Quiksilver Pro Update From Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast, Australia

Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile
Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile
Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast, Australia.
March 1st to 13th

CATCH IT LIVE ON: quiksilver.com; roxy.com; aspworldtour.com

Wildcard Faces Re-match with World Champion

Local lad Luke Munro faces a daunting rematch with three-time world champion Andy Irons (Hawaii) after he became the sole surviving wildcard in the Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast today.

The sudden-death second round of the Association of Surfing Professionals Foster’s Men’s World Tour event got underway in pristine three-to-four foot (1.5m) conditions beneath equally flawless skies and in front of a capacity crowd of surf and sun worshippers.

While Californian Dane Reynolds (USA) and fellow wildcard Shaun Gossman (Aus) both tumbled, Munro, 22, stared down ruthless Brazilian Peterson ‘The Animal’ Rosa in a thrilling encounter.

The duo went tit-for-tat in the mechanically perfect point waves, at one stage up and riding simultaneously on separate waves, both securing excellent high-scoring barrel rides punctuated by radical forehand turns.

Munro held off a determined Rosa to win the heat 14.17-12.33.

“It’s just such a relief to get through that heat, said Munro, who hails from Currumbin on the southern Gold Coast.

“I was really nervous surfing against Peterson Rosa. They call him The Animal — he’s just this Brazilian who never, ever gives up. He can pull eights out of anywhere.

Munro’s victory set up a Round three confrontation with Irons, who only just pipped the Gold Coast surfer in the third round of last year’s Quiksilver Pro by smartly utilizing priority tactics.

“I’ll be looking at going at least one better, Munro said. “I’m feeling really good, my boards are going well and I’m just taking it one heat at a time.

Defending Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile champion Mick Lowe kept his title defense alive with a hard-fought win over WCT debutant and fellow Aussie Kirk Flintoff.

In a wave-starved encounter, Wollongong’s Lowe notched a high-scoring 7.83-point ride early but had to wait until the dying minutes to seal victory with a 6.10-point back-up wave.

Lowe was delighted with the result after the disappointment of losing his first-round heat on Thursday by a fraction of a point.

“That 33rd (place) round is the about the hardest round, observed the likeable goofy footer.

“Kirk’s the new guy on the block and I didn’t really know what to expect from him. Lucky enough for me it sort of went flat towards the end ’cause I think if a set had of come, Kirk would have got the score.

Fresh from being inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame, Gold Coast veteran Mark Occhilupo – who has announced plans to retire at the end of this season – scored a convincing win over Brazil’s Renan Rocha.

‘Occy’, the 1999 world champion and who at 38 is easily the oldest surfer on the tour, also had to dig deep to extract the most from an inconsistent ocean as the tide dropped. He went on to down Rocha 11.50 to 8.73.

“I was definitely nervous because it might be last year, said Occy, whose display was chock full of trademark powerhouse backhand maneuvers. “It’s a different kind of pressure that I haven’t felt before.

“I settled down but I needed more waves. I was lucky to get through with what I had.

Occhilupo, who would like nothing better than a maiden Quiksilver Pro victory in his testimonial season, was hopeful a new swell tipped for early next week would materialise.

“I’m stoked I made it through because there’s a rumour there’s a swell coming, he said.

As the morning progressed and an onshore wind sprang up, Californian rookie Chris Ward (USA) made a mockery of the deteriorating conditions to amass a near-perfect heat score of 19.5 points out of a possible 20 to blitz Hawaii’salani Robb.

Living up to his reputation as one of the most exciting new talents on the tour, Ward’s tally included a scintillating 10-point ride in which he executed a mind-boggling aerial, floaters and a devastating off-the-lip snap.

“The conditions were just perfect … rippable, a couple of tubes, Ward enthused. “Guess I lucked into the two best waves of the heat so I’m stoked.

Sydney’s Nathan ‘Hog’ Hedge (Aus), who finished a career-best seventh last season, had a hard-fought win over Californian wildcard Dane Reynolds in the opening heat of the day.

“I’m wrapped — I’m out of that danger round now, Hedge said. “It’s almost better than going straight into Round three because I’ve had another heat out there and I had a win. It’s 33rd place and its do or die.

Florida’s World No.9 Damien Hobgood had a close tussle with local wildcard Shaun Gossman, who showed his intimate knowledge of the peeling Snapper break with some super-smooth tube rides.

But Hobgood ultimately prevailed with a tally of 15.33 points, including a stunning 8.83-point ride in which he sped and weaved his way through the barrel before unleashing a series of explosive backhand re-entries.

“It knew it was going to be hard — it’s definitely Gossy’s conditions out there, Hobgood said of the tight-winding low-tide tubes. “I was really stoked with the win — Gossy’s a great guy and a great surfer.

In other results 2003 Quiksilver Pro winner Dean Morrison (Australia) advanced over Florida’s Shea Lopez (USA), former world number two Dan Wills (Byron Bay, Australia) defeated American newcomer Tim Reyes and Australian Tom Whittaker eliminated fellow countryman Toby Martin, before round two competition was called off for the day with three heats remaining.

