my last wave and alittle tube and they (the judges) gave it to me, so I was stoked.”

WCT newcomer Danilo Costa (Brz), who last week earned a career high byreaching semifinals in Tahiti to place equal third, suffered the oppositefate here in Fiji. During his opening heat of the Quiksilver Pro yesterday,the Brazilian possibly broke a bone in his foot and has since be forced towithdraw from the tournament, allowing Shane Powell (Avoca, Aus) a’walk-through’ into round three.

You can follow the event daily on http://www.quiksilver.com

Quiksilver Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.6; Tom Carroll (Aus) 15.0; Pat O’Connell (USA) 14.7
H9: Michael Lowe (Aus) 16.64; Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.67; Fred Patacchia(Haw) 10.7
H10: Troy Brooks (Aus) 15.63; Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.4; Taylor Knox (USA) 12.06
H11: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 16.5; Victor Ribas (Brz) 10.74; Shea Lopez (USA)7.9
H12: Richie Lovett (Aus) 15.5; Cory Lopez (USA) 14.94; Fabio Gouveia (Brz)9.6
H13: Damien Hobgood (USA) 17.97; Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 13.7; Nathan Webster(Aus) 13.57
H14: Lee Winkler (Aus) 13.1; Shane Powell (Aus) 12.67; Shane Dorian (Haw)10.17
H15: Trent Munro (Aus) 18.13; Daniel Wills (Aus) 14.84; Darren O’Rafferty(Aus) 13.07
H16: Michael Campbell (Aus) 16.17; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 12.17; Armando Daltro(Brz) 12.17
Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd, receives US$3,000)H1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 11.9 def. Tom Carroll (Aus) 9.83
H2: Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.5 def. Fred Patacchia (Haw) 11.34
H3: Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.1 def. Travis Logie (SAfr) 10.0
H4: Beau Emerton (Aus) 11.0 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 10.0
H5: Dean Morrison (Aus) 14.17 def. Tim Curran (USA) 9.1
Remaining Round Two heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd, receives US$3,000
H6: Shea Lopez (USA) vs. Luke Stedman (Aus)
H7: Cory Lopez (USA) vs. Tom Whitaker (Aus)
H8: Shane Dorian (Haw) vs. Chris Davidson (Aus)
H9: Daniel Wills (Aus) vs. Toby Martin (Aus)
H10: Neco Padaratz (Brz) vs. Victor Ribas (Brz)
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
H12: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Nathan Webster (Aus)
H13: Luke Hitchings (Aus) vs. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus)
H14: Nathan Hedge (Aus) vs. Armando Daltro (Brz)
H15: Danilo Costa (Brz) vs. Shane Powell (Aus)
H16: Phil MacDonald (Aus) vs. Flavio Padaratz (Brz)
s) vs. Flavio Padaratz (Brz)