Top seeded Victorian surfer Troy Brooks today narrowly won the No Fear Trials competition to claim the coveted final wildcard berth in the 2002 Rip Curl Pro World Championship Surfing Tournament, due to begin on Tuesday at Victoria’s Bells Beach.
Brooks beat fellow Victorians Adam Robertson and Glyndyn Ringrose, and NSW junior Travis Lynch in the Trials final at Gunnamatta Beach to earn his place in the 48-man field for the 30th anniversary Rip Curl Pro.
“I’m absolutely stoked to win, it was such a tight final, and I’ve had a few ups and downs this week,” Brooks said after his win.
2002 will be the second time in three years that Brooks has earned a berth in the Rip Curl Pro by winning the Trials, but he almost didn’t make it to the event today after spending a night in hospital earlier this week with a mystery stomach complaint.
In an added twist, 2002 is the third consecutive year that Brooks has suffered an injury or illness that required a hospital stay in the week before the Rip Curl Pro.
Brooks, a 23-year-old Bells Beach local, is now looking forward to the challenge of taking on the world’s best in the US$250,000 Rip Curl Pro, this year’s second World Championship Tournament.
“Bells is my home break, it’s my favourite wave, it’s a really tricky spot and I reckon knowing it so well will give me a big advantage,” Brooks said.
A former Victorian junior champion, Brooks is currently ranked fourth on the World Qualifying Series and looks a good bet to be among the world’s top 45 next year, which means he would avoid having to do the Trials for the contest he said he has watched “every Easter” since he was born.
Before then though, he has a chance to make history and become the first Bells local to claim the coveted Rip Curl Pro title, a feat he gives himself a good chance of achieving because of his local knowledge.
“I’m much more experienced now than I was in 2000, (when he was beaten by Mark Occhilupo in round two), I’m not scared of anyone at Bells and I’d just love to win the Rip Curl Pro.”
With no surf at the Rip Curl Pro’s base of Bells Beach today, organisers were forced to head across Port Phillip Bay to run the Trials at Gunnamatta in clean one metre surf.
The No Fear Trials began with a 16-man field, featuring eight of Victoria’s leading surfers, three competitors from NSW – Lynch, 35-year-old former world champion Damien Hardman and 2001 World Under 16 champion Ben Dunn – and five outstanding overseas entrants.
The Trials round robin format of three rounds climaxed with a highly exciting 25-minute final that saw the lead swing between Brooks, Robertson and Lynch a number of times, before Brooks sealed victory with his final ride in the last minute.
NO FEAR TRIALS RESULTS SUMMARY
1st Troy Brooks 24.5 points (out of a possible 30)
2nd Adam Robertson 23.85 points
3rd Glyndyn Ringrose 22.3 points
4th Travis Lynch 20.75 points
To access FREE digital images of today’s action, go to www.aspworldtour.com, or telephone Pierre Tostee c/o 0422-266-132.
The Rip Curl Pro is set to start from this Tuesday with a good swell predicted to hit Bells Beach.
The official event waiting period of the Rip Curl Pro runs from March 26-April 7, 2002.
For more information, please telephone Gary Dunne c/o 0438 613 327, or Adam Sharp c/o 0408 027198