Lowe Dominates Second Round With Perfect Ride

Lowe Dominates Second Round With Perfect Ride

May 11, 2003 (Teahupoo, Tahiti). World #6 Michael Lowe (NSW, Aus) todayposted the first perfect 10-point ride of this year’s Billabong ProTeahupoo. Round two of the US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT)was completed in solid conditions, with most top-rated surfers advancing.

A swell increase overnight resulted in great 6-8 ft (2.5m) waves. Sunnyskies persisted for most the day, though the occasional rainsquall did passoverhead and cool off those watching from boats in the channel.

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Lowe, who has suffered a disappointing start to this year’s season with acouple of early losses, again found himself in the ‘losers’ second roundthis morning. Against fellow Australian Nathan Webster (Narrabeen, NSW),however, the 26-year-old quickly made his intentions known. After emergingfrom a long, critical barrel on his second ride, the goofy footer wasrewarded a perfect 10 and seemingly untouchable lead. A classic competitiveheat transpired though, with Webster fighting back tenaciously to earn an8.33 and then a 7.83 for the advantage. As the final minutes elapsed he alsoheld priority, but then made a crucial error with only 30-seconds remaining.

Webster had first option of anything he wanted, while his opponent stillrequired another score worth 6.16-points. Lowe smartly played down the facthe wanted the approaching wave, swinging around at the very last moment andthen somehow managed to find the necessary speed to escape from the barrelas it raced down the shallow reef. He earned an 8.57 to advance with thehighest combined tally of the event so far with 18.57-points.

“I was just so lucky to get that really good wave at the start,” said arelieved Lowe. “It probably made me relax a little too much and then I had apretty nasty wipeout which put me behind a bit. I was so excited, trying tocatch as many waves as I could, but I should have just waited and caughtbetter waves to improve my score. ‘Webby’ surfed a great heat, except in thelast 30-seconds he had priority and let me go. That wave was a roll of thedice – it either was or wasn’t going to be enough – but I had an inklingthat it was, so I tried not to paddle too fast so he wouldn’t go. I playedit cool, as if it wasn’t a good wave, and then I turned really quickly andcaught it. Two pumps down the line and it stayed open for me.

“It was definitely on the cards for me,” he added, of being eliminateddespite his perfect ride. “I wasn’t real happy with the heat I surfed, butI’m really happy to have made it through. I hope I don’t surf a silly heatlike that for the rest of the event.”

1999 world and event champion Mark Occhilupo (Gold Coast, Aus) was the day’sbiggest upset, being eliminated by WCT newcomer Danilo Costa (Brz). The36-year-old trailed for most the heat, but then made a strong comeback andultimately lost by less than a point. Requiring an 8.18 score to advance,the powerful goofy footer emerged from a double barrel on his last wave, butonly received a 7.47 and was therefore eliminated, finishing equal 33rdoverall.

“I didn’t surf a great heat at the start,” acknowledged Occhilupo. “I waspicking the wrong waves, but I got myself back in the heat with a 7.83 andneeded an 8.18 at the end. I thought my last wave was twice as good as my7.83, but they (the judges) gave me a lower score. I stuck my hands up atthe judges, which I haven’t done for years, but I was really upset. Ithought for sure it was going to be the score I needed. Anyway, that’ssurfing (laughs).

Costa, who was the last to qualify for the 2003 WCT in 45th position,created a strong lead with some clean forehand barrels. Using a newsurfboard – since he broke his main one during a free-surf session earlier -the Brazilian acknowledged being less than confident prior to the clash, butextremely pleased with the favorable outcome.

“Since I’m the lowest seed on the ratings, I always go against the biggestnames,” explned Costa of the match-up. “I know Occy’s a really big nameand a really good surfer. He’s won the contest here before, so I was sostoked to beat him. I need more good results to move up the ratings. I hopeto catch waves like that in my other heats. I feel so good now as it’s thefirst heat I’ve made this year on the WCT. It was the first time on thatboard too, as I broke my other one during the free-surf. I wasn’t sure howit would go, but it went all right and I caught some good waves.”

