Rip Curl Pro
Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia
March 21-April 1
SEEDS PUSHED HARD IN ROUND TWO OF RIP CURL PRO
After an entertaining day of great surfing in completing round one of the Rip Curl Pro at Phillip Island,s Woolamai Beach today, organisers pushed to make up for lost time by putting out the first six heats of round two late this afternoon. All six heats saw the higher seeds of the Foster,s Men,s World Tour pushed all the way to the final hooter.
The first exchange was a cliff hanger with reigning World Champion Andy Irons given a solid shove by Rip Curl wildcard Ben Dunn, who scored the highest wave score of their heat after a solidly working a walling left from top to bottom for a nine pointer.
Unfortunately for the dreams and aspirations of young Dunn, his 9.0 was at the halfway mark of the 25 minute exchange. You obviously don,t give the world champion half a heat,s start under any conditions.
Irons too was a little slow starting, not getting his heat high score of 8.67 until his third wave. Dunn then got his 9.0. Andy got a backup of 6.33 on a wave that failed to run all the way to shore, and Dunn was left out the back with priority.
As the cool-headed Dunn held priority and waited out a good set needing just 6.01, Andy admitted to more than a case of nerves.
“In the heat against Ben this afternoon, as well as my round one heat against Mick (Fanning) and Ben again, I was feeling quite shattered and nervous. I got up super early this morning and drove over here to Phillip Island way before dawn, and I just wasn’t myself, said Andy.
Dunn’s chance at the score he needed came about three-quarters of the way into the heat when he started working down the line on another left, but he fell on the inside and forfeited the opportunity.
“The grommet nearly got me! I was so nervous while he had priority needing only that low score. I’m glad the heat is over, said a relieved Irons who now moves on to round three to take on wildcard and fellow-Hawaiian Jamie O’Brien.
O’Brien came through in the third heat of round two after his adversary Nathan Hedge (AUS) was unanimously marked for interference, and thereby lost the second highest scoring wave from his tally.
Holding priority, Hedge paddled for quite a distance trying to scrape onto a wave he wanted, but he never pulled on to it. The goofy footer from North Narrabeen paddled straight back into the line-up assuming he still had priority because he hadn’t caught the wave, but he erred.
Priority had swung to O’Brien, and so when Hedge took off outside O’Brien on the next set, his campaign was as good as over. O’Brien had started the heat with a strong ride featuring a small pit and big alley-oop aerial to score 8.50, but Hedge was pegging him back.
Hedge charged hard after his interference call, yielding an 8.00 and a 6.17, but it was too late with just one scorer being counted. He would have otherwise won the heat.
Brazilian wildcard Jean Da Silva had earlier pushed Aussie power broker Luke Egan all the way, the elder goofy, needing 7.2 on his final wave, and banking a 7.43 with less than a minute remaining in the heat.
Brazilian natural footer Peterson Rosa was also lucky to survive a charge that included several aerials from rookie Kirk Flintoff. Renan Rocha lost to Sunny Garcia needing just 6.85.
“We keep trying us Brazilians. We train hard and try to do our best. Today was a hard day for us. We should have done better in these beach breaks which Rip Curl did well to bring us to, but it hasn’t worked out that way so far. We keep knocking on the door, concluded Rosa.
In the final heat of the day, Mark Occhilupo handed Californian rookie Tim Reyes his second consecutive 33rd placing. Reyes only needed 6.61, but the waves dropped to 2-3′ with the light and Occhilupo’ss wave choice was superior.
Surfers will meet in the Woolamai carpark at 6.30am tomorrow morning for an anticipated 7am start to heat 7 of round two.
Round Two heats surfed this afternoon:
(1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rdUSD$3600/225 points)
H1: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.00 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 11.07
(H2: Luke Egan (AUS) 13.00 def. Jean Da Silva (BRZ) 12.84
(H3: Jamie O,Brien (HAW) 13.33 def. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 8.00
(H4: Sunny Garcia (HAW) 13.67 def. Renan Rocha (BRZ) 13.33
(H5: Peterson Rosa (BRZ) 14.53 def. Kirk Flintoff (AUS) 14.34
(H6: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 13.40 def. Tim Reyes (USA) 12.40
Get online at www.ripcurl.com to keep up to date with the latest developments in the Rip Curl Pro.
Pray for surf!
(From Paul Sargeant
The Rip Curl Pro is Australia’s longest running professional surfing event and holds a proud place in surfing folklore, stretching back to 1973. The Rip Curl Pro’s status as one of six Victorian Government-designated Hallmark International Sporting Events each year, alongside the Melbourne Formula One and Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Australian Tennis Open, the Melbourne Cup and the AFL Grand Final, is an acknowledgment of its contribution to the state’s rich sporting culture.
The Rip Curl Pro is proudly presented by Deakin University, associated with Surfing Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire Council, the Victorian Government Department of Tourism, Sport & The Commonwealth Games, the Association of Surfing Professionals, Foster,s, and supported by sponsors Telstra, Chupa Chups, National Australia Bank, Falls Creek, Schweppes, Four,n Twenty Pies and Tracks.