Thursday, September 16, 2004 (Lower Trestles, CA, USA) Californian wildcard Dane Reynolds today created a massive upset by eliminating world champion Andy Irons (HAW) from the Boost Mobile Pro of Surf Presented by Quiksilver. Round two of the Foster’s men’s ASP World Championship Tournament (WCT) was contested in good, yet inconsistent 4ft (1.3m) peak conditions.
Reynolds, who has been touted as California’s biggest star of the future, supported the hype this morning with a monumental victory. In a painfully slow heat for waves, the 20-year-old took the lead with his first 7.0 ride, before the current ratings leader answered back with a higher 7.83 score. At the halfway mark, Reynolds then picked off a long lefthander and executed a series of fast, super crisp backhand re-entries down the line for 8.5-points and a strong lead.
Irons, meanwhile, sat an agonizing 20-minutes for another chance to perform. When it came within the final 60-seconds, he utilized every inch of the clean righthander, but it only offered a 6.77 when 7.68-points were required. Visibly furious at receiving his first 33rd place finish since Mundaka, Spain, last October, the Kauaian stormed off minus the surfboard he’d discarded inside the competitors area. Nonetheless, the 26-year-old holds a commanding lead on the current ratings and no matter what unfolds during the Boost Mobile Pro he cannot be overtaken.
“I’m a mix of emotions, began Reynolds afterward. “Cause I’m a wildcard I’ve got nothing on the line and I sort of feel bad if I beat these guys, but I wasn’t going to let him step over me. I happened to get the better waves out there and it kind of went flat for him, so luckily I came out on top. I watched his last wave from the back and he surfed it really well, so I thought I’d lost… when I heard the score I was so stoked (laughs).
“I’m excited, as I’ve never made a heat in one of these events, but it happened in the hardest one I could get, he continued. “Things aren’t going to get any easier now, so it’ll be tough, but we’ll see what happens.
Reynolds meets six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA) in heat #8 of tomorrow’s third round.
2001 world champ CJ Hobgood (FL, USA) then capitalized on the situation by defeating former world #2 and local wildcard Rob Machado. Following two wins on the WCT this year in Tahiti and more recently Japan, Hobgood is currently Iron’s closest rival and ensured a tighter world title race by advancing further today. The Floridian landed a couple of aerial maneuvers, as well as snuck out of a rare backhand barrel at Lower Trestles to surge ahead.
“I knew that was a big, big opportunity, acknowledged Hobgood. “I told myself, ‘this could be my whole year. If I want to fight, this is it, right here.’ I knew there was a lot at stake for me, but Rob obviously wants to go out there and do good, and he’s one of the best surfers in the world. You don’t get too many opportunities to go at a world title though, and I realize that. I’m been on tour for this, so I tried to seize the moment and things started going my way. I hope I can keep it going.
World #5 Joel Parkinson, together with fellow Australian world title contenders Mark Occhilupo and Taj Burrow each secured big wins. ‘Parko’ eliminated Hawaiian wildcard Jamie O’Brien, while Burrow put on a fantastic display of progressive surfing to beat local hero and former world #2 Shane Beschen.
1999 world champ ‘Occy’ was the standout though, collecting the best single score of the tournament so far with his near-perfect 9.63 backhand attack against France’s Eric Rebiere. Putting the 38-year-old’s performance into true perspective, he was already a tour veteran prior to young wildcard Reynolds’ birth.
“I just dialed into some really good waves, reasoned Occhilupo. “My board felt great and I hit that wave in all the right spots. There’s an opportunity for all of us now that Andy has been knocked out. I’m feeling really good, so you never knoww what could happen. Wave selection’s paramount, so I’ll just take a leaf out of that heat and try to put it on the tree (laughs).
Raoni Monteiro (BRA) created another upset by eliminating current ratings #10 Michael Lowe (AUS). The 22-year-old Brazilian missed last tournament due to the birth of his first child – daughter Vitoria — but has taken the added responsibilities to improve on his current standing of 39th position. He fought back with a couple of good rides towards the end of their match.
“My baby just changed my life, stated Monteiro. “I’m a dad now, even though I’m only 22-years-old. I’m really stoked to have a daughter, and just want to do my best now and concentrate.
2002 Boost Mobile Pro winner Luke Egan (Gold Coast, AUS) contested another of the wave-starved heats, ironically against Andy’s younger brother Bruce Irons (Kauai, HAW). Almost half of the heat had elapsed prior to Egan’s first ride, and it wasn’t until more than two thirds were gone before Irons did likewise. The Australian’s second and final wave worth just 5.67-points sealed his progression.
Darren O’Rafferty was able to edge out 2000 world champ Sunny Garcia (HAW) with two eight plus scores in his tally. Garcia secured the second best ride of the tournament for 9.57-points midway through, but was unable to find the 6.83 he required for the final 10-minutes.
“I couldn’t believe he never caught another wave after that 9.57, said O’Rafferty. “He only needed a small score for the last 10-minutes, but there wasn’t any waves. Stoked for me.
Kalani Robb kept the Hawaiian flag flying this afternoon, accounting for Brazilian Neco Padaratz with a solid showing. Following his equal third placing in Japan last WCT, the current ratings #20 appears to have become a late bloomer this season.
“I usually do really good in Tahiti, Fiji and places like that, began Robb. “But I haven’t done well in any of those this year, so it was a big surprise for me. The contests I don’t usually do well in seem to be working out this year, so I guess I’ve flopped it. I’ve been feeling good in all of my heats, but I think a bit more luck seems to be flying my way now.
Californians Taylor Knox and Tim Curran were another couple of high scorers today, eliminating Australians Beau Emerton and Phil MacDonald by massive margins.
The third annual Boost Mobile Pro of Surf Presented by Quiksilver is the only WCT event held in North America. For complete coverage: www.boostmobilepro.com. Round three will resume tomorrow at 8:30am (local time).
Boost Mobile Pro Round Two Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
H1: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.5 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 14.6
H2: CJ Hobgood (USA) 17.67 def. Rob Machado (USA) 14.57
H3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.16 def. Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 9.17
H4: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 17.96 def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 12.67
H5: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.67 def. Shane Beschen (USA) 11.56
H6: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 14.77 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 12.84
H7: Luke Egan (AUS) 12.17 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 5.0
H8: Taylor Knox (USA) 17.4 def. Beau Emerton (AUS) 12.37
H9: Daniel Wills (AUS) 16.77 def. Toby Martin (AUS) 15.0
H10: Lee Winkler (AUS) 14.6 def. Nathan Webster (AUS) 12.5
H11: Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 16.4 def. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 16.07
H12: Paulo Moura (BRA) 14.16 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 9.83
H13: Kalani Robb (HAW) 16.0 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 9.53
H14: Tim Curran (USA) 17.37 def. Phil MacDonald (AUS) 4.27
H15: Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 15.56 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.5
H16: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 13.3 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 11.83