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Carroll Delegated To Surf Off; Quarterfinalists Decided
Bundoran, Ireland (Monday, September 3rd) Two-time (1983-’84) world championand #1 seed Tom Carroll (Aus) was today delegated to a ‘surf-off’ heat inthe 2001 Quiksilver Masters. Round three and four were completed in both theMasters (aged 35-43) and Grand Masters (44+) divisions, though a four-waytie in the ‘juniors’ is yet to be broken for the two remaining quarterfinalpositions.
Surf at ‘The Peak’ remained 3-4 foot (1.3m) throughout the day, but becameincreasingly difficult with the afternoon tidal push.
Carroll, 39, began his event campaign with a win in round one. He thenplaced second in yesterday’s match-up, and again this morning, beforecollecting an unexpected third in the crucial fourth round decider. In doingso, his cumulative total amounted to 21-points, equally that of HansHedemann (Haw), Glen Winton (Aus) and Mike Parsons (USA).
“I just couldn’t find the right wave to get any rhythm,” said Carroll, whois still recovering from knee surgery, after his last match. “I wanted to doa really good turn on my best wave, but I can’t really bend down low on myknee, so I freaked out at the last minute. That would have been such a goodwave for me, so it was a bummer.
“We’re all in the same boat,” he continued of the surf-off. “It will betough for sure, but that’s life. We’ll see how it goes.”
Defending Masters champion Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton (Aus), 1989 world championMartin Potter (UK), and three-time (1985, ’86 & ’90) world champion TomCurren (USA) secured their quarterfinal berths already, however, as eachearned a perfect total of 30-points with three impressive wins in thepreliminary rounds.
Elkerton, 37, claimed two matches today, including the final one overCarroll. Proving cold water doesn’t faze him, he continued to surf in boardshorts, extremely charged up to defend his crown.
“I’m ready for the quarterfinals now,” said Elkerton. “My equipment is goingreally well.
“Believe it or not, it’s not that bad in the water,” he reasoned, in defenseof wearing shorts. “When I free-surf I like to wear wetsuits so I can stayout longer, but in 30-minutes I have too many other things to think about.”
Potter, 35, who has been in devastating form all event, proceeded to take itto another level this morning, posting a near perfect 9.85 score on oneride. Riding a different surfboard, and focusing on the lefthanders for achange, he continued his blistering attack after opponent (and now fellowquarterfinalist) Dave Macaulay (Aus) had set the pace with his own 9.5.
“I’m just trying to turn up the heat every time I go out,” said Potter. “Butyeah, absolutely, I’m saving the best for last.”
1993 world champion Derek Ho (Haw), together with 1988 world champion BartonLynch (Aus) tied for a cumulative total of 27-points. Ho, 36, picked up hissecond win this afternoon against Winton, Mitch Thorson (Aus), and localIrishman Henry Moore.
“I grew up surfing a spot in Hawaii called Sandy Beach that is almostidentical to here, except for the weather,” explained Ho afterward. “Mybrother (Michael) and I were surfing 1-2 foot waves before we came over, soI think it’s paying off.”
Lynch, 38, also earned two victories today, as well as the highest totalscore of the event so far with 24.6-points this morning. After placingthird, and then second in his first two attempts, he turned things aroundagainst Carroll, Parsons and Winton. Later commenting on how his new boardspray seemed to make the difference.
“I feel like I’ve surfed pretty well in my other heats,” explained Lynch.”But I didn’t think I was being scored very well. So, I colored in the noseof my board red and all of a sudden the judges seemed to see something(laughs).
“Everyone is surfing really well this year,” he continued. “The standard’sincredible. Last year was the first time I went to thhe Masters and can tellpeople have put in a few more hours before coming here.”
Parsons, 36, clawed back into contention and the ‘surf-off’ heat by winningin round four with the second highest total of the day (24.5). While ‘Snips’unleashed an inspired performance, opponents Curren and Macaulay clearlydisplayed a more relaxed approach, allowing the eventual winner a virtuallyunhindered 30-minute battle with Rob Page (Aus), who was ultimatelyeliminated.
“I knew I had to win to get 21 points,” said Parsons. “Curren and Macaulaywere pretty cool. They let me and ‘Pagey’ have a little surf off. We’re allgood friends, and everyone wants to see everyone else do well, but at thesame time it’s competitive.
“I love surfing all size waves,” continued the recent US$60,000 big-wavechampion. “Of course I had the time of my life in big surf at the Cortesbank (USA). I got the ride of my life and that was awesome. But I like tostay competitive. In an event like this, for me, I get to surf against theguys I grew up trying to beat. So it’s really fun to all be together againand do a bit of battle.”
In the Grand Masters, defending champion Michael Ho (Haw), 1997 winner TerryRichardson (Aus), together with 1978 world & 1999 Masters champion Wayne’Rabbit’ Bartholomew (Aus) and Bobby Owens (Haw), all collected perfectcumulative totals of 30-points to progress.
Richardson, 45, who won both clashes today, aptly summed up his, and theperformances of others, in a prelude to coming rounds.
“I feel like I’ve started gaining momentum,” said Richardson. “A lot of guysweren’t able to get out of neutral. You’ve got to get into first gear inthese conditions and try and take off from there. Some guys are reachingsecond gear, but I’ll be looking for overdrive.”
Bartholomew, 46, also won both his matches despite recovering from Father’sDay (Aus) celebrations last night. His son Jagger was born earlier thisyear, and the proud dad dominated proceedings regardless of any hangover hemay have acquired.
“I’m stoked I ended up with three heat wins overall,” said Bartholomew. “Istarted slowly getting a 2nd first up, which was a bit of a reality check.There are no easy wins here.
“But on Father’s Day I met the Irish,” he joked, of the previous night’sfestivities. “I had a wonderful day and certainly celebrated it. For anathlete, even an old athlete, Bundoran is an extremely dangerous town(laughs).”
Simon Anderson (Aus) secured his spot in the quarterfinals with tworunner-up finishes today and a total of 27-points. Four-time consecutive(1979-82) world champ Mark Richards (Aus) made the cut, though he collecteda third place result in round four. And 1998 event winner Buzzy Kerbox (Haw)also advanced, with consistent second place finishes.
Last but not least, Paul Neilson (Aus) snuck through the preliminary roundswith a crucial win in his final match for 18 cumulative points. DanielFriedmann (Brz) could have stopped him on his last ride, but the Brazilianfell, with 1976 world champ Peter Townend (Aus) and Terry Fitzgerald (Aus)further behind in the judges’ eyes.
“That was bad luck, but handy for me,” said Neilson, of his Friedmann’sfall. “At least now I’m still alive (laughs).
“It’s wonderful being here,” he continued. “Harry Hodge (Quiksilver EuropeCEO), Bruce Raymond (Quiksilver Int’l CEO), Wayne (Bartholomew) and I wereactually on our way to Ireland back in 1977 to film a segment of a surfmovie, but we never made it. I’m sure it would have been quite a bitdifferent then, and we wouldn’t have had enough rubber (meaning warmwetsuits). It would have been ice-cream headaches for sure.”