Defending Champion Jake Paterson Makes It Two In A Row
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa (Tuesday, July 24th) Defending Billabong Prochampion Jake Paterson (Aus) today created history by becoming the firstsurfer to win back-to-back WCT tournaments at the world’s best point breakwhen he defeated Taylor Knox (USA). In what proved to be an epic showdown,Paterson collected US$30,000 and jumped to #7 on the current ratings.
Conditions remained 4-5 ft (1.5m) throughout the final day, with a slightonshore wind creeping in during the latter stages.
Paterson, 28, who defeated Peterson Rosa (Brz) in the 2000 final, began the40-minute decider this year on track, picking up his best ride of 8.75 toset the pace. From there he backed this up with another good score of 6.75and held a comfortable lead. Knox eventually swung things his way with anear perfect 9.0, followed by a 6.5, but as time ran out, the defendingchampion held priority and paddled into his last wave needing 5.51. Heexecuted a series of forehand snaps under pressure, giving it everything hehad left, and was ultimately rewarded a 6.3, plus the title. Again.
“Wooooo!” exclaimed Paterson, with his surfboard raised above head, as anentourage of fellow Aussie competitors and media surrounded him on the rockyshoreline. “Back-to-back, can you believe it? I thought I had (beat) him,and that was the biggest mistake of my life, thinking I had Taylor Knox.Then he got a 9.0, so I just told myself to put my head down and beselective. Of course I wasn’t, but then why not win in the last five minutesand make it exciting for the crowd (laughs)! Not really, you want to smashhim as much as you can, but win it anyway you can. Last two seconds… itdoesn’t matter.
“Yeah boys,” he continued, as he was draped in an Australian flag. “It’sincredible. It’s an incredible wave and an incredible contest. I’m back.I’ve been having a shocker this year. After Brazil (last WCT) I was prettyfed up with the waves we had there, so coming here early I got some goodones and it paid off. 30 grand richer (more laughs)! I’m just so stoked towin. That’s what it’s all about.”
Knox, 30, posted the best score of the final, but unfortunately lacked agood enough third counting wave to win. Still, the result pushes him up into#4 on the ratings, one spot ahead of current world champion Sunny Garcia(Haw).
“I had a good contest,” said Knox afterward. “It’s cool. I’m kind of bummedI lost, but I saw his last wave and I guess he got the score. I had a goodgo, but I kind of ran out of time. I got one at the end, a 6.5, and all hewould have needed was something similar.
“I’m stoked on 2nd (place) here,” he added. “It’s a great day at J-Bay, andit’s been really fun surfing all day.”
Finishing equal third today were Damien Hobgood (USA) and Beau Emerton(Aus). Hobgood, 22, started strong against Paterson, but lost the match atthe very end when his opponent picked off a 5.1 to advance through the firstsemi. Having finished 5th in the 2000 Billabong Pro, Hobgood still betteredthis result by a round, after eliminating world #9 Kalani Robb (Haw) in agreat quarterfinal this morning.
“I was trying to put the pressure on him from the start, but he only neededa small score at the end,” said Hobgood. “Last year the same thing happened.Flavio (Padaratz) needed a score at the end and got it in the final seconds.Jake actually had a little more time in that one.
“I’m just bummed I didn’t make the final ’cause it was a good opportunityright there,” he continued. “A lost opportunity, but I’ll get there.”
Emerton, 26, who entered the event as a replacement for injured world #12Guilherme Herdy (Brz), showed superb form throughout the tournament, butagainst Knox today, made uncharacteristic mistakes and fell a number oftimes. He did fight back with a 7.75 toward the end, the heat’s highestscore, but it wasn’t enough. He needed a 6.01 during the final minute, butagain fell attempting a critical floater.
“I had a bit of a shocker out there,” said Emerton. “I just left my run toolate and couldn’t seem to find anything that would link up. I got one at theend, but I just needed a bit more time. It’s a bit disappointing, but I’mstill pretty happy with the result.
“Now I can go home and shave this stupid mustache off I’ve had on all week,”he added, laughing at his own superstitions. “I didn’t want to take it off’cause I thought I’d lose.”
Crowd favorite Greg Emslie (SAfr) had his nation’s hopes riding on each wavehe caught this morning, but unfortunately the current #23’s selection provedto be inferior to Emerton, his opponent in the quarterfinals. Thoughsecuring his equal best result on the WCT with an equal 5th, he could onlymanage a total heat score of 9.4.
“I had a nightmare out there,” said Emslie. “I would have liked a goodresult here, so it’s pretty disappointing.”
The Mitchell Surfing Foundation (MSF) put on an Expression Session betweenthe final and second semi, offering cash for the surfers and entertainmentfor the onlookers. Three categories were awarded US$1,500, while the mostentertaining performance was worth US$500.
World #2 Luke Egan (Aus) secured the best ride, with ratings’ leader CJHobgood (USA) boosting the highest aerial. 1999 Billabong Pro champion JoelParkinson (Aus) found the deepest tube ride, and Emerton, who was yet toreturn to the beach from his semifinal loss, executed his famous wide legstance ‘Poo-man’ all the way down the line for the most crowd laughs.
Official Results of the Billabong Pro Final Day1st Jake Paterson (Aus) 21.3 US$30,0002nd Taylor Knox (USA) 20.5 US$16,000
Semifinals (losers finish =3rd and receive US$10,000)SF1: Jake Paterson (Aus) 19.1 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 18.85SF2: Taylor Knox (USA) 18.65 def. Beau Emerton (Aus) 14.95
Quarterfinals (losers finish =5th and receive US$8,000)QF1: Jake Paterson (Aus) 18.0 def. Nathan Webster (Aus) 17.5QF2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 22.1 def. Kalani Robb (Haw) 20.25QF3: Beau Emerton (Aus) 19.0 def. Greg Emslie (SAfr) 9.4QF4: Taylor Knox (USA) 20.25 def. Shea Lopez (USA) 13.25