Randy Welch Boosts To Become Golden 'Goose'
Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia (Sunday, February 10) Randy 'Goose' Welch(Haw) today clinched the 2002 Quiksilver Airshow Championship presented byboost to collect a cool US$20,000 in prizemoney. Against an all-star field,the Hawaiian landed some huge frontside airs to seal victory and claim theprestigious crown.Randy Welch Boosts To Become Golden 'Goose'
Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia (Sunday, February 10) Randy 'Goose' Welch(Haw) today clinched the 2002 Quiksilver Airshow Championship presented byboost to collect a cool US$20,000 in prizemoney. Against an all-star field,the Hawaiian landed some huge frontside airs to seal victory and claim theprestigious crown.
Clean 3ft (1m) waves were on offer throughout the day, providing plenty of'ramp' sections for the world's best aerialists to launch off, as thousandsof spectators soaked up the incredible action.
Welch, 25, put his trademark frontside airs and 'Indy' grabs (whereby thesurfer grabs the rail of their surfboard behind their legs, while in theair) to full effect. The Maui resident secured a 9.23 and then an 8.07,which resulted in his total of 26.5 out of a possible 30 points, since eachsurfer's best ride is doubled when tabulated; a bonus incentive setup toinspire bigger moves.
The 30-minute final, which saw Australians Kirk Flintoff, Josh Kerr, DaveNeislon, Dave Reardon-Smith, and fellow Hawaiian Gavin Sutherland fill therespective minor places, remained intense right until the end. Welch's hugeboost, however, proved the linchpin.
"I feel fantastic," began 'Goose'. "It's my biggest win and biggest prizepurse, and the best feeling.
"When I got that one I kind of felt relaxed," he continued, referring to hisbest score. "I was just trying to pick off a good one for a second score,and that's what I did. Those last 10-minutes had my hair turning gray(laughs). I was watching Josh Kerr, and he's the kid, and there were somegood right-handers over his way. I knew that (Kirk) was coming up in thelast minute, too, doing some reverses. I was just looking for some height.
"I was US$3,800 in debt (prior to the win), so I'm taking myself to the bank(laughs)! I just laid a golden egg (more laughs)."
Flintoff, 19, who won the European Quiksilver Airshow last year, surfedbrilliantly throughout the final. He was actually first off the mark,landing one of his trademark forehand air reverses with ease, but despitepulling off more of these throughout, failed to find a score over 8.33points.
"I'm pretty stoked," said runner-up Flintoff. "I saw 'Goose' and Josh dosome big airs, so I felt like I was playing catch up the whole time.
"You never know your luck," he added. "I was just trying to stay confidentout there and hoped a big set would come through. One came, but I neededanother, so unfortunately it didn't happen."
Kerr, 17, who won the Surfing Magazine Airshow Series (SMAS) last year inCalifornia, had appeared unbeatable throughout the tournament. The youngsterlead the progressive tally prior to the final, after posting the highestever-recorded airshow heat score of 29.7 out of a possible 30 points duringround two this morning. The Australian turned on a ballistic display ofaerial surfing to also clock up the best single wave score with a nearperfect 9.93. The same heat, however, he injured his ankle and wasdisadvantaged from there on in.
"I went really well in my first two heats, but then I stuffed my ankle andblew every heat after that," explained Kerr. "It hurt the last three heats,but in the final, no complaints, I just had a shocker (laughs). I got acouple of waves, so it was all right.
"I was just waiting for a wave to come," he continued of the decider. "Theywere really small, so whoever got the waves was going to win, pretty much,and 'Goose' got them, so he deserved it."
On the other end of the spectrum, the 1998 Pipeline Masters finalists, JakePaterrson (Aus) and Bruce Irons (Haw), tied for equal last in the tournamentafter neither secured a scoring ride during their two respective heats.Irons, the 2001 Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Master, was a major pre-eventfavorite, but was unable to turn this into a result when it counted most.Likewise, Paterson was the only World Championship Tour (WCT) surferincluded in the draw, but this offered no advantage either.
Surfers from America, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa, Japan, Indonesiaand host nation Australia made up the 24 man international line-up. Theinaugural US$64,000 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) sanctionedevent is the world's richest ever Airshow tournament.
Quiksilver Airshows are a futuristic style of competitive surfing. In thisspecialized series of surfing contests, competitors attempt to launchthemselves as high as possible off a wave into the air, completing atechnical aerial 'move' at the same time. Judges only score maneuversperformed in the air, as opposed to the more traditional approach of judgingsurfing maneuvers on a wave.
Official Results of the Quiksilver Airshow Championships presented by boost
1st Randy Welch (Haw) US$20,000 – 26.5 points
2nd Kirk Flintoff (Aus) US$10,000 – 24.8
3rd Josh Kerr (Aus) US$4,500 – 22
4th Dave Neilson (Aus) US$4,000 – 21.1
5th Dave Reardon-Smith (Aus) US$3,500 – 19.1
6th Gavin Sutherland (Haw) US$3,000 – 11.6