Round One Of The Quiksilver Nijima Pro Finishes With An Upset

Niijima Quiksilver Pro (June 18-29, 2003)
www.quiksilver.com/niijima

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
www.aspworldtour.com
2003 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Japanese Wildcard Creates Round One Upset

Thursday June 19, 2003 (Niijima Island, Japan) Japanese wildcard MasatoshiOhno today created an upset as the Niijima Quiksilver Pro got underway. TheUS$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced with round onebeing split in half – heats running simultaneously on two separate banks infront of the main contest site. Eight heats of the second elimination roundwere then decided further south down Habushiura Beach at ‘Secret Point.’

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Tricky 2-3ft (0.6-1m) waves breaking close the shore were on offer thismorning, while 2 miles (4km) along the same stretch of beach longer 4ftrighthanders peeled cleanly down the line. Organizers set up a mobile sitethere to the appreciation of all contestants, with four-wheel drives taxiingthose involved between locations.

Quiksilver wildcard Masatoshi Ohno put aside nerves to surf confidently anddefeat Neco Padaratz (Brz) and world #4 Taj Burrow (West Australia) in agreat exchange. Having earlier contested the Quiksilver Trials onAustralia’s Gold Coast and more recently in Fiji without success, Ohnolifted his game on home turf for a significant career win. The goofyfooterwas impressive on his backhand; securing a round three berth.

“It’s great,” said Masatoshi. “To win that heat with such good surfers is areally good experience for me. I did my best, and I think these conditionsreally worked to my advantage, so I was lucky. If they were perfect waves,it would have been more difficult for me. The WCT guys have much moreexperience in good waves, and I know all of them are so good. I’m reallyhappy to make it.”

Burrow later contested round two against another Japanese wildcard MasakiHarada – after the Niijima Quiksilver Pro relocated further south to ‘SecretPoint’ and there unleashed a devastating performance over his opponent. TheWest Australian convincingly advanced with a 7.5 and then equaled the bestsingle score of the event for a 9.0 and the days’ highest combined tally of16.5-points. A carving reverse 360 at the end of his best ride got the crowdcheering.

“The conditions were really tricky this morning and I couldn’t even catch awave,” recalled Burrow after his win. “I just had to focus on the 33rd placeround. I was a little bit nervous, but once the waves started coming throughI was feeling confident after getting a few under my belt. The waves wereamazing, like Trestles (CA, USA) and really rippable. I actually surfed hereall day yesterday feel pretty confident if they continue to run the contestat this break.”

Replacement surfer Ben Bourgeois (USA) – who filled Hawaiian Shane Dorian’sspot in the Niijima Quiksilver Pro – made the most of the opportunity bydefeating 2001 world champion CJ Hobgood (Fl, USA) and Michael Campbell(Port Macquarie, Aus) this morning. The former WCT surfer narrowly missedout on a full-time position in 2003, but posted the day’s first 9.0 and thesecond highest combined tally of 16.15-points with his smooth forehandattack.

“I got lucky since Shane didn’t want to come here,” explained Bourgeois ofhis position in the event. “Stoked just to be here and have a spot, andwinning that first heat is great. The waves were really tough and I didn’treally have a strategy out there, but I was lucky to catch a really longone. I didn’t feel that good on it, but the wave itself was a nine(laughs).”

Reigning world champion and ratings leader Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) overcamean in-form Pat O’Connell (CA, USA) and Japanese wildcard Masaki Harada inround one. The Kauaian locked in a couple of hi scores and then usedtactics to advantage.

“They were really tough conditions with the waves only breaking about10-feet off the sand,” explained Irons. “Every wave was really quick. Pat’sreally short and can fit turns in really quick, like on his first wave wherehe scored an 8.5 and surfed really well. I got a 7.55 and a 6.85 for thelead, so towards the end of the heat I just sat on him, as I knew if he gotanother good wave he’d probably get the score he needed. There was a bit ofluck and then tactics played a part at the end. It wasn’t one of my favoritewins, but I’ll take it right now since the waves were really small.”

Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA) elected to contest his heatwith Peterson Rosa (Brz) and Quiksilver Trials winner Norimasa Ohno (Jpn),despite the foot injury he’s been nursing. Nonetheless, the Floridian putaside any pain and discomfort to establish a lead and advance directly intoround three.

“I was actually going to catch a ferry this morning and leave,” admittedSlater. “I didn’t think it looked that great and I figured I might letanother Japanese surfer have a chance. But then I thought ‘why not?’ as I’mall the way here and I wanted to get back on my board to feel how my foot isdoing. When I paddled out I figured I’d just stand up on a couple and notreally try, but about halfway through I had a chance and then luckily itwent flat toward the end when I was in the lead (laughs).

“It felt alright,” he added, of his injury. “On my last wave I sort of fella bad way and my board kind of pushed up against my foot. It put a littlemore pressure on it than I expected, but overall it’s OK. I’m just going toice it, and I have a round off now, so I get to massage it and get in thehot springs here on Niijima to help relax the muscles.”

Tim Curran (CA, USA) – winner of the last Japanese WCT held in 1999 – facedLuke Egan (Gold Coast, Aus) and Guilherme Herdy (Brz) this morning andquickly established a commanding position with some wider breaking setwaves. The goofyfooter belted his way down the relatively short rides, forhis first win since returning to the elite WCT ranks this year.

“I’m very, very happy to win,” said Curran. “I was really frustrated withthe start of my year since I kept losing heats. It feels good to finally winmy first one this season. I think Quiksilver made a great call by splittingthe backs this morning. It doesn’t seem like we’re going to have a lot ofswell, so it’s good they’ve powered through it. I knew there was a couple ofwide ones and I just decided to sit down there and thankfully the wavescame.”

Brazilian Paulo Moura then used similar tactics to overcome Quiksilver ProFiji runner-up Cory Lopez (FL, USA) and Naohisa Ogawa (Jpn). Moura also satwide and displayed a great backhand attack to advance.

“I saw Tim find some waves down the beach so I kept me focus on those,”explained Moura. “I found two good ones and won the heat. The other boyssurfed really well, and I was scared at the end cause Cory got a good wave.I’m just happy to make it and go straight to round three.”

World #2 Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) was beaten in round one thismorning but then eliminated Masakazu Kono – the eighth Japanese wildcard inthe tournament -after competition relocated this afternoon. Kono replacedRichie Lovett (Manly, Aus) in the Niijima Quiksilver Pro after theAustralian was forced to withdraw due to family matters, but was unable tomatch Parkinson’s fluid forehand style and commanding scores including an8.5 in his total.

“The first heat I surfed was a joke,” reasoned Parkinson after his win. “Ionly had 3-points for my total score, and compared to the surf we justhad… there were perfect little righthanders then. I just tried to give it100 percent. He surfed well, but I was luckily enough to get a good setwave.”

World #3 Luke Egan and fellow Gold Coaster and 1999 world champ MarkOcchilupo also survived their round two clashes over Japanese wildcards thisafternoon. Egan accounted for Teppei Tajima, while 36-year-old Occhilupodisposed of Quiksilver Trials winner Norimasa Ohno in what proved a good,yet inconsistent match.

“‘Nori’ is the best Japanese guy I’ve seen by far,” offered Occhilupo, ofhis opponent. “I believe he’ll be the first one to make the WCT, so when I drew him in that heat I was a bit worried since I’ve had a bad run lately. Itwas a good heat for me to win. I felt like I made a couple of littlemistakes, but I also think I surfed well and didn’t hold back. It was a bitof a nerve-wracking heat.

“It’s great to be back in Japan,” he added. “I haven’t been to Niijima for15-years and last time I was I made the final against Martin Potter (UK).That was a while ago, but it’s really good to be back. I love it.”

