Padaratz Defeats Irons To Win Quiksilver Pro France

Padaratz Defeats Irons To Win Quiksilver Pro France

Hossegor, France (Sunday, October 6) Neco Padaratz (Brz) today overcame a serious back injury and current ratings leader Andy Irons (Haw) to win the inaugural Quiksilver Pro France and collect US$30,000 prizemoney. The US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) recommenced this morning with quarterfinal action and then reached its climax this afternoon with the grand finale showdown.

Great 4ft (1.3m) waves were on offer at Seignosse this morning, with left and right peak conditions. After the second semifinal organizers opted to relocate further north up the beach to Estagnots due to an increasing tide, where the main decider then unfolded in hollow, yet difficult surf.

Padaratz, 26, was rated #43 leading into the Quiksilver Pro France. A herniated disc in his lower back forced him to miss three tournaments this year and continues to affect his ability to surf as desired. Throughout this event, however, he put mind over matter to secure his first victory since winning a WCT in 1999 as an event wildcard at Huntington Beach, USA, and has jumped into 31st position.

Against Irons in today?s 35-minute final, the Brazilian trailed for the majority before using priority with less than seven minutes remaining to post a brilliant 9.5 ride. His series of fast forehand snaps and a long floater earned the most during the decider, and his combined three-wave total of 23.85 points left the Hawaiian searching for another worth 7.61 from the judges.

?I?m having a problem and am not 100 percent, but want to come back ?cause I love this and it?s my life,? said an emotional Padaratz following the final. ?This is where my son gets food from and I work every single day of my life for it. Where I live is a really hard place and we have to fight like lions. Luckily there are people in the world who like what we can do in the surf.

?Andy is one of my best friends and he?s such a good surfer,? he continued. ?I?ve learned so much from him. We?ve been competing together since the juniors in ?94 (when Neco lived in California for three years). We knew the waves were getting worse the whole time then, and we were talking about it, wondering why we couldn?t have better waves to put on a bigger show. I trailed the whole heat, but then the 9.5 came. Otherwise it would have been his. I have so much respect for him in the water.?

Irons, who won back-to-back WCT?s earlier this year for a solid ratings lead, today extended his position with the runner-up finish. The 24-year-old opened his final campaign with a 9.0 and appeared destined for another win, but was unable to bridge the gap created by his opponent?s best ride.

?That was the turning point, for sure,? agreed Irons. ?When we first got out the waves had good form and you could get some turns off, but towards the middle it just turned to closeouts. It was pretty tough conditions. He had priority and the wave was a really good one. I?m stoked for him though, he?s had a hard year and it couldn?t happen to a nicer guy.

?That?s my goal,? he continued, on increasing his ratings lead. ?I just want to edge it up there. At the beginning of the year I wasn?t really thinking about it, but halfway through the year now the chance is getting better and better. I?m psyching heading into Mundaka (next WCT in Spain), and want to extend my lead for sure. If it?s pumping it?ll be an incredible show. I love getting backhand barrels, so I hope to have a good event.?

Equal third today were six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) and current #2 Luke Egan (Aus). Both lost dramatic semifinals clashes and received US$10,000.

Slater, who surfed patiently and led for most the heat against Irons, had a finals berth snatched by his opponents? last ride. The Hawaiian required an 8.76, and after executing a series of critical maneuvers out the back, fell at the end to put his fate in the hands ofhe judges. They ultimately deemed the ride a 9.0 and the Floridian was dealt his second consecutive third placing, since he chose not to compete in the last WCT in Portugal.

?It didn?t look like a very good wave to me and he didn?t complete it,? said Slater, of Irons last ride. ?It?s frustrating, as just on the size of the wave I didn?t think he was going to get the score. I?d have to see the ride on video to know what the judges saw, but compared to the other waves we had, I didn?t think it was a nine. That?s the way it goes though. Andy?s having a great year and surfing great. There?s really no one better to lose to, if you?re going to lose somebody.

?Getting another semifinal (result) keeps you hungry to win an event,? he continued. ?If you win an event you get excited and feel confident, but you might not have as much momentum going into the next. I?m feeling good and looking forward to Mundaka.?

Egan then held the lead for the first half of his semifinal with Padaratz, even though his opponent had already secured a 9.0. Once the Brazilian locked in his second high scoring 7.9 ride, however, the Australian required an 8.66. The goofy footer picked off two solid right-handers within the final three minutes to leave the crowd guessing, but both scored slightly less than he needed. Padaratz then found another fantastic 8.9 ride in the dying minute to seal it.

?Yeah, I thought my second last wave was enough,? reasoned Egan. ?I was pretty disappointed, actually. I went upside down about five times and it felt like my highest scoring wave of the heat. I?m stoked with a third, but I was just itching to get in the final with Andy and have a go at it. I?m still in the hunt though and there?s supposed to be a big swell next week, so hopefully we can throw the 6?4?s away and ride some 7?4?s and get some caves (barrels).?

Finishing equal fifth in the Quiksilver Pro France were Luke Hitchings (Aus), Kalani Robb (Haw), Damien Hobgood (USA) and Jake Paterson (Aus). All were defeated this morning in their quarterfinals matches.

Robb, who needed a near-perfect 9.66 ride toward the end of his bout with fellow Hawaiian Irons, picked off a fantastic right-hander and proceeded to belt vertical re-entries all the way down the line to post 9.35-points and be narrowly eliminated.

?It just goes to show how incredible everyone is surfing,? said Robb, following his last wave. ?He made me surf my best, as that was definitely one of my best heats. He pushed me a lot, as we?ve been surfing together all our lives. I?m stoked I got the score I did at the end, that?s what I really wanted to do for everyone on the beach.?

