Honolulu – (November 29, 2007) – For two days running, Australian Daniel Ross has set the pace at the $125,000 O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. Ross now lays claim to the two highest heat scores of the competition, which is the second stage of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
On the back of yesterday’s 18.77 point two-wave heat total, Ross returned today, in slightly smaller six- to 10-foot faces, to post 18.53 points. He now advances to the round of 64, where the top 32 guns of the meet enter the draw.
It has been a stellar event so far for the 24-year-old who needs an excellent result to make his dream of qualifying for the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour in 2008 a reality.
Pure power surfing was the order of the day today and Ross proved he could effectively match the conditions and switch gears from yesterday’s tube-riding to today’s top-to-bottom conditions.
Catching a total of five waves during the 30-minute heat, it was his first two that dealt the blow and ended the event for South African pair Ricky Basnett and Damien Fahrenfort – a near-perfect 9.7 and an 8.83.
“I’m feeling good and I was ready to surf some heats out here,” said Ross. “For the waves to turn on and for me to position myself to do well out here feels unreal.. it all come together.
“I’ve always done well here, I’ve got off to a really good start, but just haven’t put it together toward the end of the contest.”
Ross has had some solid mentoring from two Australians whose names are permanently etched into the World Cup trophy: brothers Jake and Paul Paterson who own three of these titles.
“I’ve just been hanging out with Jake and Paul, sitting on the beach, watching it and talking about it, trying to take in a little bit of what they say. Those guys have done well here for years and whatever they say has been really helpful.
“I’m pretty confident with the way I surf out there and with my conditioning so I’ve just got to keep it going.”
Ross might be waving the Aussie flag high so far in this event, but it’s way too early in the game to think that local Hawaiian knowledge will take a back seat to enthusiastic, international tour surfers.
Marcus Hickman is almost the antithesis of Ross in this event; a Sunset Beach local who knows the break like the back of his hand, and whose only interest in the Qualifying Tour is generating enough points to simply get a start in this particular event. Being such a coveted and highly rated 6-star event, entry is limited to the top ranked surfers on the World Qualifying Series tour.
“When it’s bigger like this, it becomes more of a skate park compared to a half-pipe, which is what it can be like dealing with small waves around the world,” said Hickman.
“Because there’s so much ground out here and we have a half hour, it’s not about tactics. You can’t play tactics out there. When I have an opportunity to just surf and not bother with tactics, that’s when I can really do my best.
“The feeling is good for this event. This is my eighth WQS event this year. I just try to do enough contests to be able to get into this one.
“My goal is totally to go out there and win every heat. I expect it from myself. I’ll only lose if I beat myself – if I make mistakes.”
Other heat winners today included Brazilians Leonardo Neves, Yuri Sodre, William Cardoso and Marcelo Trekinho; Englishman Russell Winter; and Hawaii’s Sean Moody.
The excellent surf continued for a third day today and there is more swell on the horizon. The O’Neill World Cup, the second stage of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, has until December 6 to run to completion. Surfline.com forecasts a full week of swell ahead, ranging in size from six to 25-feet-plus. But winds will be the major deciding factor, with adverse conditions anticipated in the coming days.
When competition resumes it will be with the entrance of the top seeds in the round of 32.
The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing 2007 can bbe watched live at www.surfspot.com. For more info on the event, log on to www.triplecrownofsurfing.com or www.aspworldtour.com.