Hossegor, France (Wednesday, Aug 23, 2000). Current world number-six Rob Machado (USA) today continued his winning form to prevail in round one of the Hossegor Rip Curl Pro with the highest total score of the day. Last weeks’ World Championship Tour (WCT) champion displayed no loss of momentum to hold off an impressive show from Australian Richie Lovett and Ben Bourgeois (USA) in clean 3-5 foot (1.5m) conditions.
Machado, 26, has won at Hossegor twice before (1997 & ’95), and today made it clear he was looking for a third title. The American lit-up during his 25-minute heat to advance straight into round three. “The tide dropped out during our heat and there were some really good waves,” said Machado afterward, sporting a new extravagant hairdo. “It was actually really close, a high scoring heat. It was just non-stop. I don’t think I sat for more than a minute out the back. It’s nice to be able to catch a lot of waves and get into a little groove. “I haven’t surfed since Lacanau as it’s been flat,” he continued. “It was good to just get back into the water and back into the swing of things. The waves are different here, it’s closer to the beach and tighter and faster. It felt good to get out there and used to it again.” Current ratings’ leader Sunny Garcia (Haw) also advanced straight into round three after his win today, beating defending event champion Mick Lowe (Aus) and wildcard entrant Patrick Beven in a slow heat for waves. Despite Lowe’s crowd pleasing “Alley-oop” aerial maneuver in the dying minutes, Garcia powered his way into first place.
“I’ve been having the same kinds of heats all year,” reasoned Garcia. “Every time I go out my heats are always flat or with long lulls. Fortunately I just seem to get the waves that do come in the heat.
“Hossegor’s been a challenge for me over the years and I’ve never really done well here,” he stated. “So I’d like to at least try and win one of these years here.”
In regard to Machado and his recent move up the ratings, Garcia commented: “Rob’s been having an up and down year and I’ve always thought he was one of the greatest surfers. So talented and so fluid, it’s just a matter of if Rob wants it or not. It’s nice to see him do well. Hopefully he’ll do good here, also, but he’s definitely one of the guys I have to look out for.”
Current world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was narrowly defeated in his first round heat today after one of his opponents, Hawaiian Andy Irons, scored a perfect 10 from the judges for a long tube ride he managed to emerge from. Occhilupo will still contest tomorrow’s second round, while Irons was awarded a day off for his efforts.
“I kept catching the rights and they were closing out,” explained Irons. “Then one came and just doubled up like a V-Land (hollow wave in Hawaii) deal. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I just sneaked out the doggy door. I still needed a 4.3 and got a 4.8 at the end. ‘Occy’ caught a wave right at the end and I thought he scored what he needed, but he came up a little short.
“I’ve been on a trip with him (Occhilupo) before,” Irons added. “So it makes it a lot easier and not as intimidating. Still, it’s Occ and there’s always going to be that factor he could go loony at anytime.”
Another upset today was the narrow defeat of current world number-two Luke Egan and world number-17 Luke Hitchings (both Australian) by wildcard entrant Frederic Robin (Fra). The Frenchman earned his spot after winning the recent European Professional Surfing Association (EPSA) event that offered entry into the WCT. He and Hitchings actually tied, but on a best-of-two wave count back, the Australian came up short.
Official Results of Hossegor Rip Curl Pro Day Two
Men’s Round One Heat 1: S Dorian (Haw) 17.95; K Malloy (USA) 17.10; R Rocha (Brz) 16.65
Heat 2: R Machado (USA) 23.15; R Lovett (Aus) 22.85; B Bourgeois (USA) 15.55
Heat 3: R Winter (UK) 19.75; S Powell (Aus) 19.25; N Webster (Aus) 18.85
Heat 4: T Burrow (Aus) 21.65; P Canning (SAfr) 16.75; A Daltro (Brz) 15.30
Heat 5: C Lopez (USA) 22.95; T Martin (Aus) 16.25; S Beschen (USA) 13.00
Heat 6: A Irons (Haw) 19.90; M Occhilupo (Aus) 19.50; D Hobgood (USA) 11.65
Heat 7: C Hayes (Haw) 18.65; J Paterson (Aus) 17.90; B Emerton (Aus) 17.25
Heat 8: S Garcia (Haw) 20.15; M Lowe (Aus) 18.50; P Beven (Fra)
Heat 9: F Robin (Fra) 20.20; L Hitchings (Aus) 20.20; L Egan (Aus) 19.45
Heat 10: M Campbell (Aus) 18.15; T Curran (USA) 16.80; M Fanning (Aus) 15.40
Heat 11: R Williams (Haw) 18.20; F Padaratz (Brz) 16.40; G Ringrose (Aus) 14.45
Heat 12: K Robb (Haw) 21.65; P O’Connell (USA) 19.15; P Rosa (Brz) 16.30
Heat 13: G Herdy (Brz) 21.00; S Sutton (Haw) 18.05; D Wills (Aus) 17.35
Heat 14: S Lopez (USA) 17.40; T Prestage (Aus) 16.55; Y Sodre (Brz) 10.55
Heat 15: CJ Hobgood (USA) 15.75; T Knox (USA) 15.55; N Padaratz (Brz)
15.45 Heat 16: F Gouveia (Brz) 21.10; G Emslie (SAfr) 14.50; V Ribas