Martinez and Smith Lead Team O'Neill at Bells Beach
Another Strong Finish Down Under Keeps Duo in Top Five of 2010 ASP World Tour
Top O'Neill riders Bobby Martinez and Jordy Smith continue to impress
the field of this year's ASP World Tour and challenge legends of the sport along the way. Martinez and Smith finished equal third and fifth, respectively, at last week's Rip Curl Pro, an event that featured changing conditions at Bells Beach and three other nearby breaks off the coast of Victoria, Australia.
Martinez reached his second-straight semifinals by knocking off touted rookie Jadson Andre of Brazil in round four and 2009 Rip Curl winner Joel Parkinson in the quarterfinals, before succumbing to eventual event champion Kelly Slater in the semis. Martinez's eye-opening 15.10 to 11.40 win over Parkinson in the quarters was capped with an 8.83 wave, the second highest score of the round.
"I'm disappointed in my heat against Kelly, but it's good to reach the semis in the first two events this year," said Martinez. "Kelly seemed to step up after the foot injury and lock in some really nice waves in our heat. I had a great start and I wanted to win, but I'm taking that focus into the next event now."
One round earlier in the quarterfinals, Smith narrowly fell to Mick Fanning, 14.00 to 14.20, with a back-and-forth battle. Jordy reached the quarters with a third round win over Owen Wright, then bested O'Neill teammate Roy Powers, who pulled off one of the more impressive surprises of the week with a solid defeat over Dane Reynolds. Powers rebounded from a tough showing on the Gold Coast with an equal ninth-place result and jump in the world rankings following the week at Bells.
The two positive results in Australia leave Martinez and Smith in early contention for the 2010 ASP World Title, with Jordy currently ranked third and Bobby fourth. As the competition heads to South America, Smith realizes both surfers will need to improve their performances to challenge the best riders and remain in the hunt.
"Australia has been pretty good to us, but this is a long tour and we need to stay on our game to stay near the top," said Smith. "These past champions aren't going to let anyone just come in and win titles without a fight. Let's hope the positive momentum continues in Brazil."
The ASP World Tour next heads to Brazil for the Santa Catarina Pro from April 23 through May 2, 2010.
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O'Neill, the original California surf, snow and youth lifestyle brand, was founded in 1952 when a young man named Jack O'Neill took his unstoppable passion for surfing and used it to beat Mother Nature at her own game. Pioneering the world's first neoprene wetsuit, Jack had successfully found a way to extend his surf sessions in the bone-chilling breaks of Northern California. He opened up the garage doors to his first surf shop in Santa Cruz soon after.
While many things have changed since those humble beginnings, Jack's initial vision of producing functional and innovative boardriding products continues to lie at the core of everything the company does. O'Neill's core values – innovation in style and technology – have seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of the action sports lifestyle. From the first ever neoprene wetsuit and surf leash, to the world's first stitchless boardshorts and range of groundbreaking wearable electronics, O'Neill's progressive spirit will always drive
the company forward. For more information, please visit www.oneill.com.