Round One Kicks Off In Great Snapper Surf At Quiksilver Pro

The QuiksilverPro presented by Boost Mobile got underway today, kicking off the 2004Foster’s Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) men’s World ChampionshipTour (WCT) in great waves. No surfers were eliminated from the US$260,000event, but winners secured spots directly into round three, while second andthird place getters will now have to battle out the dreaded ‘losers’ secondround when competition resumes.

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Clean 3-4 ft (1-1.3m) barrels were on offer throughout the day. Idealoffshore conditions and waves peeling along the shallow sandbank providedthe perfect backdrop, as spectators soaked up an amazing surfing show.

Reigning two-time world champion Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) put aside nervesand a slow start to ultimately collect a near-perfect 9.8 en-route to hisopening victory. Against highly touted Californian wildcard Dane Reynolds(USA) and former world #3 Luke Egan (Gold Coast, Aus), the Kauaian overcameinitial jitters and a commanding lead by Reynolds to pick off the wave ofthe day. The 25-year-old emerged from a fantastic barrel and lay down somecommitted carves, reminding all why he’s been leading the charge the pasttwo seasons.

“I was a ball of nerves, for sure” admitted Irons, of the heat’s start.”Just the first contest of the year… I get really over-amped andover-excited. I had to take a few deep breaths and just let it all settle,but it’s always really hard at the beginning when you’re trying to find thegroove.

“That’s just how it is, with only two waves counting you’re never really outof it,” he explained, of the initial situation turning following his epicride. “The other guys were sitting deeper than me and kind of held eachother off that good wave, which swung wide, right to me. I dropped into itand knew it was going to be a real hollow barrel, so I just stayed tight andtried not to get too deep so I would make it. I came through, and it feltamazing. I did not want to be in the 33rd place round (laughs).”

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2001 world champion CJ Hobgood (USA) generated the perfect confidenceboosting result. Returning to competition for the first time in eightmonths, following a dirt bike accident last year in which he broke two bonesin his left foot, the goofy-footer dominated his match over former ASPAustralasian Junior Circuit champion Luke Munro (Currumbin, Aus) andsix-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA). Hobgood showed no signs ofdisadvantage as he belted the long righthanders mercilessly on his backhand,and while Munro did collect the best single score for an 8.67, he ultimatelyrequired another wave worth 6.23-points.

“I can’t even describe what I’m feeling right now,” began Hobgood. “The lasttime I surfed a contest was August 3rd, so it’s been eight months since Ieven surfed a heat. To comeback and pull out a win… I’m just so happy tobe a surfer again. To make that heat… I wanted to cry out there (laughs).I’m so happy.

“I figured he was going to comeback, and that makes the win so muchsweeter,” he added, of Slater finishing third. “It all came down to waveselection and mine might have been a bit better. I’m just taking it heat byheat, but I’m definitely feeling better everyday with my surfing. I sat on acouch for four months, so I have a fire under me now which most of the otherguys hopefully don’t have.”

Slater – the world #2 following last year’s dramatic title showdown – willnow face Californian wildcard Reynolds in a highly anticipated do-or-dieround two clash.

“It should be interesting,” reasoned Slater. “We both ride Al Merricksurfboards and are sponsored by Quiksilver. Dane’s 12 years younger than me.He’s got a lot of talent and just has to get the experience now, and he’llbe really hard to beat.”

West Australian Taj Burrow was able to stop a rampaging Quiksilver Trialswinner Shaun Gossmann (Aus), in their heat with Kalani Robb (Haw). The world#3 had to overcome Gossmann’s amazing first ride – a seemingly endlessbarrel whi shot him to the front of the Torquay ‘Time-Tunnel’ race andearned a 9.57 score. Burrow locked in one good wave, and then executed aseries of great maneuvers on his last ride for an 8.6 and narrow lead. Hisopponent only required another score worth 5.86-points, but was unable tofind it before the heat ended.

