Rip Curl Cup – Day Three

Australians Dominate In Shifty Surf

Two former world champions, a pair of part-time pro surfers and ahost of young future stars produced the strongest performances atHawaii’s Sunset Beach on a dramatic third day of the 2000 Rip CurlCup – the year’s final Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)World Qualifying Series (WQS) tournament.

In shifty and sometimes inconsistent 1.5 to 2 metre conditions, thetwo oldest competitors – Hawaii’s 1993 world champion Derek Ho, 36,and Australia’s 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo, 34 – headed thelist of winners in today’s 16 heats of Round Three, as a dozenmembers of this year’s Top 44 surfers were eliminated from the event.

The 2000 Rip Curl Cup is a six-star WQS competition (the highestgrade), carrying US$100,000 total prizemoney and the final resultswill have a major bearing on the surfers who qualify for next year’sWorld Championship Tour.

The day’s leading scorer was Europe’s only successful competitor,20-year-old Portugese surfer Tiago Pires, runner-up in last month’sWorld Pro Junior Championship, also in Hawaii. Pires is surfingSunset Beach in competition for only the second time and more thanholding his own against much more fancied rivals.

Current WQS ratings leader, 22-year-old Armando Daltro of Brazil, washis country’s only heat winner of the day, although Daltro’scountrymen 21-year-old Edgar Bishoff and 29-year-old Renan Rocha alsoprogressed with second placings.

Two Australian part-time pro surfers – 27-year-old Joel Fitzgerald,of Narrabeen in Sydney, and West Australian 28-year-old PaulPaterson, the 1996 Rip Curl Cup champion and 1999 runner-up – showedthe benefits of their multiple trips to Hawaii in their heat winstoday: Paterson beating Hawaii’s 2000 world champion Sunny Garcia,while Fitzgerald overcame Florida’s current world number 13 CoryLopez.

Paterson said after his win: “The swell was really peaky out there,which is a good indication that it’s on the way up again. Imaintained a rhythm and got four good ones, so I was pretty lucky. Itwas always going to be a tough heat and I think now that I’m throughthis one, I’m going all the way. It was such a relief to get first inthis heat.

“Every year I spend three or four months here, so I’ve got to knowSunset really well and I backed up my win with a second last year, soit would be good to go one better again,” Paterson said.

Garcia said: “Second place isn’t all that great, but it gets me tothe next round and that’s all I need. Sunset’s definitely one of thebiggest events of the whole year, so it’s very important for me to dowell here. The swell’s supposed to be building throughout the day andhopefully the swell will be better for the next round.”

Also shining with heat wins today were a trio of 21-year-old futurestars – Australian Nathan Hedge, Florida’s Hobgood brothers, CJ andDamien, 19-year-old Australian Joel Parkinson and 22-year-oldHawaiian Andy Irons. Hedge and Parkinson’s wins cement theirqualification for the 2001 World Championship Tour.

Defending Rip Curl Cup champion Zane Harrison, a 20-year-old fromQueensland’s Sunshine Coast, progressed from his first heat at Sunsetsince his dramatic win last year, when he became the first teenagerto win a major Hawaiian event in more than 30 years. Overall,Australians were the dominant performers, with 13 of 27 who surfedtoday still in the hunt for the US$10,000 first prize.

Harrison said after his heat today: “There weren’t that many wavescoming through, but I got a couple of inside waves that walled up. Iwas stoked to get the first heat out of the way and hopefully it allgoes from there. I hope it gets a bit bigger for us, it would be hardto back up last year’s win with another, but I’ll be going for it.”

Other Australians to advance today were Queensland’s Heath Walker andSasha Stocker, NSW’s Richie Lovett, Andrew King and Tom Whittaker and1999 world number two Taj Burrow of Western Australia. Like Hedge andParkinson, Stocker’s progression secures his spot in the 2001 WCT.Overall, Australians were the dominant performers, with 13 of 27 whosurfed today still in the hunt for the US$10,000 first prize.

American surfers also fared reasonably well, with 11 of 26progressing. American heat winners apart from Ho, Irons and theHobgood brothers were 1996 world number two Shane Beschen and littleknown Peter Mendia, while 1999 Rip Curl Cup finalist and currentworld number 34 Ross Williams and two other Hawaiian veterans, LiamMcNamara and Kaipo Jaquias, were among those who advanced with secondplacings in the four-man heats.

South Africa’s two competitors in the event both progressed today,with 25-year-old Durbanite Paul Canning winning his heat, while24-year-old East Londoner Greg Emslie finished second behind Derek Ho.

The Rip Curl Cup is the second jewel in the Vans/G-Shock TripleCrown, and the competition is expected to be completed Wednesday(Hawaiian time), with clean two to three metre surf conditionsforecast.

RIP CURL CUP DAY 3 RESULTS SUMMARY:

Round 3: (in order of placing) 1st & 2nd advance.

H1: Paul Paterson (Aus), Sunny Garcia (Haw), Pancho Sullivan (Haw),Lee Winkler (Aus)

H2: Armando Daltro (Brz), Ross Williams (Haw), Conan Hayes (Haw),Richie Collins (USA)

H3: Peter Mendia (USA), Zane Harrison (Aus), Kieren Perrow (Aus), RoyPowers (Haw)

H4: Mark Occhilupo (Aus), Liam McNamara (Haw), Pat O’Connell (USA),Yuri Sodre (Brz)

H5: Joel Fitzgerald (Aus), Cory Lopez (USA), Love Hodel (Haw), JakePaterson (Aus)

H6: Nathan Hedge (Aus), Heath Walker (Aus), Victor Ribas (Brz), LukeHitchings (Aus)

H7: Joel Parkinson (Aus), Andrew King (Aus), Aaron Naluai (Haw), BenBourgeois (USA)

H8: Paul Canning (Safr), Edgar Bishoff (Brz), Michael Lowe (Aus),Ryan Simmons (USA)

H9: Derek Ho (Haw), Greg Emslie (Safr), Luke Egan (Aus), Chris Davidson(Aus)

H10: Tiago Pires (Port), Kaipo Jaquias (Haw), Todd Prestage (Aus),Shawn Sutton (Haw)

H11: CJ Hobgood (USA), Tom Whittaker (Aus), Myles Padaca (Haw),Glyndyn Ringrose (Aus)

H12: Toby Martin (Aus), Kalani Robb (Haw), Taylor Knox (USA), IsaacKaneshiro (Haw)

H13: Andy Irons (Haw), Taj Burrow (Aus), Brian Pacheco (Haw), MarkBannister (Aus)

H14: Shane Beschen (USA), Renan Rocha (Brz), Maz Quinn (NZ), Beau Emerton(Aus)

H15: Phillip MacDonald (Aus), Richard Lovett (Aus), Danilo Costa(Brz), Michael Campbell (Aus)

H16: Damien Hobgood (USA), Sasha Stocker (Aus), Spencer Hargraves(GB), Nathan Webster (Aus)

ENDS