The QuiksilverPro presented by Boost Mobile was postponed mid-round three today, followingsevere weather hitting the contest area. Organizers utilized the ‘Superbank’this morning, allowing contestants to surf from Snapper right through toRainbow Bay, with the first nine heats completed before conditions becametoo wild and stormy.
As predicted, wave heights jumped considerably over night with a 9-12 ft(3-4m) offshore swell creating double-overhead 6-8 ft (2-2.3m) waves atSnapper.An intense low-pressure system then moved in and whipped up cyclonic windsof up to 120 kilometers/hr.
Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA) controlled the final heat ofthe day, easily defeating Marcelo Nunes (Brz). The Floridian was lucky topick off a great 9.5 wave that ran the whole way, while his opponentstruggled to even stay in the rapidly moving lineup, and ultimately returnedto the beach with the last 10-minutes still remaining. He required acombination of rides worth 16.51-points.
“I couldn’t hear what was going on in the heat, but I knew Marcelo gotwashed all the way back without even catching a wave,” explained Slater, ofthe extremely difficult surf. “It’s pretty rare to see someone paddle infrom a heat and not even try, but in those conditions he probably wasn’tgoing to get the score he needed. I was pretty lucky to get the wave I did,with a barrel down near Greenmount. It was such a roll of the dice outthere.
“We’ll probably end up getting pretty classic conditions later in the weekand have a good contest,” he continued. “I’m feeling good, just trying toescalate my level each round. I’ve just been cruising so far, but the toughwork is ahead.”
Reigning two-time world champion Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) used competitiveknowledge and wave priority to eliminate local wildcard Luke Munro(Currumbin, Aus). The Kauaian opened strongly with a 7.5 and then posted an8.0 to hold advantage, but Munro answered back with an 8.13 of his own andlater began surfing what appeared to be the wave he required. Following acouple of good turns and quick tube however, he had to jump off to avoid aninterference call, since Irons also paddled for the wave further inside withpriority. The tactic worked, since Luke only scored a 6.43 and never caughtanother ride to catch the lead.
“He caught a wave while I had priority, but I was further down the point,”explained Irons. “I saw him do a nice snap and get a little barrel, and thewave was still holding up so I’m sure he would have gotten the score heneeded. I knew what I had to do. Time was running down and it was a realhigh scoring wave for that heat, so I had to hold him off. Every heat andpoint counts. When I make it out of a wildcard heat I’ve dodged a bullet forsure.”
2001 world champ CJ Hobgood (FL, USA) controlled Kalani Robb (Haw) from theoutset, securing a 9.33 and then another 9.43 within the first half of halfof the 30-minute heat. The 24-yea-old belted the long righthanders all theway down the line – showing no signs of the foot injury which kept him outof the water for much of last year – and will now face Irons in round four.
“I would do a turn and look back up and there would be a wall, so I’d doanother turn, and then look back up and it was the same the whole way,”laughed Hobgood. “I was just blessed with some really good, long waves. Iwas able to do my thing and everything just seemed to go my way. I’m lookingforward to next heat with Andy. We had a good one when I last surfed againsthim in Japan.”
1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo will next face fellow local and 2002Quiksilver Pro champion Joel Parkinson in a highly anticipated round fourmatch-up. ‘Occy’ overcame good friend Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen, Aus) thismorning with a devastating backhand attack, while ‘Parko’ fought backagainst an in-form Michael Campbell to post a brilliant 9.43 score andcontinue his campaign.
“Hedgey’s one of my best mates on tour, so it is haard going up against him,”explained Occhilupo. “You can’t think about that though, you’ve got toconcentrate on the heat at hand. They moved the contest this morning, whichI thought was good, as there are some good waves going through the Rainbowsection. It will be interesting to see what happens with the wind andswell.”
Parkinson added his enthusiasm for the upcoming clash, “Occy’s one of myfavorite surfers and I really enjoy surfing against him. He’s one of the topguns right now, as he’s been on fire. I can’t wait to see how I go againsthim.”
Tom Whitaker (Bronte, Aus) created an upset by eliminating world #6 KierenPerrow (Byron Bay, Aus) in the day’s opening heat. The world #36 has alreadyequaled his best result to date on the WCT, advancing into the fourth roundto meet Brazilian Peterson Rosa.
“It was first heat of the day so it was kind of unknown and a bit wild outthere,” explained Whitaker. “This has equaled my best result ever alreadywith an equal 9th. Kieren’s in the top 10 and you can’t take them toolightly, so I’m pretty amped up now.”
Rosa (Brz) dominated his clash with Danny Wills (Byron Bay, Aus). TheBrazilian lucked into a great barrel at Rainbow Bay, emerging for anear-perfect 9.63 from the judges, leaving his opponent requiring acombination of rides.
“It was very hard out there, with 6-7 ft waves at Snapper Rocks,” beganRosa. “You can find good ones at Rainbow Bay, and I was lucky. I’ve trainedhard this year and want to do well. All the top 45 are good surfers, so itdoesn’t matter who you get.”
Defending Quiksilver Pro winner and local Snapper surfer Dean Morrison edgedout fellow Australian Lee Winkler (Coffs Harbour). The world #10 trailedmidway through, despite holding a great 9.43 in his tally, but was able topost another 6.77 for the win. He will next face West Australian JakePaterson in round four.
“I knew I needed a good one, and luckily enough I was down on the insidewhen that one came through for me,” said Morrison. “I think there’s moreluck involved than local knowledge today.”
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. Currently ShaunGossmann leads the charge with an amazing 13-second barrel in round one.
The Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile is the opening event on the2004 Foster’s Association of Surfing Professionals men’s World ChampionshipTour (WCT).
Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile Round Three (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17threceives US$4,225)
H1: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 15.17 def. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 12.93
H2: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 17.3 def. Daniel Wills (Aus) 14.17
H3: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 16.67 def. Nathan Hedge (Aus) 12.34
H4: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.03 def. Michael Campbell (Aus) 14.73
H5: Dean Morrison (Aus) 16.2 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 15.93
H6: Jake Paterson (Aus) 14.5 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 13.73
H7: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 18.76 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 12.43
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 15.5 def. Luke Munro (Aus) 14.56
H9: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.5 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 4.37
Remaining Round Three Heats (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,225)
H10: Luke Egan (Aus) vs. Guilherme Herdy (Brz)
H11: Michael Lowe (Aus) vs. Darren O’Rafferty (Aus)
H12: Phillip MacDonald (Aus) vs. Neco Padaratz (Brz)
H13: Taj Burrow (Aus) vs. Raoni Monteiro (Brz)
H14: Richard Lovett (Aus) vs. Victor Ribas (Brz)
H15: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Nathan Webster (Aus)
H16: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Paulo Moura (Brz)