As 2004 Quiksilver Pro winner Michael “Mick” Lowe walked from the awards ceremony back to the ASP's media center to do interviews for radio and newspapers, he looked exhausted. Lowey had spent the entire day in the water, surfing four 30-minute heats with little more than an hour or so rest between each battle, and his thick body (one of his nicknames is “The Keg”) showed signs of near-exhaustion–his head bobbed with each step, his shoulders sagged, and his breathing was audible. You'd have been taking deep breaths, too, if you'd just beat six-time World Champion Kelly Slater in the quarters, red-hot power surfer Taylor Knox in the semis, and current World Champ Andy Irons in the finals … and done it all with conviction.
Lowe's wave selection was impressive to say the least, and heat after heat the Sydney local made the right decisions to create turning points in the competition. The defining moment of the final came early in the heat, when Andy Irons had priority but decided to give Lowe a wave that looked like inconsequential at first but turned out to be the highest-scoring ride of the heat.
“I wasn't quite sure what they were going to score that wave, but it hit the bank really nice and I just kept on doing turns,” Lowe told the crowd on the beach after the final. “When they announced the 9.17 and that Andy needed a 9.51, I was pretty rapt. Kelly, Knox and Andy, three in a row … go the goofy-footers, I say.”
Standing in the afternoon sun with the Australian flag draped over his broad shoulders, the 26-year-old Tour veteran who has two WCT wins in his six years as a world-ranked professional surfer added, “I think my cupboard was a bit bare, so the trophy's going to look good. To finally win in Australia is sensational.”
1st Mick Lowe (Aus) $30,000
2nd Andy Irons (Haw) $16,000
=3rd Tom Whitaker (Aus) $10,000
=3rd Taylor Knox (USA) $10,000
=5th Mark Occhilupo (Aus) $8,000
=5th Jake Paterson (Aus) $8,000
=5th Kelly Slater (USA) $8,000
=5th Victor Ribas (Brz) $8,000
For WCT and WQS ratings and results, as well as photos, video, profiles, news, and contest reports, go to aspworldtour.com. You can also find archived coverage of the Quiksilver Pro on transworldsurf.com.
The $10,000 Woman
Brazilian Jacqueline Silva defeats Rochelle Ballard to win the Roxy Pro.
With Layne Beachley uncommonly absent from the finals of a WCT event (she was beat by Rochelle Ballard in a closely contested quarterfinal), some other women were given the chance to step forward and make their mark this year at the Roxy Pro. Standouts included Rochelle, Chelsea Georgeson, and Melanie Redman-Carr, though none would outclass Brazil's Jacqueline Silva, who hoisted the 10,000-dollar check to the delight of Brazilians everywhere.
1st Jacqueline Silva (Brz) $10,000
2nd Rochelle Ballard (Haw) $6,000
=3rd Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) $4,000
=3rd Melanie Reddman-Carr (Aus) $4,000
=5th Samantha Cornish (Aus) $3,000
=5th Layne Beachley (Aus) $3,000
=5th Laurina McGrath (Aus) $3,000
=5th Maria Tavares (Brz) $3,000