WEDNESDAY 24 MAY, 2006
GLOBE WCT FIJI
21 MAY to 2 JUNE
EVENT #4 ON THE 2006 FOSTER’S ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) MEN’S WORLD TOUR
It was another stellar day in paradise today at the Globe WCT Fiji with competitors in round three revelling in the superb two metre (six foot) plus waves breaking at Cloudbreak today.
And with all surfers turning on some phenomenal performances, especially in the extra smooth conditions of the early morning, the standout of the day was Tim Reyes (USA) who posted an 18.06 out of a possible 20 to defeat tube specialist Bruce Irons (HAW).
The diminutive Reyes picked up the ball at the very beginning of his heat, locking in an 8.83 for a horrendously deep and long tube ride, then ran all the way to the touch line as he dusted off Irons in fine style.
With Irons waiting patiently for the biggest waves on offer, Reyes was working away on the inside section getting deep, deep barrels on his backhand.
Irons launched a comeback with eight minutes to go after a scorching barrel had him back in the firing line when he scored an 8.10 — but it was all too late and Reyes was home and hosed.
“Bruce is capable of pretty much anything. He is one of the best backside tube riders in the world, said a beaming Reyes. “His style pretty much suits any tube the world has to offer. I knew I had to get a couple of deep ones so I paddled way up the point which was making it really hard to beat the section but I scored some amazing waves.
“Bruce had priority for a while so I just kept working away. It seemed like the best waves were the ones that looked like they were going to close out and they were the ones I was going for.
Reyes has been on a roll throughout 2006 and is going from strength to strength in each heat he surfs. He claims he has finally shaken off the rookie nerves that had plagued him in 2005.
“I guess this year I’ve overcome the nerves, said Reyes. “I’ve never been a fan of my own surfing and I’ve never felt comfortable with everyone watching me surf. That’s probably the only thing that is different. I’m just working on that.
Reyes will now face Nathan Hedge (AUS) in round four.
Also upping the ante today was tube maestro Damien Hobgood with the powerful goofyfooter being virtually untouchable right from the outset of heat four of round three where he easily disposed of Chris Ward (USA).
The likable Floridian pulled into some of the most unbelievable barrels seen in the event to date and notched up a heat total of 18.00.
And while Ward was going for a few moves early and managed to put away a few backhand turns, he was no match for Hobgood, being “comboed or needing two good scoring waves to overtake Hobgood for the lead.
On his best wave — a 9.50 — Hobgood dropped in excruciatingly late and with a wide stance he managed to scrape around the section and get tight inside for five seconds plus.
It was just one of those perfect memorable moments in surfing where adrenalin takes over from rational thought.
“The sun came out and really glassed it off out there, said Hobgood. “I knew the tide was about to turn and luckily it did in my heat. I don’t seem to worry about anything else out there in conditions like this, I just let adrenalin take over and it’s just all about me and the waves. It doesn’t even feel like a competition out there it was so much fun!
Even though Ward was a long way behind Hobgood was still wary of him mounting a comeback since the waves were extra special and Ward is brimming with natural ability.
“Despite Wardo being comboed it’s still very easy out there to come from behind and win, said Hobgood. “There were a few waves out there that Wardo could easily have caught and come back at me for sure, but luckily he didn’t.
Australian Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) caused an upset wheen he brought down Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour legend Mark Occhilupo (AUS).
The win was no mean feat given that the man they call Occy is in the best form of his career and is right at home in the Cloudbreak grinders.
O’Rafferty was solid, executing some big open-faced gouges and never let Occhilupo in the door right from the first tick of the clock.
“The heat between Occy and I was a little slow and you had to be really lucky, said O’Rafferty. “I had two really good waves that ran all the way down the point and got me the scores that I needed while Occy just couldn’t find any.
O’Rafferty is slowly creeping up the ratings this year and is on par for a personal end of season best.
“The ratings are really topsy turvy this year, said O’Rafferty. “A lot of the guys who did well last year aren’t doing so well this year and there’s been some big upsets and a lot of ups and downs. I actually think it’s good because it makes it a lot more interesting for everyone.
“Hopefully from here I can maintain momentum and take out a few more heats and get some solid results. I have a much stronger will to win this year and have really focused on getting the right equipment to do the job and that’s obviously been a huge influence.
Scraping through their heats and staying focused on gaining ground on Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour leader Kelly Slater (USA) in his absence, were Andy Irons (HAW) and Bobby Martinez (USA).
While both had very slow heats due to inconsistent swell they did enough to make it through to round four and indicate that they will be forces to be reckoned with come the business end of the event.
Swell forecasts from www.surfline.com indicate that the waves tomorrow morning could be the same as today.
If that is the case organisers will push into round four, starting at around 8.30am local time.
It is expected that a new swell will appear next Sunday/Monday and with only one day needed to complete the event there is always the option to sit and wait for premium conditions.
Results round three:
Heat 1: Troy Brooks (AUS) 16.10 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.16
Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.33 def. Cory Lopez (USA 7.47
Heat 3: Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 13.50 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 10.83
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) 18.00 def. Chris Ward (USA) 10.83
Heat 5: Tim Reyes (AUS) 18.06 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 15.06
Heat 6: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 16.10 def. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 10.40
Heat 7: Trent Munro (AUS) 13.83 def. Paulo Moura (BRA) 6.97
Heat 8: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.50 def. Peter Media (USA) 10.67
Heat 9: Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.00 def. Pedro Henrique (BRA) 8.50
Heat 10: Danny Wills (AUS) 14.66 def. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 9.83
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.50 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 8.23
Heat 12: CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.43 def. Jake Paterson (AUS) 13.27
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.83 def. Mikael Picon (FRA) 7.86
Heat 14: Luke Stedman (AUS) 12.67 def. Phil MacDonald (AUS) 12.57
Heat 15: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.50 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 7.90
Heat 16: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 12.00 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 10.84
Round four heat draw:
Heat 1: Brooks versus Whitaker
Heat 2: O’Rafferty versus Damien Hobgood
Heat 3: Reyes versus Hedge
Heat 4: Munro versus Andy Irons
Heat 5: Martinez versus Wills
Heat 6: Fanning versus CJ Hobgood
Heat 7: Burrow versus Stedman
Heat 8: Durbidge versus Cansdell