“That was a hard one to deal with, hearing him get a 9.57 at the start,”acknowledged Burrow. “We could hear the commentators saying he was still inthe barrel, and Kalani and I didn’t even realize he’d caught a wave. All Icould do was try and fight back, and I got a couple. He wasn’t able to gethis second wave, so yeah, I nailed it.

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“I love it here,” continued the 2001 event winner. “I had a great contestlast year, and Mick Fanning and I had an amazing heat. I was bummed to losethat, but those local guys surf incredibly. I also feel confident here, andjust hope to take it a bit further than the quarterfinals this year. I’mprobably taking this season as seriously as I’m ever going to get. I figureit’s now or never, so I’ve just got to put my head down and go for it.”

Brazilian Peterson Rosa led his nation’s charge in the Quiksilver propresented by Boost Mobile. The 29-year-old got his campaign on track with abrilliant performance, earning a combined total of 17.33-points todayagainst Cory Lopez (FL, USA) and France’s newcomer Eric Rebiere. Rosa lockedin an 8.83 and another 8.5 for the convincing win.

“I had fun,” said a modest Rosa. “I came here two weeks early this year totrain. I love it here, and feel like it’s my second home. It’s far fromBrazil, but the wave is very similar to my home point break, and I have alot of good friends here. I feel comfortable and relaxed this year. I’vetrained very hard to get my mind stronger. Last year I did bad, finishing26th, and I want to do better this season. The job has begun.”

Fellow countryman Victor Ribas and Guilherme Herdy also secured big wins,both posting 9-point rides to beat ‘Coolangatta Kids’ Joel Parkinson andMick Fanning, respectively. WCT newcomer Raoni Monteiro was anotherBrazilian to win his opening round clash with some great barrels and smoothsurfing.

“I’m so stoked,” exclaimed Ribas, after he defeated ‘Parko’ and WCTreplacement surfer Troy Brooks (Aus). “This year I’ve had to begin the tourwithout a sponsor, so my prizemoney will have to pay for all the costs. Tobeat Joel Parkinson (2002 Quiksilver Pro champ) here is very difficult. Iwas lucky to get the right waves, and I hope this news helps me get asponsor soon (laughs). I only arrived yesterday and was very tired, but didwell and am really happy to advance straight into the third round.”

Defending Quiksilver Pro champion Dean Morrison (Aus) picked up exactlywhere he left things in 2003, winning the opening heat of this year’stournament. The Snapper local locked in the best wave of the heat at theoutset – a 7.83 – to edge out WCT ‘Rookie’ and former Pipeline Master BruceIrons (Haw), as well as Paulo Moura (Brz).

“I guess cause I surf out here all the time I just feel comfortable,”reasoned Morrison. “I was pretty happy to get some good waves, especially atthe start. It kind of went flat after that and I don’t think anyone got agood score for about 16-minutes. It’s just good to be at home and watch allthe boys, as I’m sure they’ll put on a great show.”

1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo, who finished runner-up to Morrison lastyear, posted the day’s highest combined heat score of 17.57-points thisafternoon. Against fellow Australians Nathan Webster and Darren O’Rafferty,the 37-year-old earned a 9.07 one ride, and then backed this up with another8.5 to seal victory. Webster actually positioned himself perfectly for theheat’s best barrel ride and 9.63-points – an incredible act since he’s beenout of the water the past six months with a broken leg – but never found theadditional 7.94 score he was needing.

“That was incredible,” said Occhilupo, of Webster’s tube. “I was right inhis way while he was sitting in it. So good to see, and there was no way Iwanted to hassle him after he missed so much surfing time last year. It wasa good heat and just shows he’s back. That was the first time I rode thisboard, but it felt good. I’m psyched.”

The Torquay ‘Time Tunnel’ award is again being offered during the QuiksilverPro presented by Boost Mobile, with AUD$5,000 up for gabs to whichever luckysurfer emerges from the longest tube during the competition. With epic wavesexpected throughout the tournament, the bar is definitely going to be raisedwith ridiculously long barrel rides already unfolding.

Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile Round One (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Dean Morrison (Aus) 14.33; Bruce Irons (Haw) 9.4; Paulo Moura (Brz) 8.33
H2: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 17.33; Cory Lopez (USA) 14.67; Eric Rebiere (Fra)8.53
H3: Raoni Monteiro (Brz) 14.17; Trent Munro (Aus) 12.6; Michael Lowe (Aus)4.83
H4: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 15.0; Greg Emslie (SAfr) 14.07; Taylor Knox (USA)12.1
H5: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 15.83; Beau Emerton (Aus) 11.17; Marcelo Nunes (Brz)8.57
H6: Victor Ribas (Brz) 16.07; Joel Parkinson (Aus) 15.96; Troy Brooks (Aus)11.76
H7: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 16.5; Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.43; Luke Hitchings(Aus) 6.0
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.13; Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.33; Luke Egan (Aus) 7.33
H9: CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.9; Luke Munro (Aus) 14.17; Kelly Slater (USA) 13.76
H10: Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.43; Shaun Gossmann (Aus) 14.24; Kalani Robb (Haw)5.8
H11: Jake Paterson (Aus) 15.27; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.56; Shane Beschen(USA) 13.06
H12: Chris Davidson (Aus) 14.67; Phil MacDonald (Aus) 13.47; Pat O’Connell(USA) 13.17
H13: Lee Winkler (Aus) 14.83; Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.2; Michael Campbell(Aus) 7.96
H14: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 13.6; Daniel Wills (Aus) 13.5; Armando Daltro (Brz)10.67
H15: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 17.57; Nathan Webster (Aus) 14.73; DarrenO’Rafferty (Aus) 11.86
H16: Richie Lovett (Aus) 14.77; Toby Martin (Aus) 13.16; Tim Curran (USA)9.3
er’s tube. “I was right inhis way while he was sitting in it. So good to see, and there was no way Iwanted to hassle him after he missed so much surfing time last year. It wasa good heat and just shows he’s back. That was the first time I rode thisboard, but it felt good. I’m psyched.”

The Torquay ‘Time Tunnel’ award is again being offered during the QuiksilverPro presented by Boost Mobile, with AUD$5,000 up for gabs to whichever luckysurfer emerges from the longest tube during the competition. With epic wavesexpected throughout the tournament, the bar is definitely going to be raisedwith ridiculously long barrel rides already unfolding.

Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile Round One (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Dean Morrison (Aus) 14.33; Bruce Irons (Haw) 9.4; Paulo Moura (Brz) 8.33
H2: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 17.33; Cory Lopez (USA) 14.67; Eric Rebiere (Fra)8.53
H3: Raoni Monteiro (Brz) 14.17; Trent Munro (Aus) 12.6; Michael Lowe (Aus)4.83
H4: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 15.0; Greg Emslie (SAfr) 14.07; Taylor Knox (USA)12.1
H5: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 15.83; Beau Emerton (Aus) 11.17; Marcelo Nunes (Brz)8.57
H6: Victor Ribas (Brz) 16.07; Joel Parkinson (Aus) 15.96; Troy Brooks (Aus)11.76
H7: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 16.5; Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.43; Luke Hitchings(Aus) 6.0
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.13; Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.33; Luke Egan (Aus) 7.33
H9: CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.9; Luke Munro (Aus) 14.17; Kelly Slater (USA) 13.76
H10: Taj Burrow (Aus) 15.43; Shaun Gossmann (Aus) 14.24; Kalani Robb (Haw)5.8
H11: Jake Paterson (Aus) 15.27; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.56; Shane Beschen(USA) 13.06
H12: Chris Davidson (Aus) 14.67; Phil MacDonald (Aus) 13.47; Pat O’Connell(USA) 13.17
H13: Lee Winkler (Aus) 14.83; Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.2; Michael Campbell(Aus) 7.96
H14: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 13.6; Daniel Wills (Aus) 13.5; Armando Daltro (Brz)10.67
H15: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 17.57; Nathan Webster (Aus) 14.73; DarrenO’Rafferty (Aus) 11.86
H16: Richie Lovett (Aus) 14.77; Toby Martin (Aus) 13.16; Tim Curran (USA)9.3