Wildcard Munro Eliminates Fanning In Round Two Upset At Quik Pro

Thursday, March 4, 2004 (Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast, Australia) Wildcard LukeMunro (Currumbin, QLD) today caused a major upset in the Quiksilver Propresented by Boost Mobile. Round two elimination heats of the US$260,000World Championship Tournament (WCT) were completed, with conditionsimproving throughout the day.

Messy 4-5 ft (1.5m) surf was on offer at Snapper early this morning, but asthe tide dropped and swell continued to grow, epic barrels began rifflingdown the shallow sandbank.

Munro – a former ASP Australasian Junior champion and two-time QuiksilverPro Trials winner – faced one of the event’s toughest opponents in localhero and world #4 Mick Fanning. Despite daunting prospects, the 21-year-oldeased his nerves early on with a near-perfect 9.5-barrel ride to gainadvantage. Fanning then picked off a 7.83 to be well within striking range,but had his job made all the more difficult when the wildcard locked inanother great 8.17 score towards the end and sealed victory.

“Finally made it through round two,” exclaimed Munro, who had lost bothprevious Quiksilver Pro campaigns at this point. “I just felt like if I waspatient and waited for the good waves I could do it, but I really didn’twant to get Mick Fanning in a heat out there, so I’m glad to get it out ofthe way (laughs). I knew Mick could pull out a nine, so it was only withabout 30-seconds to go I knew I had it.”

Having six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA) staying at his nearbyhouse and offering a few pointers before the clash seemed to help today, butit will take that and more to overcome his next rival – reigning two-timeworld champ Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) in round three.

“It’s not getting any easier, but now I’ve made that heat I feel like I cango alright,” reasoned Munro. “I’d love to go up against Andy, as he’s theworld champ, so I’ll be trying to have a win. I watched his heat the otherday and he ripped, but I’ll be out there putting in my two waves. I’mfrothing.”

Slater – last year’s world #2 – headlined the draw this morning againstCalifornian wildcard Dane Reynolds. The Floridian wasted no time in thehighly anticipated clash, and soon gained control with three eight plusscoring rides, while his opponent trailed throughout and ultimately requireda combination of 17.41 points to catch-up.

“I saw these waves barreling behind the rocks so I figured I’d try to getsome, and each time I was in position a good wave came,” explained Slater.”I was pretty in sync with it, but you can’t underestimate anybody here.

“I feel a lot better (now), as that’s the first heat I can remember inawhile here where I really felt like the waves coming to me,” he added. “Thelast couple of years I felt like I’ve really fought through heats. I did winthe contest here in ’98, but it was real different sandbar then. With thewaves getting bigger I feel good, as my equipment is better (suited) forit.”

2002 Quiksilver Pro champion Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) ended thebarrel feasting of Quiksilver Trials winner Shaun Gossmann. The former SouthAfrican’s performances have been outstanding, but following ‘Parko’s 9.41tube ride this morning, Gossmann required another near-perfect score of9.97-points.

“I was so lucky,” acknowledged Parkinson. “I saw that wave coming and washoping it would have some length to it. I hate first heats, especially thefirst contest of the year, so I’m glad to have that over. I was realdisappointed after losing in round one, but now I think it’s good as I’m ona roll.

“Gossmann’s a perfect wildcard I reckon,” he added. “He’s so unknown andpeople are like, ‘Who’s Shaun Gossmann?’ But when you see him surf you knowhe’s no pushover. He’s only been living here a year or so, but he reallyknows Snapper well and I’m glad I beat him.”

Brazilian Marcelo Nunes caused another upset by eliminating 2002 QuiksilverPro runner-up Cory Lopez (FL, USA). Both goofy footers belted their way downthe long righthanders, but iwas Nunes’ final 6.83 which swung the decisionhis way. Adding salt into Lopez’s wounds was the fact he broke a surfboardnear the start of the exchange and had to ride a back up. Havingre-qualified for the WCT in 2003, the result proved extra satisfying forNunes, who will now face Slater in round three.

“I’m happy cause this is the first contest and I didn’t do well in the firstround,” said Nunes. “It was hard to find two good waves then, but this placeis great. I didn’t do well my first two years on the WCT and had to make itthrough the WQS last year, but I’m so happy to be back here.”

Kalani Robb (Haw) put on a blistering performance to overcome an equallycharged Pat O’Connell (CA, USA). The Hawaiian got off to a great start -though he broke a surfboard at the end of his opening 8.33 ride, and thenposted another 7.5 on the replacement next wave for control.

