Mark Occhilupo is no stranger to a comeback. He famously resurrected himself to win the 1999 World Title after spending the better part of the 90’s battling personal demons. Now, at age 46, Occy seems to be mounting another charge.
At the start of the year he penciled himself into a couple of WQS events using his ‘past world champ’ status to try and earn a spot in the Triple Crown in Hawaii. Then, in March, at the Margaret River Prime event, hwent on a tear in the pumping swell, making it to the semi-finals. Going into the Lowers Prime, Occy sat at 39th in the World Rankings.
Three days into the Nike Lowers Pro and Occy has been one of the most talked about surfers of the event. A convincing victory today over 3 WCT-level competitors in the round of 48, and it seems like even Occy is starting to believe.
“Now that I’m getting a good result here… you know…what am I thinking… everyone’s asking me that… If there was a mid-year cutoff this year I’d be awfully close.. I’ll just have to have a look at the schedule..”
The Occ will be surfing again tomorrow in heat 8 of the round of 24.
photos by patrick hourihan, more over here.
Nike Lowers Pro No Losers Round of 24:
Heat 1: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 17.13, Glenn Hall (IRL) 15.03, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.77
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 17.17, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 13.86, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13.26
Heat 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 17.87, Gabe Kling (USA) 15.50, Taylor Knox (USA) 12.23
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.23, Cory Lopez (USA) 15.67, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.06
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.53, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.06, Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.33
Heat 6: Granger Larsen (HAW) 18.43, Heitor Alves (BRA) 17.00, Brett Simpson (USA) 14.74
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.17, Jay Thompson (AUS) 13.60, Blake Thornton (AUS) 13.20
Heat 8: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.53, Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 13.83, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8.57
Nike Lowers Pro Round of 48 Results:
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.90, Granger Larsen (HAW) 16.77, Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.93, Charles Martin (GLP) 6.87
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (USA) 16.60, Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.30, Heath Joske (AUS) 13.80, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.27
Heat 9: Heitor Alves (BRA) 17.70, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.27, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.00, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 7.66
Heat 10: Jay Thompson (AUS) 15.60, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.13, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.90, Jano Belo (BRA) 10.10
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.10, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 14.53, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 13.77, Hank Gaskell (HAW) 11.87
Heat 12: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 14.10, Blake Thornton (AUS) 13.83, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.17, Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.40