Wednesday, December 3, 2003 (Sunset Beach, Haw) Californian Taylor Knoxtoday dominated round two of the Rip Curl Cup. The US$250,000 WorldChampionship Tournament (WCT) resumed this morning in good conditions, butorganizers ultimately opted to hold off for bigger waves before running anyfurther rounds of this year’s penultimate event.
Clean 6ft (2m) surf was on offer at Sunset, with some good barrels over theinside bowl section.
Knox, the current ratings #7, dominated his clash against local Hawaiianwildcard Love Hodel and together they eliminated Australians Beau Emertonand Shane Powell. The 32-year-old locked in the highest combined scores ofthe tournament so far with an 8.5 and then 9.1 tube rides. For hisAustralian opponents however, the losses came as heavy blows to their WCTre-qualification campaigns. Both are sitting right on the fence to make it,and will now have to rely on strong finishes at the final pressurized eventat Pipeline next week.
“I seem to get my best results when I lose my first heats, so it historypertains to this contest I might do pretty well. I was looking for thedouble ups, the waves that almost break way outside, but then apex on theinside. Just trying to take off as deep as I could, as I figured I waseither going to get a two or a 10, and nothing in between. I was hoping toget a good tube, and a good score.
“It’s one of those contests,” he added, of the venue. “You could get onegreat wave and then get lost at sea. It is the ‘Tour de France’ of surfingcontests, as you get a wave and then it can take you 10-minutes to getanother one. Mistakes are costly here.”
Current #4 Taj Burrow (West Aus) overcame an initial lead by Rip Curl CupTrials wildcard Manoa Drollet (Tah) to win this morning’s opening heat.Together they eliminated fellow Australian Lee Winkler – who finishedrunner-up in last year’s Rip Curl Cup, while their fourth opponent -Brazilian Armando Daltro – was forced to withdraw from the tournament acouple of days ago due to family reasons and returned home.
“It’s pretty tricky out there and you don’t really know what goes down in aheat,” explained Burrow. “You see guys take off and the wave barrel frombehind, but you don’t know if they’re in it, or what happened, and you can’thear scores. I’m so stoked to make it.
“For me the world title is a real long shot, so I don’t feel too muchpressure,” he added. “I feel like I can be relaxed and just go out there andsurf. I’m pretty sure I’d have to win both remaining events and the otherguys would have to lose early, which is unlikely. I’m just trying to havefun, but I’m sure the other guys are feeling it.”
Current ratings #8 Michael Lowe (Windang) won an extremely hard heat overfellow Australian Luke Hitchings (Bronte). The pair advanced past equallystrong Sunset surfers Pancho Sullivan (Haw) – one of the Rip Curl Cup mainevent wildcards – and Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen, Aus). Having finishedrunner-up in the 2001 tournament, Lowe is definitely considered one of themain contenders at the difficult venue, and will rely on his powerfulbackhand re-entries and committed approach.
“I’m really happy to get through as it was a really hard heat and could havebeen a final,” reasoned Lowe. “I got second here a couple of years agobehind Myles (Padaca), and always surf this break when I can. It seems to beworking so far, so hopefully I can get a result.”
Darren O’Rafferty (Port Macquarie) emerged from a great tube to score an8.67 and defeat fellow Australian Luke Egan (Gold Coast) this morning. Eganscrapped through the match ahead of Hawaiian wildcard Sean Moody andBrazilian Victor Ribas, after being involved with interference calls withboth. Due to a shortage of good waves, tension was running high as allscrambled to try and ensure advancement.
“Everyone was jostling for position out there,” said O’Rafferty. “There wasan interference early, and then another later on. Everyone is scratching toget tthrough, so it’s really tense. I just tried to stay as clear away fromthe hassling as possible. I was stoked to get my good one and score abarrel.”
Rip Curl Cup Trials winner Joel Centeio (Haw) survived another main eventround by placing second to Phil MacDonald (Aus) in their heat with SheaLopez (FL, USA) and Toby Martin (Aus). MacDonald dominated with some goodbarrels, but the 20-year-old also advanced ahead of his more experiencedopponents.
“It feels great,” began Centeio. “That last heat was tough. There weren’tmany waves, but I’m just super stoked to be making heats in a WCT. This ismy first one, so I hope I can keep it going. I’m just trying to do my ownthing and hopefully it pays off.”
Live heat scores, video and audio commentary are on www.ripcurl.com duringcompetition hours, with information available in four different languages,including English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
For full coverage of the Triple Crown of Surfing:www.triplecrownofsurfing.com
Rip Curl Cup Round Two (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd, 4th=33rd receive US$3,000)
H1: Taj Burrow (Aus) 14.07; Manoa Drollet (Tah) 11.67; Lee Winkler (Aus)6.33; Armando Daltro (Brz) 0.0
H2: Taylor Knox (USA) 17.6; Love Hodel (Haw) 11.03; Beau Emerton (Aus) 9.0;Shane Powell (Aus) 4.93
H3: Michael Lowe (Aus) 14.03; Luke Hitchings (Aus) 11.17; Pancho Sullivan(Haw) 9.33; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 9.07
H4: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 12.84; Luke Egan (Aus) 9.73; Sean Moody (Haw)5.93; Victor Ribas (Brz) 3.83
H5: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 14.44; Joel Centeio (Haw); Shea Lopez (USA); TobyMartin (Aus)
H6: Dean Morrison (Aus) 9.46; Luke Stedman (Aus) 9.4; Jamie O’Brien (Haw)9.26; Paulo Moura (Brz) 7.76
H7: Kalani Robb (Haw) 10.5; Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.17; Tim Curran (USA)8.46; Danilo Costa (Brz) 7.5
H8: Richard Lovett (Aus) 12.4; Jake Paterson (Aus) 11.67; Tom Whitaker (Aus)5.47; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 4.34