“I got a barrel on my first wave and then did a floater, but when I camedown I could feel the board bust under my feet,” said Robb. “It was reallytricky out there and even the local guys have been having a hard time. Thewaves are good and the barrels are there, so I basically made the heat onthat first barrel. I feel lucky.”

Danny Wills (Byron Bay, Aus) took out WCT ‘Rookie’ and former PipelineMaster Bruce Irons (Haw) in another great bout. The former world #3 createda strong lead while his opponent was struggling to pick off a clean ride, ormake it out of some heavy barreling sections. Toward the end Irons did lockin his best wave for a 7.5 score, but still needed another worth 7.74-pointsto advance.

“I had a game plan and just stuck to it,” said Wills. “Then I tried to putthe pressure on him. He’s a great surfer and I knew it would be a good heat,and the waves are tough, so I’m happy to pull through. I just made sure Igot a lot of waves under my belt and the nerves out of the way.”

Luke Egan (Gold Coast, Aus) collected the best single score en-route toeliminating another former world #2 Shane Beschen (CA, USA). The localSnapper surfer emerged from an incredible backhand barrel and posted anear-perfect 9.87 score.

Darren O’Rafferty (Bonny Hills, Aus) posted the highest combined tally ofthe Quiksilver Pro so far in the day’s final match against Armando Daltro(Brz). The Australian was in perfect rhythm with the ideal waves, emergingfrom a crazy tube for a near-perfect 9.87 (equally Egan’s score), and alsolocked in another 9.0 to convincingly reach round three.

A strong tropical low is moving down the Queensland Coast and the weatherbureau is issuing a severe weather warning for southeast Queensland withdestructive wind gusts to 120 kilometers predicted. 10-12 ft (3-4m) wavesare being forecast for tomorrow’s Quiksilver Pro round three action andorganizers are hoping that the southeast winds prevail.

The Torquay ‘Time Tunnel’ award is again being offered during the QuiksilverPro presented by Boost Mobile, with AUD$5,000 up for gabs to whichever luckysurfer emerges from the longest tube during the competition. With epic wavesexpected throughout the tournament, the bar is definitely going to be raisedwith ridiculously long barrel rides already unfolding. Currently ShaunGossmann leads the charge with an amazing 13-second barrel in round one.

The Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile is the opening event on the2004 Foster’s Association of Surfing Professionals men’s World ChampionshipTour (WCT).

Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rdreceives US$3,400)
H1: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.4 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.0
H2: Luke Munro (Aus) 17.67 def. Mick Fanning (Aus) 11.9
H3: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 17.47 def. Shaun Gossmann (Aus) 11.83
H4: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.56 def. Luke Hitchings (Aus) 7.17
H5: Michael Lowe (Aus) 15.1 def. Troy Brooks (Aus) 14.5
H6: Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 14.16 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 13.6
H7: Phil MacDonald (Aus) 15.5 def. Greg Emslie (SAfr) 13.77
H8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.0 def. Eric Rebiere (Fra) 10.83
H9: Daniel Wills (Aus) 15.23 def. Bruce Irons (Haw) 14.33
H10: Luke Egan (Aus) 15.04 def. Shane Beschen (USA) 12.93
H11: Kalani Robb (Haw) 15.83 def. Pat O’Connell (USA) 14.47
H12: Michael Campbell (Aus) 17.77 def. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H13: Nathan Webster (Aus) 14.9 def. Trent Munro (Aus) 13.73
H14: Paulo Moura (Brz) 12.5 def. Tim Curran (USA) 4.43
H15: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.5 def. Toby Martin (Aus) 6.0
H16: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 18.87 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 8.9
amien Hobgood (USA) 16.0 def. Eric Rebiere (Fra) 10.83
H9: Daniel Wills (Aus) 15.23 def. Bruce Irons (Haw) 14.33
H10: Luke Egan (Aus) 15.04 def. Shane Beschen (USA) 12.93
H11: Kalani Robb (Haw) 15.83 def. Pat O’Connell (USA) 14.47
H12: Michael Campbell (Aus) 17.77 def. Beau Emerton (Aus)
H13: Nathan Webster (Aus) 14.9 def. Trent Munro (Aus) 13.73
H14: Paulo Moura (Brz) 12.5 def. Tim Curran (USA) 4.43
H15: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 13.5 def. Toby Martin (Aus) 6.0
H16: Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 18.87 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 8.9