Rushed Strokes Towards Climax At The Globe Wct Fiji

Catch it LIVE on www.aspworldtour.com and www.globefiji.com

TODAY was a strange day in the life of pro surfing. After an extended analysis ofthe leading edge of the forecast ‘Perfect Storm’ swell, from way beforedawn this morning, the Globe WCT Fiji was relocated to Tavarua’s mechanicalperfection of Restaurants, the big brother break of Cloudbreak basicallyun-contestable with 12-15 ‘ faces, paddling-in a mission of both chance anddanger.

Organisers waited for the tide to fill for a start just before 9am. The 3-4-5 ‘+ aquatically sculptured gaping womb of the freakish left hosted multiple nine andten point rides throughout the day as we shoveled through the remaining roundthree heats, motored round four in its entirety, and then, controversially, delvedinto the quarterfinals. It suffered from inconsistency all day, and throughout theschedule, various competitors got skunked by major lulls. The ocean ‘ s patternaside, the good ones were worth waiting for, and real good.

As absolutely and inherently perfect as Restaurants was, compared to the waves ofthe world in what were really marginal conditions for the break, the venture intothe third last stanza of the event ‘ s structure was fraught with debate. Thesurfers were superb in their performance wizardry today, as always, but perhapsthey lacked wisdom in consenting to going into the quarters.

The Globe WCT Fiji has been an exciting venture. A company founded in the kindred culture of skateboarding has ultimately reacted to surfing ‘ s so-called BigThree delving into their market. As they say, it ‘ s a free world, but after asurfing apprenticeship supporting not just the sport ‘ s most special talentslike Taj Burrow and Mark Occhilupo, Globe have more recently gathered acollectively talented and soulful team of surfers retained not just for theirresults but for their pure spirits and style, personally and athletically. Theirapproach is refreshing.

At the start of this event, undoubtedly the most intrinsically pure on tour, mateshanging, hunting and habilitating in unison, the local tribal chiefs hosted atraditional kava ceremony. In the midst of the chaste proceedings, their spiritualleader declared utterance to the effect of ” … on the graves of ourancestors, we pray that Globe get better waves than Quiksilver ever did! ”

The Fijian people are way beyond malice or spite. Their prayers went upwholesomely, simply wishing the best for the new sponsors of ‘ their ‘ event – and it is their event. They are our hosts here in surfing paradise. They areesteemed hosts. Rest assured that the Foster ‘ s Top 45 consider our Fijianbrothers and sisters as the coolest, happiest, intrinsically benevolent people onthis planet.

Beyond that sentiment, the Globe crew have indeed scored well, but we’ve stillgot three days left in the event waiting period, three days laden with forecastswell, and 11 heats today would have been sensible, as well as logical by the factthat this event has marketed to the media awaiting the swell transmitted from the ‘ Perfect Storm ” . The imagery is big and perfect, the best surfers in thebest waves, and to go into the top end of the draw in anything less than that,with three days remaining, was an act without full consideration.

Head Judge Perry Hatchett was resolutely against going beyond the end of roundfour, but Kelly Slater and Dean Morrison were the only two surfers agreeing withthat. Even that fact aside, if the contest director and producer truly consideredthe big picture they could have comfortably finalized the day ‘ s proceedings atthe end of round four with legitimacy. Despite the considered lack of foresightand overview, the day ‘ s surfing was undeniably extraordinary, and the sport’ s future freak finally emerged from his big brother ‘ s incubation. His nameis Bruce Irons.

Without doubt, the heat of round four was big brother Andyrons, our reigning andthrice-crowned World Champion, versus last year ‘ s rookie rabbit and youngerbrother Bruce. Younger brother Bruce got two 10-point rides today. If you ‘ rereading this and not quite familiar with the enormity of that achievement, compareit to you.

Bruce ‘ s brother Andy is officially and deservedly the current chief purveyorof the suppliers of the world ‘ s best surfing, the Top 45 of the Foster ‘ sMen ‘ s World Tour. That ‘ s a fact times three. Big brother is also a worldchamp ‘ human being. Being the champ is not an easy job, and the job has turneda young Kauaian punk who surfed unbelievably in any sized stuff, into a young andadmirable man who earns respect not just for his surfing and competitive savvy,but for his capably carrying the bulk of the weight of the surfing world’simage on his shoulders.