World #2 Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) won the day’s opening match overlocal hero and Teahupoo specialist Vetea ‘Poto’ David. The 22-year-oldlocked in an 8.17 early on for a comfortably lead in inconsistent heat.While the Australian changed surfboards at one stage, his experiencedopponent actually lost his after being caught inside by a large set ofwaves. Regardless, the Tahitian never gave up and milked his last wave forall its worth to post a needed 8.6 and brief lead. Parkinson, however, wason the wave directly behind and bettered his lowest score with another 5.83to seal victory.

“I really wanted to make a heat cause I haven’t in the past two years here,”explained Parkinson. “I sort of blew my first heat against Jake Paterson,and then heard I was against ‘Poto’, so I thought my chances were prettyslim.

“I figured there were going to be some really good ones for our heat, butthen it just stopped,” he continued. “A set came and Poto got cleaned upwhile I caught a good one. That was basically it for waves. I looked at hislast one and thought there was no way he’d get an eight, but he knows how totube ride and of course he got two barrels. I was just lucky there wasanother little one that allowed me to better my three into a five and I gotit, so I’m stoked.”

World #5 and 2002 ASP ‘Rookie of the Year’ Mick Fanning (Gold Coast, Aus)faced good friend and local Air Tahiti Nui VZ Trials winner Alain Riou.While both were caught behind the section on many waves and Fanning actuallybroke two surfboards during the exchange, he still managed the superiorrides. His final one, in particular, was a great tube rewarded with a 9.1from the judges.

“It was tricky out there,” said Fanning. “I broke a couple of boards, but amjust stoked to get through. Alain stayed at my house for four months at thestart of the year and we’ve become good friends, so it was hard coming upagainst him, especially since I’m using his house here.

“Alain’s waves seemed to crumble and didn’t barrel at all,” he continued. “Ihad a few of the same and got smashed a couple of times. At the end I had togo that wave and it turned out to be a good one. I tried to drag my backside(to stay in the tube longer), but I can’t do it too well (laughs). I don’treally think I’m too good out here, but I’m just trying to catch the bigones and get shacked off my head like everyone else. I’m trying to have fun,as it’s not everyday you get to surf Teahupoo with only one other guy out.”

Dean Morrison, who won the year’s opening WCT at home on Australia’s GoldCoast, followed the lead of his good mates to eliminate Californian TimCurran. In what was another inconsistent heat for waves, ‘Dingo’ foundrhythm with the set waves and collected a near-perfect 9.77 score. Theusually reserved Morrison couldn’t contain his emotions, claiming the epictube upon exiting. Curran also emerged from two barrels on one wave for a7.5, but was unable to find another strong score.

“I thought I was a little too deep, but then at the last second I saw it wasgoing to open up so I went,” explained Morrison of his tube. “It was reallyclean and let me go straight through and I got a good score. As soon as Iclaimed it I thought ‘oh, why did you do that for?’ I know Mick and Joelwon’t let me live that one down for a while (laughs).”

2001 event winner Cory Lopez (FL, USA) put an end to Brazilian VictorRibas’s campaign. The Floridian was a standout during the massive swellprior to the tournament’s waiting period, and again displayed the confidenceand knowledge to win at Teahupoo. Although Ribas had injured himselfyesterday by hitting his surfboard severely enough to require a number ofstitches, he opted to contest the match today as best he could.

“I was a little nervous as you’ve always got to worry about the injuredguys,” reasoned Lopez afterward. “I’ve always done really well injured, andwhoever got the really good waves could make it.

“I was excited to get back in the water,” added the Floridian. “All thosebig days (prior to the contest) were insane. We had a couple of tow-in daysand plenty of 6-8ft days with just perfect waves. After all those days itgot smaller and I actually hurt myself, so I hadn’t surfed since then. Goodto get back in the water and start surfing again. Hopefully the waves willimprove for the later rounds and get even bigger.”

Hawaiian Shane Dorian was another to post a commanding win over BrazilianFabio Gouveia. The world #16 locked in a great 9.5 tube ride, but laterstated big scores come with the territory of surfing a venue such asTeahupoo.

“It’s always nice to make it out of that 33rd (place) round,” began Dorian.”I’ve been surfing out here all week and feeling really confident, so I’mjust stoked to get a couple of waves and make a heat and build somemomentum. It was all wave selection out there. Doesn’t matter who you’reagainst, if a good wave comes it’s too easy to get a big score.”