A Guinness World Record attempt is planned for approximately 11:00am tomorrow with more than two-dozen of the world’s best surfers endeavoring to ride a wave simultaneously while standing on a single 40-foot long surfboard. The construction of the monstrous craft, a super-sized replica of WCT surfer Dan Wills’ (Byron Bay, Aus) normal 5’11 surfboard — has already set a world record for the biggest-ever surfboard.

More than 300 litres of resin, 1/2 ton of foam and 220 metres of fibre glass were required to build the board which cost AUD$50,000 and took Australian shaping identity Nev Hyman one month to complete. 30 people will be needed to carry it down the beach!

Gold Coast local and round one standout Bede Durbidge currently holds the lead in co-sponsor Evian’s specialty award, the “Evian Longest Tuberide for negotiating an awesome six-second tube ride during his opening heat. Durbidge eclipsed rides by Peterson Rosa (Brazil) and Munro who had both logged four-second tubes and is now the frontrunner for the AU$5,000 bonus prize.

Roxy Pro tour rookie Claire Bevilacqua (WA, Aus) leads the women’s division with a four second tube negotiated on day one.

The Grand Final of the Quiksilver World Airshow Series is on standby tomorrow with the one hour decider to feature the four highest ranked aerial surfers on the 2004 ratings – Josh Kerr (Gold Coast, Qld, Aus), Asher Pacey (Kingscliff, NSW, Aus), James Catto (Gracetown, WA, Aus), Dion Agius (Currumbin, Qld, Aus) – plus wildcard Ry Craike (Kalbarri, WA, Aus). The winner will walk away with a cool AUD$12,500.

The Quiksilver Pro Presented by Boost Mobile, and the Roxy Pro Presented by Boost Mobile, are both made possible by the support of the Gold Coast City Council.

Quiksilver Pro Presented by Boost Mobile Round 2 results:
(1st>round three; 2nd>33rd place/225 points/US$3,600)

H1: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 13.34 def Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.57
(H2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.33 def Shaun Gossman (ZAF) 13.33
(H3: Luke Munro (AUS) 14.17 def Peterson Rosa (BRZ) 12.33
(H4: Victor Ribas (BRZ) 14.16 def Jake Paterson (AUS) 10.00
(H5: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 11.50 def Renan Rocha (BRZ) 8.73
(H6: Michael Lowe (AUS) 13.93 def Kirk Flintoff (AUS) 12.50
(H7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.04 def Cory Lopez 12.70
(H8: Chris Ward (USA) 19.50 def Kalani Robb (HAW) 12.50
(H9: Daniel Wills (AUS) 15.67 def Tim Reyes (USA) 9.57
(H10: Phil Macdonald (AUS) 15.10 def Luke Stedman (AUS) 10.84
(H11: Dean Morrison (AUS) 14.16 def Shea Lopez (USA) 6.50
(H12: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 13.50 def Paulo Moura (BRZ) 10.97
(H13: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.17 def Toby Martin (AUS) 12.67

Remaining Round Two heats:
(H14: Tim Curran (USA) v Marcelo Nunes (BRZ)
(H15: Taylor Knox (USA) v Raoni Monteiro (BRZ)
(H16: Bruce Irons (HAW) v Lee Winkler

Upcoming Round Three heats:
(H1: Luke Egan (AUS) v Frederick Patacchia (HAW)
(H4: CJ Hobgood (USA) v Travis Logie (ZAF)
(H5: Sunny Garcia (HAW) v Mick Fanning (AUS)
(H6: Damien Hobgood (USA) v Shane Beschen (USA)
(H8: Andy Irons (HAW) v Luke Munro (AUS)
(H9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) v Victor Ribas (BRZ)
(H11: Nathan Hedge (AUS) v Greg Emslie (ZAF)
(H13: Kelly Slater (USA) v Bede Durbidge (AUS)
(H15: Taj Burrow (AUS) v Chris Ward (USA)) 12.50
(H7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.04 def Cory Lopez 12.70
(H8: Chris Ward (USA) 19.50 def Kalani Robb (HAW) 12.50
(H9: Daniel Wills (AUS) 15.67 def Tim Reyes (USA) 9.57
(H10: Phil Macdonald (AUS) 15.10 def Luke Stedman (AUS) 10.84
(H11: Dean Morrison (AUS) 14.16 def Shea Lopez (USA) 6.50
(H12: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 13.50 def Paulo Moura (BRZ) 10.97
(H13: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.17 def Toby Martin (AUS) 12.67

Remaining Round Two heats:
(H14: Tim Curran (USA) v Marcelo Nunes (BRZ)
(H15: Taylor Knox (USA) v Raoni Monteiro (BRZ)
(H16: Bruce Irons (HAW) v Lee Winkler

Upcoming Round Three heats:
(H1: Luke Egan (AUS) v Frederick Patacchia (HAW)
(H4: CJ Hobgood (USA) v Travis Logie (ZAF)
(H5: Sunny Garcia (HAW) v Mick Fanning (AUS)
(H6: Damien Hobgood (USA) v Shane Beschen (USA)
(H8: Andy Irons (HAW) v Luke Munro (AUS)
(H9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) v Victor Ribas (BRZ)
(H11: Nathan Hedge (AUS) v Greg Emslie (ZAF)
(H13: Kelly Slater (USA) v Bede Durbidge (AUS)
(H15: Taj Burrow (AUS) v Chris Ward (USA)