Paterson held an early lead against fellow Australian Egan in quarterfinal four, but after losing priority for an average wave, his opponent posted the best single score of the day for a near-perfect 9.6 to advance.

?There were so many good waves in our heat, but I made a couple of mistakes,? admitted Paterson. ?I took a bad wave with my priority and the next wave he got was a 9.6, so I should have waited. I?m just stoked to make it this far and I gave it my all.?

Two Mitchell Surfing Foundation (MSF) Expression Sessions were held prior to and following the Quiksilver Pro France final, with US$5,000 bonus prizemoney up for grabs in each. 1989 world champion Martin Potter (UK) and reigning two-time ASP world masters champion Gary Elkerton (Aus) filled in as judges, awarding the most creative and futuristic surfing they witnessed accordingly. Results follow.

Official results of the Quiksilver Pro France

1st Neco Padaratz (Brz) 23.85 – US$30,000

2nd Andy Irons (Haw) 23.25 – US$16,000

Semifinals (1st > Final; 2nd=3rd, receives US$10,000)

SF1: Andy Irons (Haw) 16.75 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.5

SF2: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 17.9.def. Luke Egan (Aus) 16.75

Quarterfinals (1st > semifinals; 2nd=5th, receives US$8,000)

QF1: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.75 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 14.0

QF2: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.65 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 17.35

QF3: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 15.75 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.5

QF4: Luke Egan (Aus) 17.1 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 15.9

Current ratings after the Quiksilver Pro France WCT #8

1 Andy Irons (Haw) 5,852-points

2 Luke Egan (Aus) 5,334

3 Michael Lowe (Aus) 4,900

4 Danny Wills (Aus) 4,882

5 Joel Parkinson (Aus) 4,844

6 Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 4,672

=7 CJ Hobgood (USA); Shea Lopez (USA) 4,568

9 Kalani Robb (Haw) 4,506

10 Damien Hobgood (USA) 4,492

11 Cory Lopez (USA) 4,476

12 Mick Fanning (Aus) 4,420

13 Taj Burrow (Aus) 4,296

14 Kieren Perrow (Aus) 4,152

15 Peterson Rosa (Brz) 4,044

16 Sunny Garcia (Haw) 3,992

MSF Expression Session Heat #1

Most Innovative Maneuver ? CJ Hobgood (USA) US$1,500

Most Radical ? Danny Wills (Aus) US$1,500

Best Aerial ? Kalani Robb (Haw) US$1,500

Most Entertaining ? Jake Paterson (Aus) US$500

Heat #2

Most Innovative Maneuver ? Taj Burrow (Aus) US$1,500

Most Radical ? Flavio Padaratz (Brz) US$1,500

Best Aerial ? Shea Lopez (USA) US$1,500

Most Entertaining ? Fabio Gouveia (Brz) US$500

For more information:

Jesse Faen

Media Director, ASP Int?l

jesse@aspworldtour.com

www.aspworldtour.com

Mobile (on-site): +33-(0)-6-0934-6475

ASP Int?l office (Aus): +617-5599-1550

Phil Jarratt, Quiksilver Europe

phil.jarratt@quiksilver-europe.com

Ph: +33-0-5-5951-5782

French Media

Cathy @ AOP: +33-0-6-1404-1716

payerne@club-internet.fr

Simon Wootton, Quiksilver Europe Media

Simon.Wootton@quiksilver-europe.com

Digital images will be available free of charge from Pierre Tostee/ASP: tostee@aspworldtour.com
A) 14.75 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 14.0

QF2: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.65 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 17.35

QF3: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 15.75 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.5

QF4: Luke Egan (Aus) 17.1 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 15.9

Current ratings after the Quiksilver Pro France WCT #8

1 Andy Irons (Haw) 5,852-points

2 Luke Egan (Aus) 5,334

3 Michael Lowe (Aus) 4,900

4 Danny Wills (Aus) 4,882

5 Joel Parkinson (Aus) 4,844

6 Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 4,672

=7 CJ Hobgood (USA); Shea Lopez (USA) 4,568

9 Kalani Robb (Haw) 4,506

10 Damien Hobgood (USA) 4,492

11 Cory Lopez (USA) 4,476

12 Mick Fanning (Aus) 4,420

13 Taj Burrow (Aus) 4,296

14 Kieren Perrow (Aus) 4,152

15 Peterson Rosa (Brz) 4,044

16 Sunny Garcia (Haw) 3,992

MSF Expression Session Heat #1

Most Innovative Maneuver ? CJ Hobgood (USA) US$1,500

Most Radical ? Danny Wills (Aus) US$1,500

Best Aerial ? Kalani Robb (Haw) US$1,500

Most Entertaining ? Jake Paterson (Aus) US$500

Heat #2

Most Innovative Maneuver ? Taj Burrow (Aus) US$1,500

Most Radical ? Flavio Padaratz (Brz) US$1,500

Best Aerial ? Shea Lopez (USA) US$1,500

Most Entertaining ? Fabio Gouveia (Brz) US$500

For more information:

Jesse Faen

Media Director, ASP Int?l

jesse@aspworldtour.com

www.aspworldtour.com

Mobile (on-site): +33-(0)-6-0934-6475

ASP Int?l office (Aus): +617-5599-1550

Phil Jarratt, Quiksilver Europe

phil.jarratt@quiksilver-europe.com

Ph: +33-0-5-5951-5782

French Media

Cathy @ AOP: +33-0-6-1404-1716

payerne@club-internet.fr

Simon Wootton, Quiksilver Europe Media

Simon.Wootton@quiksilver-europe.com

Digital images will be available free of charge from Pierre Tostee/ASP: tostee@aspworldtour.com