[IMAGE 1] Egan, 30, made the most of the deteriorating conditions during the final heat, electing to catch a few of the smaller waves and build his tally early, while Herdy waited in vain for the less consistent sets. Though the surf was still in the six-foot range, increased wind made the wave faces very difficult to ride, and Herdy was left needing 5.16-points when the match finished.
“It doesn’t get much better,” laughed Egan as he boarded the marshaling boat victorious. “Having your two best mates sitting there with you (referring to Australians Matt Hoy and Mark Occhilupo, who were first to congratulate him in the water). I did it to Occy last year when he won, and he just did it to me – it’s the best.
In regard to the conditions, he reasoned: “It could have been better. The waves weren’t very good and I decided to catch a couple of little ones and it worked. I just felt really on today and it’s a great feeling.”
Speaking about his second Quiksilver Pro title and now being placed second in the world after today’s result, Egan added: “Yeah, there’s something good about this… Fiji Bitter (he joked as a local beer was handed to him mid-quote). I’m actually stoked to be the only guy to ever win this event twice and I’ve won it in two different spots. I feel good about that.
“I’ve been trying really hard and have made a lot of sacrifices, so I’m going for it(the world title).”
Herdy, rated 31st in the world at the end of last year, showed his talent in hollow lefts today defeating Hawaiian Shane Dorian in their quarter-final, American CJ Hobgood in the semi’s, before meeting his match in Egan. The Brazilian is now rated sixth on the current ratings.
[IMAGE 2] “Congratulations to Quiksilver for doing this contest one more time,” said a beaming Herdy after the final. “I’m so stoked. I didn’t win, but second place is very important for me for the points. I hope next event I have the same luck I had here and surf good waves.
“Congratulations to Luke, he won the heat and got the best waves. Second place here is like a dream though. Every surfer in the world dreams about this contest and to be here. I am one of those guys. I was in the water, was in the final, you know? It was a close heat and maybe if I had a little bit more time I could have got it, but no problem, I’m still stoked.”
Equal third today went to Americans CJ Hobgood and Cory Lopez. Hobgood was unlucky during his semi-final with Herdy, as the waves just seemed to stop during the 30-minute clash.
“I just couldn’t catch a wave,” said Hobgood later. “There were great waves before our heat, but then nothing came. I felt I could have won, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Lopez, who has been suffering from a sore back the past couple of months, surfed great throughout the event, but similarly to Hobgood, was unable to find the waves he needed during his heat against Egan. Still, the result has pushed him into third position on the ratings.
Current world champion and defending Quiksilver Pro winner Mark Occhilupo was another casualty of Egan today, losing in their quarter-final. The close friends put on a fantastic performance, however, posting the two highest total scores of the entire event, with Egan earning a perfect 10-point ride to win the classic battle 26.70 to 25.25-points.
“There was a lull at the start of the heat and I didn’t think it was going to turn on,” explained Occhilupo. “I can’t really think of any mistakes I made, maybe just going that 9.25 ride and letting Luke get that 10! I saw him get that second tube and he committed himself and deserved to win the heat – he surfed insane. I hope he wins; I pray he wins.”
Egan, who did just that, summed up the incredible heat with ‘Occy’ as follows: “We surf together a lot and when we get together for a heat we both push ourselves, I think, and have the all-time heats. It’s an eerie feeling when we draw each other, as you know each other are going to try so hard. It’s epic to have great heats like that with your mate.”
Troy Brooks, 21, who entered the Quiksilver Pro as a replacement surfer for Great Britain’s Russell Winter, finished fifth today, losing to Lopez in their quarter-final. In what was another great match-up, Brooks posted a 9.80-point ride, the highest of any natural-foot (left foot forward) surfer in the event, though still not enough to advance.
“I saw Cory’s 9.40 and thought ‘Oh, no,'” explained Brooks. “I needed a good one and got priority, then that bomb came. It barreled down the whole reef and I just came out. It does favor Goofy-footers out here, as you have to ride higher up the face on your backhand. For someone who wasn’t expecting to even be in the event, though, you’ve got to be happy with fifth.”
[IMAGE 3] Official Results of Quiksilver Pro Fiji 2000
1. L Egan (Aus) US$15,000
2. G Herdy (Brz) US$8,000
=3. CJ Hobgood (USA); C Lopez (USA) US$4,000
=5. T Prestage (Aus); S Dorian (Haw); T Brooks (Aus); M Occhilupo (Aus)US$3,000
Current ASP Ratings after Quiksilver Pro Fiji 2000 (Top 10)
1. S Garcia (Haw) 3000-points
2. L Egan (Aus) 2620
3. C Lopez (USA) 2340
=4. F Padaratz (Brz); Taj Burrow (Aus) 2260
6. G Herdy (Brz) 2160
7. M Occhilupo (Aus) 2140
8. S Dorian (Haw) 2110
9. L Hitchings (Aus) 2080
=10. M Campbell (Aus); S Beschen (USA) 1910