It appeared that Andy got so frustrated when he needed a perfect ten to catch hisbrother this morning that he inadvertently incurred an interference call … butthat ‘ s okay. He ‘ s a human, and so, like the rest of us, he has his faults.But is it a fault? Before you judge him, ask yourself how you ‘ d handle theinherent responsibilities and spotlight of being world champion. It ‘ sinvariably lonely at the top.

Andy ‘ s battle with his younger brother cum nemesis Bruce, was an epic. Andyopened with a 9.17, which Bruce countered with his first ten about seven minuteslater. Andy came back with a 9.67, but then Bruce smacked back with the same scoreline on a wave nearly ten minutes later.

Andy ‘ s internal pressure cooker then started overheating as Bruce heldpriority for a prolonged period. When Bruce finally took off on a wave, Andyproduced a drop-in, like ‘ okay, you beat me, but %$&# you! ‘ It wasbrotherly love and rivalry all blended into a hot mix of emotion and performancepushing lust that the whole tour is thriving on at the moment. It ‘ s epicstuff. About three hours later, Andy was spotted walking back to his room lookingquite happy and content with a carton of Foster ‘ s under his arm. It ‘ s allgood!

” He just hates losing – especially to his younger brother, ” said Brucestruggling not to smile.

Floridian charger Cory Lopez took out Nathan Hedge in round four, obviously alsoholding a hatred of losing, as all winners do, but he had to take it from Bruce aswell in the pair ‘ s quarterfinal. Both Andy and Cory started their respectiveattempts at quelling Bruce ‘ s run with high scores for typical barrel aplomb,but B.I wasn ‘ t phased. He wasn ‘ t sure which ten was sweeter.

” Maybe the second one, though I ‘ m not sure – it ‘ s always good to get a10 against your brother, ” said Bruce. ” They were both really good becausein both cases, both Andy and Cory had got big scores before me, and so thesituation was that I had to get a high nine or better. ”

” Andy got a 9.17 on his first wave, and Cory had a 9.6, so having to followtheir nine pluses with a 10 or something in both cases, made me put my head rightback in the game, confident to just go and get another one. ”

Young Bruce had trouble keeping his head in the guts of his comeback on Cory, hissecond 10-pointer. A super long and deep run, he was messing with the intestinesof the tubular beauty and it didn ‘ t let him out easily.

” I couldn ‘ t see in there for much of that wave. Water just kept showeringover my head, ” recalled Bruce.

” I had to keep putting my head down, and then I ‘ d look up, and my head wouldget knocked back down … I ‘ d look back up, get knocked down, just barelyholding the right line … tucking up, and then towards the end it started goingchitty-chattery, and then my arm started wiggling and wobbling, so I stuck myfront arm on the front of my board like Sunny does, and said to myself ‘ I ‘m coming out of this – head down, any way it looks, I’m coming out! ‘ So, I was fully stoked.”

Bruce made what could have been a critical error at the start of his quarterfinal,letting his mate Cory take what ended up being a 9.6, but if you ‘ re smart,there ‘ s always a lesson to be learnt in heats. Bruce had Cory ‘ s inside,but let him go, a mistake he won ‘ t be repeating. Bruce ‘ s run so far thisyear has obviously been a vast improvement on his scarey maiden run through 2004’ s Foster ‘ s Men ‘ s World Tour, which saw him needing to finish third orbetter in the semi finals at Pipeline to make the WCT cut. It ‘ s history nowthat he made the final and has now re-grouped and off and upwards towards hisdestiny.

” I was just real nervous most of last year. When you finally make it to thelevel you want to be at after all those years, and then you start blowing it, it’ s like ‘ I need to do good in the next one, and then now I REALLY need to dogood in the next one … and before you know it, you’ve just rattledyourself to pieces, ” said Bruce of the psychological doors he went throughlast season.