Internet users are able to watch all the surfing action live from theBillabong Pro Teahupoo. Simply log onto http://www.BillabongPro.com andenjoy the show.

Official Billabong Pro Teahupoo Men’s Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd,receives US$3,000)

H1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.0 def. Vetea David (Tah) 11.97
H2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 15.7 def. Alain Riou (Tah) 8.86
H3: Danilo Costa (Brz) 16.0 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 15.3
H4: Dean Morrison (Aus) 17.5 def. Tim Curran (USA) 11.67
H5: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 13.9 def. Luke Stedman (Aus) 9.0
H6: Taj Burrow (Aus) 12.67 def. Tom Whitaker (Aus) 2.23
H7: Luke Egan (Aus) 10.77 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 4.83
H8: Cory Lopez (USA) 16.33 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.57
H9: Trent Munro (Aus) 12.33 def. Phil MacDonald (Aus) 9.0
H10: Shane Dorian (Haw) 16.33 def. Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 10.77
H11: Michael Lowe (Aus) 18.57 def. Nathan Webster (Aus) 16.16
H12: Shane Powell (Aus) 16.2 def. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 15.37
H13: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 10.0 def. Michael Campbell (Aus) 4.07
H14: Richard Lovett (Aus) 15.83 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 5.6
H15: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 15.57 def. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 2.43
H16: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 8.0 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 7.93
ment’s waiting period, and again displayed the confidenceand knowledge to win at Teahupoo. Although Ribas had injured himselfyesterday by hitting his surfboard severely enough to require a number ofstitches, he opted to contest the match today as best he could.

“I was a little nervous as you’ve always got to worry about the injuredguys,” reasoned Lopez afterward. “I’ve always done really well injured, andwhoever got the really good waves could make it.

“I was excited to get back in the water,” added the Floridian. “All thosebig days (prior to the contest) were insane. We had a couple of tow-in daysand plenty of 6-8ft days with just perfect waves. After all those days itgot smaller and I actually hurt myself, so I hadn’t surfed since then. Goodto get back in the water and start surfing again. Hopefully the waves willimprove for the later rounds and get even bigger.”

Hawaiian Shane Dorian was another to post a commanding win over BrazilianFabio Gouveia. The world #16 locked in a great 9.5 tube ride, but laterstated big scores come with the territory of surfing a venue such asTeahupoo.

“It’s always nice to make it out of that 33rd (place) round,” began Dorian.”I’ve been surfing out here all week and feeling really confident, so I’mjust stoked to get a couple of waves and make a heat and build somemomentum. It was all wave selection out there. Doesn’t matter who you’reagainst, if a good wave comes it’s too easy to get a big score.”

Internet users are able to watch all the surfing action live from theBillabong Pro Teahupoo. Simply log onto http://www.BillabongPro.com andenjoy the show.

Official Billabong Pro Teahupoo Men’s Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd,receives US$3,000)

H1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.0 def. Vetea David (Tah) 11.97
H2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 15.7 def. Alain Riou (Tah) 8.86
H3: Danilo Costa (Brz) 16.0 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 15.3
H4: Dean Morrison (Aus) 17.5 def. Tim Curran (USA) 11.67
H5: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 13.9 def. Luke Stedman (Aus) 9.0
H6: Taj Burrow (Aus) 12.67 def. Tom Whitaker (Aus) 2.23
H7: Luke Egan (Aus) 10.77 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 4.83
H8: Cory Lopez (USA) 16.33 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.57
H9: Trent Munro (Aus) 12.33 def. Phil MacDonald (Aus) 9.0
H10: Shane Dorian (Haw) 16.33 def. Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 10.77
H11: Michael Lowe (Aus) 18.57 def. Nathan Webster (Aus) 16.16
H12: Shane Powell (Aus) 16.2 def. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 15.37
H13: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 10.0 def. Michael Campbell (Aus) 4.07
H14: Richard Lovett (Aus) 15.83 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 5.6
H15: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 15.57 def. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 2.43
H16: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 8.0 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 7.93