Australians Dominate In Shifty Surf
Two former world champions, a pair of part-time pro surfers and a host of young future stars produced the strongest performances at Hawaii’s Sunset Beach on a dramatic third day of the 2000 Rip Curl Cup – the year’s final Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) tournament.
[IMAGE 1]In shifty and sometimes inconsistent 1.5 to 2 metre conditions, the two oldest competitors – Hawaii’s 1993 world champion Derek Ho, 36, and Australia’s 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo, 34 – headed the list of winners in today’s 16 heats of Round Three, as a dozen members of this year’s Top 44 surfers were eliminated from the event.
The 2000 Rip Curl Cup is a six-star WQS competition (the highest grade), carrying US$100,000 total prizemoney and the final results will have a major bearing on the surfers who qualify for next year’s World Championship Tour.
The day’s leading scorer was Europe’s only successful competitor, 20-year-old Portugese surfer Tiago Pires, runner-up in last month’s World Pro Junior Championship, also in Hawaii. Pires is surfing Sunset Beach in competition for only the second time and more than holding his own against much more fancied rivals.
Current WQS ratings leader, 22-year-old Armando Daltro of Brazil, was his country’s only heat winner of the day, although Daltro’s countrymen 21-year-old Edgar Bishoff and 29-year-old Renan Rocha also progressed with second placings.
[IMAGE 2]Two Australian part-time pro surfers – 27-year-old Joel Fitzgerald, of Narrabeen in Sydney, and West Australian 28-year-old Paul Paterson, the 1996 Rip Curl Cup champion and 1999 runner-up – showed the benefits of their multiple trips to Hawaii in their heat wins today: Paterson beating Hawaii’s 2000 world champion Sunny Garcia, while Fitzgerald overcame Florida’s current world number 13 Cory Lopez.
Paterson said after his win: “The swell was really peaky out there, which is a good indication that it’s on the way up again. I maintained a rhythm and got four good ones, so I was pretty lucky. It was always going to be a tough heat and I think now that I’m through this one, I’m going all the way. It was such a relief to get first in this heat.
“Every year I spend three or four months here, so I’ve got to know Sunset really well and I backed up my win with a second last year, so it would be good to go one better again,” Paterson said.
Garcia said: “Second place isn’t all that great, but it gets me to the next round and that’s all I need. Sunset’s definitely one of the biggest events of the whole year, so it’s very important for me to do well here. The swell’s supposed to be building throughout the day and hopefully the swell will be better for the next round.”
Also shining with heat wins today were a trio of 21-year-old future stars – Australian Nathan Hedge, Florida’s Hobgood brothers, CJ and Damien, 19-year-old Australian Joel Parkinson and 22-year-old Hawaiian Andy Irons. Hedge and Parkinson’s wins cement their qualification for the 2001 World Championship Tour.
Defending Rip Curl Cup champion Zane Harrison, a 20-year-old from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, progressed from his first heat at Sunset since his dramatic win last year, when he became the first teenager to win a major Hawaiian event in more than 30 years. Overall, Australians were the dominant performers, with 13 of 27 who surfed today still in the hunt for the US$10,000 first prize.
Harrison said after his heat today: “There weren’t that many waves coming through, but I got a couple of inside waves that walled up. I was stoked to get the first heat out of the way and hopefully it all goes from there. I hope it gets a bit bigger for us, it would be hard to back up last year’s win with another, but I’ll be going for it.”
Other Australians to advance today were Queensland’s Heath Walker and Sasha Stocker, NSW’s Richie Lovett, Andrew King and Tom Whittaker and 1999 world number two Taj Burrow of Westtern Australia. Like Hedge and Parkinson, Stocker’s progression secures his spot in the 2001 WCT. Overall, Australians were the dominant performers, with 13 of 27 who surfed today still in the hunt for the US$10,000 first prize.
[IMAGE 3]American surfers also fared reasonably well, with 11 of 26 progressing. American heat winners apart from Ho, Irons and the Hobgood brothers were 1996 world number two Shane Beschen and little known Peter Mendia, while 1999 Rip Curl Cup finalist and current world number 34 Ross Williams and two other Hawaiian veterans, Liam McNamara and Kaipo Jaquias, were among those who advanced with second placings in the four-man heats.
South Africa’s two competitors in the event both progressed today, with 25-year-old Durbanite Paul Canning winning his heat, while 24-year-old East Londoner Greg Emslie finished second behind Derek Ho.
The Rip Curl Cup is the second jewel in the Vans/G-Shock Triple Crown, and the competition is expected to be completed Wednesday (Hawaiian time), with clean two to three metre surf conditions forecast.
RIP CURL CUP DAY 3 RESULTS SUMMARY:
Round 3: (in order of placing) 1st & 2nd advance.
H1: Paul Paterson (Aus), Sunny Garcia (Haw), Pancho Sullivan (Haw), Lee Winkler (Aus)
H2: Armando Daltro (Brz), Ross Williams (Haw), Conan Hayes (Haw), Richie Collins (USA)
H3: Peter Mendia (USA), Zane Harrison (Aus), Kieren Perrow (Aus), Roy Powers (Haw)
H4: Mark Occhilupo (Aus), Liam McNamara (Haw), Pat O’Connell (USA), Yuri Sodre (Brz)
H5: Joel Fitzgerald (Aus), Cory Lopez (USA), Love Hodel (Haw), Jake Paterson (Aus)
H6: Nathan Hedge (Aus), Heath Walker (Aus), Victor Ribas (Brz), Luke Hitchings (Aus)
H7: Joel Parkinson (Aus), Andrew King (Aus), Aaron Naluai (Haw), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
H8: Paul Canning (Safr), Edgar Bishoff (Brz), Michael Lowe (Aus), Ryan Simmons (USA)
H9: Derek Ho (Haw), Greg Emslie (Safr), Luke Egan (Aus), Chris Davidson (Aus)
H10: Tiago Pires (Port), Kaipo Jaquias (Haw), Todd Prestage (Aus), Shawn Sutton (Haw)
H11: CJ Hobgood (USA), Tom Whittaker (Aus), Myles Padaca (Haw), Glyndyn Ringrose (Aus)
H12: Toby Martin (Aus), Kalani Robb (Haw), Taylor Knox (USA), Isaac Kaneshiro (Haw)
H13: Andy Irons (Haw), Taj Burrow (Aus), Brian Pacheco (Haw), Mark Bannister (Aus)
H14: Shane Beschen (USA), Renan Rocha (Brz), Maz Quinn (NZ), Beau Emerton (Aus)
H15: Phillip MacDonald (Aus), Richard Lovett (Aus), Danilo Costa (Brz), Michael Campbell (Aus)
H16: Damien Hobgood (USA), Sasha Stocker (Aus), Spencer Hargraves (GB), Nathan Webster (Aus)