” Now I finally feel comfortable surfing with all the guys on tour. Now it justfeels normal. Now I can just relax and go out there in heats and have fun. I ‘ mjust surfing and that ‘ s not supposed to do my head in. If you do lose, you getmad a bit for a little while, but it ‘ s all fun. We all have to remember that.”

As relaxed as ever was Master Blaster Slater, who produced a 9.7 against formerevent winner Mick Lowe in their heat four exchange, and then a ridiculous tenpointer to ram his case home. It wasn ‘ t a particularly epic wave, but oh mygoodness, it had to be one of the longest barrel runs out there in history.

” Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God … that was a 12! ” muttered Brazil ‘ sNeco Padaratz as he watched Slater ‘ s unbelievable brilliance waiting on thebeach for a jet ski.

Neco ruled most of his following heat with Dean ‘ Dingo ‘ Morrison, but theyoung Maori-Aussie from the Gold Coast was thinking until the end, brilliantlyusing tactics to thwart the talented Brazilian ‘ s run. Holding priority forquite some time, with the clock clicking down, Neco must have thought he had itwrapped up, sitting outside of the calm Dingo who never stops thinking in a heat,complimenting his undoubted surfing prowess and willingness to charge anything.

With 55 seconds remaining, Morrison took off on a wave needing a 6.17, and Necotook the bait, dropping in to enforce his priority. Dingo ripped back into thetake-off posse ‘ and took the next wave, surfed it to its max, and got a 7.5.As the third member of the so-called Coolangatta Kids, Dingo has often beenconsidered by pundits as the poor cousin to Fanning and Parkinson, but the bestwine takes time to mature, and he ‘ s forever shaping up as a top drop.

His mate Joel Parkinson led for most of the next round four heat against FredPatacchia Jnr., looking to have a payback in line for the young Hawaiian goofy whoformerly booted both himself and Slater from the draw here as a wildcard. Ashappened, despite two brilliant rides from Parko, Frederick came back on one ofthe finest waves of the day with a 9.97. Good work kid!

Speaking of high scores, perennial front side performer CJ Hobgood caught just twowaves in the opening quarterfinal against Phil Macdonald after earlier baggingthree nine plus scores against Luke Egan. Macca had earlier punted his mate andcurrent Foster ‘ s ratings leader Trent Munro.

CJ got a 9.8 for his first wave, and then a ten for his second quarter-final run,which was actually a comparatively ordinary wave made freakish by his calmdisposition and style. After a shortish pit, he found the reef sucking dry beforehim, a fully exposed coral head in his path. He simply took a high line and pulledback in before stitching the lip for good measure.

The rapidly draining reef, and intermittent inconsistency in the swell led toeveryone finally waking up and canning proceedings after the second quarterbetween Bruce and Cory. If the blatant forecasts hold true, we’ll get back tobusiness in the morning and be crowninging his mate Cory take what ended up being a 9.6, but if you ‘ re smart,there ‘ s always a lesson to be learnt in heats. Bruce had Cory ‘ s inside,but let him go, a mistake he won ‘ t be repeating. Bruce ‘ s run so far thisyear has obviously been a vast improvement on his scarey maiden run through 2004’ s Foster ‘ s Men ‘ s World Tour, which saw him needing to finish third orbetter in the semi finals at Pipeline to make the WCT cut. It ‘ s history nowthat he made the final and has now re-grouped and off and upwards towards hisdestiny.

” I was just real nervous most of last year. When you finally make it to thelevel you want to be at after all those years, and then you start blowing it, it’ s like ‘ I need to do good in the next one, and then now I REALLY need to dogood in the next one … and before you know it, you’ve just rattledyourself to pieces, ” said Bruce of the psychological doors he went throughlast season.

” Now I finally feel comfortable surfing with all the guys on tour. Now it justfeels normal. Now I can just relax and go out there in heats and have fun. I ‘ mjust surfing and that ‘ s not supposed to do my head in. If you do lose, you getmad a bit for a little while, but it ‘ s all fun. We all have to remember that.”

As relaxed as ever was Master Blaster Slater, who produced a 9.7 against formerevent winner Mick Lowe in their heat four exchange, and then a ridiculous tenpointer to ram his case home. It wasn ‘ t a particularly epic wave, but oh mygoodness, it had to be one of the longest barrel runs out there in history.

” Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God … that was a 12! ” muttered Brazil ‘ sNeco Padaratz as he watched Slater ‘ s unbelievable brilliance waiting on thebeach for a jet ski.

Neco ruled most of his following heat with Dean ‘ Dingo ‘ Morrison, but theyoung Maori-Aussie from the Gold Coast was thinking until the end, brilliantlyusing tactics to thwart the talented Brazilian ‘ s run. Holding priority forquite some time, with the clock clicking down, Neco must have thought he had itwrapped up, sitting outside of the calm Dingo who never stops thinking in a heat,complimenting his undoubted surfing prowess and willingness to charge anything.

With 55 seconds remaining, Morrison took off on a wave needing a 6.17, and Necotook the bait, dropping in to enforce his priority. Dingo ripped back into thetake-off posse ‘ and took the next wave, surfed it to its max, and got a 7.5.As the third member of the so-called Coolangatta Kids, Dingo has often beenconsidered by pundits as the poor cousin to Fanning and Parkinson, but the bestwine takes time to mature, and he ‘ s forever shaping up as a top drop.

His mate Joel Parkinson led for most of the next round four heat against FredPatacchia Jnr., looking to have a payback in line for the young Hawaiian goofy whoformerly booted both himself and Slater from the draw here as a wildcard. Ashappened, despite two brilliant rides from Parko, Frederick came back on one ofthe finest waves of the day with a 9.97. Good work kid!

Speaking of high scores, perennial front side performer CJ Hobgood caught just twowaves in the opening quarterfinal against Phil Macdonald after earlier baggingthree nine plus scores against Luke Egan. Macca had earlier punted his mate andcurrent Foster ‘ s ratings leader Trent Munro.

CJ got a 9.8 for his first wave, and then a ten for his second quarter-final run,which was actually a comparatively ordinary wave made freakish by his calmdisposition and style. After a shortish pit, he found the reef sucking dry beforehim, a fully exposed coral head in his path. He simply took a high line and pulledback in before stitching the lip for good measure.

The rapidly draining reef, and intermittent inconsistency in the swell led toeveryone finally waking up and canning proceedings after the second quarterbetween Bruce and Cory. If the blatant forecasts hold true, we’ll get back tobusiness in the morning and be crowning the first ever Globe WCT Fiji victor bylunchtime. Dingo Morrison carries the Aussie flag alone in the first heat of theday, the third quarterfinal, against Slater. He ‘ s up to the job, but Kellywill deservedly have other ideas.

The final quarter will be between South Africa ‘ s goofy rookie Travis Logie,and fellow pro ‘ grommet Patacchia. Travis continued his impressive formyesterday taking Taj Burrow in one of the remaining heats of round three, and thenBrazil ‘ s forever impressive warrior Peterson Rosa in round four.

We’ll be hoping for the forecast 6-8 ‘ Restaurants tomorrow, which ifdelivered as expected, must make you wonder what yesterday ‘ s vanquishedquarterfinalists Phil Macdonald and Cory Lopez will be thinking as they wing theirway home. Bring on proper Restaurants! It ‘ s what we ‘ re here for, not acontest production line.

From Paul Sargeant ning the first ever Globe WCT Fiji victor bylunchtime. Dingo Morrison carries the Aussie flag alone in the first heat of theday, the third quarterfinal, against Slater. He ‘ s up to the job, but Kellywill deservedly have other ideas.

The final quarter will be between South Africa ‘ s goofy rookie Travis Logie,and fellow pro ‘ grommet Patacchia. Travis continued his impressive formyesterday taking Taj Burrow in one of the remaining heats of round three, and thenBrazil ‘ s forever impressive warrior Peterson Rosa in round four.

We’ll be hoping for the forecast 6-8 ‘ Restaurants tomorrow, which ifdelivered as expected, must make you wonder what yesterday ‘ s vanquishedquarterfinalists Phil Macdonald and Cory Lopez will be thinking as they wing theirway home. Bring on proper Restaurants! It ‘ s what we ‘ re here for, not acontest production line.

From Paul Sargeant