Third Round Results From The Billabong Pro At Mundaka

Billabong Pro Mundaka (Oct 9-21)
www.billabongpro.com

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
www.aspworldtour.com
2002 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Fanning Ignites Third Round Pace

Mundaka, Euskadi, Spain (Sunday, October 12) Current #12 Mick Fanning (Aus)today dominated the 2002 Billabong Pro Mundaka with the highest combinedtotal of the event for 18.5-points. The US$250,000 World ChampionshipTournament (WCT) recommenced at midday with the third round, though thefinal three heats are yet to be completed.

Good 4ft (1.3m) waves were on offer throughout the day, though inconsistencywas a factor during most clashes. A warm sunny day added to the enjoymentfor the strong Spanish crowd of surfing enthusiasts.

Fanning, who trailed until the final minutes of his match with fellowAustralian Lee Winkler, came back against an opponent who would have won anyother heat today with his best two rides. After a below average 4.25 startto his campaign, the 21-year-old picked off a 9.0 to match his rival’shighest score and then secured a 9.5 to swing the lead for a dramaticconclusion.

“I was freaking at the start,” admitted Fanning. “When I missed that one andhe got his first score, I figured ‘Wink’ was going to get them all. Luckilyfor me another couple of waves came through. I knew I had to turn it up andtried the best I could. I got a nine, but still needed an 8.5 and wonderedhow I was going to manage since he had priority. He let me go that last wavethough, as he might have been too deep, and it walled up and I was able todo a few turns. I was stoked.

“That’s just the way it goes,” he added, of Winkler’s high scoring loss.”You can have the best heat but someone else can always do better.”

Fanning will now face current #3 and fellow Australian Michael Lowe, afterthe goofy foot controlled his wave-starved heat with Renan Rocha (Brz) inthe day’s opening match.

“I was definitely in what they call a guinea pig heat this morning,” saidLowe. “Mundaka doesn’t like high tide and it appeared beforehand like itcould have gotten good, but it didn’t. Luckily enough I got a 5.5 at thestart and then an 8.0 before it stopped breaking for 20-minutes.”

Current ratings leader Andy Irons (Haw) stormed past local wildcard IkerFuentes (Spn). The Hawaiian opened with a near-perfect 9.5, following aseries of extremely fast and precise backhand re-entries to equal the bestsingle score of the day. He then fell on his next two good rides, but rackedup enough points on his second to leave his opponent requiring a combinationof waves. Irons will now meet Nathan Hedge in round four, after theAustralian eliminated fellow countryman Jake Paterson in their closedecider.

“I knew a good one was coming, and that I’d need to make the whole wave,”said Irons of his opening ride. “I did a few safety turns and built speed,then tried to light it up at the end. It felt really good, but then it wentflat for like 12-minutes and I got really cold waiting. When I caught mynext one I felt really stiff and blew it.

“I’m stoked,” he continued. “A wildcard, and the crowd were so behind him,he could have blown up at any time with all the adrenalin. I just had tocatch better waves and now I have to try and keep the roll going.”

Luke Hitchings continued his recent form by eliminating fellow Australianand 1999 world and Billabong Pro Mundaka champion Mark Occhilupo. Theirclash came down to the wire, as ‘Occy’ had opened with a long 7.75 ride, butthen sat for the majority without another. Hitchings fell on a good wave,but managed a 7.25 for a slender lead, before the final minute unfolded withboth contestants catching two more. The 26-year-old’s final 8.0 ride was thebest of the match and sealed his progression.

“I think I was just lucky,” reasoned Hitchings. “I fell on the best wave ofthe heat and I think it put me into rhythm actually, as Occ let me have alittle one and it endedp being Ok. It went flat for ages, so it wasbasically whoever got the best last one. I had priority, so I was justtrying to stop him, but I couldn’t see him and he ended up getting one. Iwas lucky that another one broke out the back.

“I’m actually feeling really confident,” he continued, following hisquarterfinal finish in France last week and today’s win. “You don’t get manychances in heats and I fell off on the best wave then, so someone must belooking after me.”

Hitchings will now challenge current #13 Taj Burrow (Aus), after he beatfellow Aussie Shane Powell in their bizarre clash. The 25-minute heatactually took an hour and a half to complete, after it was restarted twiceand put on hold due to an extremely inconsistent period.

“That was amazing,” began Burrow afterward. “We held our ground for whatended up being about 30-minutes just waiting. There was a break and then westarted eventually, but the swell dropped about a third of size for ourheat. It was so bizarre, but luckily we got a couple. I would have liked tohave seen us both get perfect waves, but I’m glad I won.”

Six-time world champion Kelly Slater eliminated fellow American Taylor Knoxin their anticipated clash. While both executed plenty of great surfing, itwas the Floridian’s more critical maneuvers that ultimately earned thebetter scores. He will now face current #2 Luke Egan (Aus) in a rematch oftheir recent semifinal at Trestles, USA, after the Australian put an end toVictor Ribas’ (Brz) run in the Billabong Pro Mundaka today.

“We were lucky to have a few waves,” began Slater. “I don’t feel like Isurfed great, I just got my scores. I surfed a little better in that heatthan the last one, so hopefully I can keep improving. I haven’t been freesurfing, or gotten used to my boards this week in these wave. I think thiswave is harder to judge on your backside, rather than frontside. If it’sbarreling it’s one thing, but the way it is now it’s really hard to read thesections.