Organizers have called a 5:30am (local time) meet tomorrow morning at themain site, though plan to resume round two heats at 6:30am back at ‘SecretPoint.’ Conditions pending, all of round three will also be completed. Dueto the remote location, live webcasting and scores will not be available,but a detailed release will be posted following the completion of the day’ssurfing action.

Official Niijima Quiksilver Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Dean Morrison (Aus) 12.75; Luke Stedman (Aus) 8.0; Masakazu Kono (Jpn)2.85
H2: Tim Curran (USA) 14.75; Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 7.5; Luke Egan (Aus) 6.0
H3: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 16.15; CJ Hobgood (USA) 13.25; Michael Campbell(Aus) 13.0
H4: Paulo Moura (Brz) 13.5; Cory Lopez (USA) 10.25; Naohisa Ogawa (Jpn) 9.1
H5: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.75; Peterson Rosa (Brz) 10.4; Norimasa Ohno (Jpn)10.0
H6: Masatoshi Ohno (Jpn) 13.75; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 10.9; Taj Burrow (Aus)9.95
H7: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.0; Teppei Tajima (Jpn) 8.0; Shane Powell (Aus)7.8
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 14.4; Pat O’Connell (USA) 12.6; Masaki Harada (Jpn)10.5
H9: Jake Paterson (Aus) 13.0; Tetsuya Urayama (Jpn) 7.1; Joel Parkinson(Aus) 3.0
H10: Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.5; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 10.75; Kenta Hayashi (Jpn)9.05
H11: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 13.0; Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 10.25; Tom Whitaker(Aus) 7.7
H12: Michael Lowe (Aus) 11.5; Trent Munro (Aus) 10.1; Beau Emerton (Aus) 9.6
H13: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 12.25; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 11.9; Kalani Robb (Haw)11.4
H14: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 13.5; Nathan Webster (Aus) 12.6; Damien Hobgood(USA) 12.35
H15: Armando Daltro (Brz) 11.75; Daniel Wills (Aus) 9.75; Lee Winkler (Aus)8.0
H16: Chris Davidson (Aus) 14.25; Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.75; Taylor Knox (USA)8.85

Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd, receives US$3,000)H1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.9 def. Masakazu Kono (Jpn) 10.33
H2: Taj Burrow (Aus) 16.4 def. Masaki Harada (Jpn) 9.0
H3: Cory Lopez (USA) 15.0 def. Tetsuya Urayama (Jpn) 12.0
H4: CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.17 def. Kenta Hayashi (Jpn) 7.07
H5: Luke Egan (Aus) 15.16 def. Teppei Tajima (Jpn) 11.0
H6: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.1 def. Norimasa Ohno (Jpn) 11.33
H7: Kalani Robb (Aus) 14.5 def. Naohisa Ogawa (Jpn) 11.3
H8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.43 def. Luke Stedman (Aus) 11.23

Upcoming round two heats of the Niijima Quiksilver Pro (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd,receives US$3,000)
H9: Daniel Wills (Aus) vs. Tom Whittaker (Aus)
H10: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
H12: Nathan Hedge (Aus) vs. Nathan Webster (Aus)
H13: Shane Powell (Aus) vs. Victor Ribas (Brz)
H14: Neco Padaratz (Aus) vs. Lee Winkler (Aus)
H15: Peterson Rosa (Brz) vs. Trent Munro (Aus)
H16: Michael Campbell (Aus) vs. Guilherme Herdy (. He surfed well, but I was luckily enough to get a good setwave.”

World #3 Luke Egan and fellow Gold Coaster and 1999 world champ MarkOcchilupo also survived their round two clashes over Japanese wildcards thisafternoon. Egan accounted for Teppei Tajima, while 36-year-old Occhilupodisposed of Quiksilver Trials winner Norimasa Ohno in what proved a good,yet inconsistent match.

