Beto Fernandes beats Aussies to Mr Price Pro title
Unheralded Beto Fernandes from Brazil, rated 248th in the world going into the tournament, beat a trio of highly rated Australians to clinch the 2002 Mr Price Pro title, R100 000 (US $10 000) and 2 500 invaluable points, which shot him 240 positions up the ASP World Qualifying Series WQS ratings to eighth place.
The 25 year old from Praia Grande, near Sao Paulo, whose only previous accolade was being voted ?Most powerful surfer? on the 2000 Brazilian circuit, utilised all of that power on the crumbling chest high waves at North Beach in Durban to finish ahead of current world #11 Danny Wills who was followed by fellow WCT campaigner Richie Lovett with Mark Bannister fourth.
“I’m really happy because I’ve never made a final before,” said Beto through an interpreter at the awards presentation. “The waves here (at North Beach) are like my home town, and things worked out as planned so I’m stoked to be here on the podium,” he added as the thousands of spectators, who had enjoyed a day of sunshine and world class surfing, cheered loudly.
The Brazilian was left to scratch for waves in the opening half of the 35 minute final as the Australians shut him out, but a vertical re-entry that sent a sheet of spray into the air on a hollow right-hander off the pier earned him 6.90 from the judges to move him into third behind Wills and Bannister with 12 minutes remaining.
Needing 6.01 to take overtake the heat leader, he gouged three huge moves on a head high wave that had the crowd hooting when he was awarded 8.50 points, the highest score of the final, and took a lead that he never relinquished.
Wills, the top seed for the event, Lovett, the current world #14 and Bannister, the runner up in the ISA world surfing games in Durban a month ago, all needed a score exceeding 7.25 for victory at the final siren, giving Brazil it’s second successive winner, ironically after Peterson Rosa became the first Brazilian male ever to win a surfing event in Durban last year.
Beto had signaled his intentions earlier in the tournament when he recorded both the highest accumulated two wave heat total, 18,37 out of a possible 20, and shared the highest single ride score, 9.70 from a possible 10, with fellow Brazilian Raoni Monteiro, in the outstanding overhead waves on Friday.
The South African challenge for the title, which has not been won by a local since Shaun Tomson completed the last of his six consecutive victories in 1978, fizzled out when wildcards Sean Gossmann and Daniel Redman, both from Durban, and East London?s Royden Bryson, were eliminated in the round of 32.
South America claimed a second consecutive clean sweep of the titles on offer at the Mr Price Pro as Sofia Mulanovich from Peru clinched her debut WQS women?s event title yesterday when, like Beto, she was competing in her first final. This emulated the victories of Jacqueline Silva (Brazil) and Rosa last year.
Full results of the Mr Price Pro are available on the website www.aspafrica.co.za
2002 Mr Price Pro
North Beach & Bay Of Plenty, Durban
Results ? Day 6
1. Beto Fernandes (Brz) 2500 pts ($ 10,000)
2. Daniel Wills (Aus) 2150pts ($5,000)
3. Richard Lovett (Aus) 1825 pts ($4,000)
4. Mark Bannister (Aus) 1675 pts ($3,000)
Semi Finals (3rd = 5th place US $2 600, 4th = 7th place US $2 400)
SF 1: 1.Beto Fernandes (Brz), 2.Daniel Wills (Aus), 3.Peterson Rosa (Brz), 4. Chris Davidson (Aus)
SF 2:1.Mark Bannister (Aus), 2.Richard Lovett (Aus), 3. Armando Daltro (Brz), 4. Shane Dorian (Haw)
Quarter Finals (3rd = 9th place US $2 000, 4th = 13th place US $1 800)
QF 1: 1.Daniel Wills (Aus), 2.Peterson Rosa (Brz), 3.Raoni Monteiro (Brz), 4. Nathan Hedge (Aus)
QF 2: 1.Chris Davidson (Aus), 2.Beto Fernandes (Brz), 3. Che Stang (USA), 4.Steve Clements (Aus)
QF 3: 1.RRichard Lovett (Aus), 2.Armando Daltro (Brz), 3. Paulo Moura (Brz), 4. Shane Beschen (USA)
QF 4: 1.Mark Bannister (Aus), 2.Shane Dorian (Haw), Pat O?Connell (USA), Tiago Pires (Port)