“Luke and I have had a lot of heats together this year,” he continued, ofthe upcoming re-match. “Tavarua (Fiji), J-Bay (SAfr), Gold Coast (Aus), andTrestles (USA), so yeah, there’s been a bunch. Like I said though, goofyfooters have the advantage out here, so I’m going to have to put it togetherand get the good waves.”

Neco Padaratz (Brz), winner of last weeks’ WCT in France, continued hismomentum over current #7 Shea Lopez (USA). The Brazilian generated lots ofspeed down the line for his winning floaters and backhand re-entries, inwhat was the closest heat of the day, to now be in round four againstcurrent #5 Joel Parkinson (Aus). The Australian edged out Maz Quinn (NZ) inanother tight battle; with his last 6.7 ride putting him over the line.

“Conditions were hard,” began Padaratz. “There weren’t a lot waves so youhave to use tactics. Shea’s such a good surfer, so it really difficult tocompete against him. I always have hard heats with him, as he’s a realcomplete surfer. I was lucky to make it.

“Joel’s such a good surfer also,” he continued, of his upcoming match. “It’sjust good to be through another one.”

Older brother Flavio Padaratz (Brz) also accounted for a Lopez brother,defeating current # 11 Cory (USA) earlier in the day. The Brazilian made themost of slow conditions by utilizing a final ride for an 8.0 heat toppingscore. He’ll now face current #9 Kalani Robb (Haw), who overcame NathanWebster (As) today.

“You’ve really got to be taking chances when you have a wave,” saidPadaratz.” I sort of blew it on the first set of the heat, but then he alsomade a mistake later on with priority, taking a wave that closed out. Thenthat one 8.0 came through and I knew it was my chance.

“It really made me want to go for it,” he added, of his younger brother’swin in France. “If he can do it with a bad back, I should be able to since Ifeel pretty fit.”

Current #41 Phil MacDonald (Aus) defeated reigning world champion CJ Hobgood(USA) in the day’s final heat for yet another upset. The Australian openedwith a 7.5, the best of the match, and then sealed his third victory overHobgood this year with a low scoring 3.25 final wave, as conditionscontinued to deteriorate.

“It was one of those heats without any waves,” acknowledged MacDonald. “Iwas just lucky to get that one at the start. If he had caught it, he wouldhave won the heat. In these conditions it’s pretty unfair. I mean, it’s goodto get through, but CJ was just unlucky not to get a wave. I’m just goingout there trying to surf as good as I can.”

Official results of the Billabong Pro Mundaka round three (1st > Rnd 4;2nd=17th receives US$4,000)
H1: Michael Lowe (Aus) 13.5 def. Renan Rocha (Brz) 9.25
H2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.5 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 17.5
H3: Taj Burrow (Aus) 14.5 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 9.75
H4: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 15.25 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 13.0
H5: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 14.5 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.5
H6: Kalani Robb (Haw) 13.75 def. Nathan Webster (Aus) 11.75
H7: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 13.1 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 12.9
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 15.6 def. Iker Fuentes (Spn) 9.6
H9: Luke Egan (Aus) 12.4 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.65
H10: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.0 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 13.4
H11: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.3 def. Maz Quinn (NZ) 13.9
H12: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.65 def. Shea Lopez (USA) 13.55
H13: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 10.75 def. CJ Hobgood (USA) 8.0
Remaining round three heats (1st > Rnd 4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,000)
H14: Kieren Perrow (Aus) vs. Michael Campbell (Aus)
H15: Danny Wills (Aus) vs. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H16: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
mpion CJ Hobgood(USA) in the day’s final heat for yet another upset. The Australian openedwith a 7.5, the best of the match, and then sealed his third victory overHobgood this year with a low scoring 3.25 final wave, as conditionscontinued to deteriorate.

“It was one of those heats without any waves,” acknowledged MacDonald. “Iwas just lucky to get that one at the start. If he had caught it, he wouldhave won the heat. In these conditions it’s pretty unfair. I mean, it’s goodto get through, but CJ was just unlucky not to get a wave. I’m just goingout there trying to surf as good as I can.”

Official results of the Billabong Pro Mundaka round three (1st > Rnd 4;2nd=17th receives US$4,000)
H1: Michael Lowe (Aus) 13.5 def. Renan Rocha (Brz) 9.25
H2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.5 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 17.5
H3: Taj Burrow (Aus) 14.5 def. Shane Powell (Aus) 9.75
H4: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 15.25 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 13.0
H5: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 14.5 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.5
H6: Kalani Robb (Haw) 13.75 def. Nathan Webster (Aus) 11.75
H7: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 13.1 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 12.9
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 15.6 def. Iker Fuentes (Spn) 9.6
H9: Luke Egan (Aus) 12.4 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.65
H10: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.0 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 13.4
H11: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.3 def. Maz Quinn (NZ) 13.9
H12: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.65 def. Shea Lopez (USA) 13.55
H13: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 10.75 def. CJ Hobgood (USA) 8.0
Remaining round three heats (1st > Rnd 4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,000)
H14: Kieren Perrow (Aus) vs. Michael Campbell (Aus)
H15: Danny Wills (Aus) vs. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H16: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Fabio Gouveia (Brz)