“‘Nori’ is the best Japanese guy I’ve seen by far,” offered Occhilupo, ofhis opponent. “I believe he’ll be the first one to make the WCT, so when I drew him in that heat I was a bit worried since I’ve had a bad run lately. Itwas a good heat for me to win. I felt like I made a couple of littlemistakes, but I also think I surfed well and didn’t hold back. It was a bitof a nerve-wracking heat.

“It’s great to be back in Japan,” he added. “I haven’t been to Niijima for15-years and last time I was I made the final against Martin Potter (UK).That was a while ago, but it’s really good to be back. I love it.”

Organizers have called a 5:30am (local time) meet tomorrow morning at themain site, though plan to resume round two heats at 6:30am back at ‘SecretPoint.’ Conditions pending, all of round three will also be completed. Dueto the remote location, live webcasting and scores will not be available,but a detailed release will be posted following the completion of the day’ssurfing action.

Official Niijima Quiksilver Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Dean Morrison (Aus) 12.75; Luke Stedman (Aus) 8.0; Masakazu Kono (Jpn)2.85
H2: Tim Curran (USA) 14.75; Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 7.5; Luke Egan (Aus) 6.0
H3: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 16.15; CJ Hobgood (USA) 13.25; Michael Campbell(Aus) 13.0
H4: Paulo Moura (Brz) 13.5; Cory Lopez (USA) 10.25; Naohisa Ogawa (Jpn) 9.1
H5: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.75; Peterson Rosa (Brz) 10.4; Norimasa Ohno (Jpn)10.0
H6: Masatoshi Ohno (Jpn) 13.75; Neco Padaratz (Brz) 10.9; Taj Burrow (Aus)9.95
H7: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.0; Teppei Tajima (Jpn) 8.0; Shane Powell (Aus)7.8
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 14.4; Pat O’Connell (USA) 12.6; Masaki Harada (Jpn)10.5
H9: Jake Paterson (Aus) 13.0; Tetsuya Urayama (Jpn) 7.1; Joel Parkinson(Aus) 3.0
H10: Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.5; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 10.75; Kenta Hayashi (Jpn)9.05
H11: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 13.0; Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 10.25; Tom Whitaker(Aus) 7.7
H12: Michael Lowe (Aus) 11.5; Trent Munro (Aus) 10.1; Beau Emerton (Aus) 9.6
H13: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 12.25; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 11.9; Kalani Robb (Haw)11.4
H14: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 13.5; Nathan Webster (Aus) 12.6; Damien Hobgood(USA) 12.35
H15: Armando Daltro (Brz) 11.75; Daniel Wills (Aus) 9.75; Lee Winkler (Aus)8.0
H16: Chris Davidson (Aus) 14.25; Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.75; Taylor Knox (USA)8.85

Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd, receives US$3,000)H1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.9 def. Masakazu Kono (Jpn) 10.33
H2: Taj Burrow (Aus) 16.4 def. Masaki Harada (Jpn) 9.0
H3: Cory Lopez (USA) 15.0 def. Tetsuya Urayama (Jpn) 12.0
H4: CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.17 def. Kenta Hayashi (Jpn) 7.07
H5: Luke Egan (Aus) 15.16 def. Teppei Tajima (Jpn) 11.0
H6: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.1 def. Norimasa Ohno (Jpn) 11.33
H7: Kalani Robb (Aus) 14.5 def. Naohisa Ogawa (Jpn) 11.3
H8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.43 def. Luke Stedman (Aus) 11.23

Upcoming round two heats of the Niijima Quiksilver Pro (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd,receives US$3,000)
H9: Daniel Wills (Aus) vs. Tom Whittaker (Aus)
H10: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
H12: Nathan Hedge (Aus) vs. Nathan Webster (Aus)
H13: Shane Powell (Aus) vs. Victor Ribas (Brz)
H14: Neco Padaratz (Aus) vs. Lee Winkler (Aus)
H15: Peterson Rosa (Brz) vs. Trent Munro (Aus)
H16: Michael Campbell (Aus) vs. Guilherme Herdy (Brz)

dy (Brz)