October 23, 2003 (Mundaka, Basque Country) West Australian Taj Burrow today scored a perfect 10 in the Billabong Pro Mundaka. Round three of the US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) was completed this morning, before quarterfinals went on hold until 4pm (local time) due to the higher tide. Another release will be posted if competition does resume this afternoon.
Great 4-5 ft (1.5m) waves are on offer this morning, and improved on the low tide. Cold wind and rain persisted sporadically, but epic barrels warmed everyone’s spirits.
Burrow – the current ratings #3 – amazingly had never posted a perfect score in a WCT event. Against Victor Ribas (Brz) this morning however, he stalled for a deep tube and emerged to loud applause from onlookers. He then proceeded to execute a couple of critical floaters and backhand turns to be rewarded his first 10. Together with his earlier 8.83, he earned the highest combined total so far in the Billabong Pro Mundaka.
“I got a 10,” exclaimed Burrow, in disbelief. “I’m so stoked. I was kind of struggling to stay on my feet for the first half of the heat, but then I got that one when Victor had priority. He was a little too deep and I had to take a late drop, but it had a really nice section down the line… and yeah, I got a 10 (laughs). I didn’t think I was going to get such a high score, but I’ll take it. I stalled for it and was really high up the face, but I just made it out before the end bit.”
Burrow will now face another Brazilian in Flavio Padaratz, after he dominated his heat against Danny Wills (Byron Bay, Aus) with a near-perfect 9.6 in his tally. For Padaratz, the result is already his best of the season.
“I got barreled and surfed Mundaka,” exclaimed an elated Padaratz afterward. “I can’t believe it. That wave just never stopped. I just rode it as far as I could and enjoyed the wave. It’s an unbelievable wave when it breaks. This is my first result this year, so I’m stoked.”
Current ratings #6 Kieren Perrow (Byron Bay, Aus) led the quarterfinal charge, winning the opening heat of the day against Guilherme Herdy (Brz) with a fantastic 9-point backhand barrel ride. He’ll now take on fellow countryman Mick Fanning (Gold Coast) in the first quarterfinal, after the 22-year-old eliminated Phil MacDonald this morning.
“I’m rapt,” said Perrow. “I just didn’t want to get another 9th result, so I was really focused on that heat. There weren’t many waves, but I waited and thankfully got a set near the end. I was hoping to get a couple of barrels and I finally did at Mundaka, so I’m stoked and looking forward to my next heat.”
Mick Lowe (Windang) ousted fellow Australian Dean Morrison (Gold Coast) from the Billabong Pro Mundaka. The stocky goofy footer took advantage of a great wave toward the end of their match, belting a few forehand turns before disappearing into a long barrel and earned an 8.67 for the win.
“I’ve been staying in the little town here, waking up everyday hoping one of the world’s best lefts is breaking, and it finally happened,” began Lowe, of competing at Mundaka. “It was a tough heat out there, and we both missed a few good waves early on, but I was lucky to have priority at the end when that last wave came. Luckily for me it held up and gave me a score and I got through. I’ve been having a pretty good run of late, and am happy to break into the quarterfinals.”
Six-time world champ Kelly Slater (FL, USA) then dominated his clash against Brazilian Paulo Moura, finding some good walls to work with and a couple of deep tubes. The Floridian has now gained crucial ground on ratings leader Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw), and next faces Lowe in the quarterfinals.
“I think that was the heat I was looking to get through to really start making some points,” acknowledged Slater. “9th place wasn’t going to do much for me, so now I’ve got to look forward to the next one and keep my head together. I’ve got Mick Lowe, so that’ll be tough as goofy footers seem to do better at Mundaka as you can get down the line a little quicker on your forehand. I’ll just have to pay attention to the conditions and see what happens.
“Mundaka is a really tough wave unless it’s absolutely flawless,” he continued. “It bends away from you, but is real hollow and runs away from you fast. People compare it to Kirra (Aus), but it’s not as easy to surf – especially on your backhand.”
Current ratings #5 Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) was lucky to survive his heat against fellow countryman Jake Paterson (West Australia). Despite posting a 9-point barrel near the start, Paterson was unable to find the 4.0 he required to regain control following his opponents two slightly above average scoring rides. He’ll now face fellow Australian Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen) in the fourth quarterfinal.
“I thought I was losing for sure after I saw Jake’s barrel,” admitted Parkinson. “He was in it for about four seconds, but it’s a tricky wave and you never know what’s going to happen, especially with the wind blowing up the face today. Stoked I made it though, and it was great to get a barrel out here for sure.”
The Billabong Pro Mundaka is co-sponsored by Fosters, Vans and Von Zipper and supported by Telefonica, BBK, the “Diputacion de Bizkaia”, the “Gobierno Vasco”, the city of Mundaka, the Mundaka Surf Taldea and EHSF (Federation of Surfing).
Round Three Heats
(1st>Quarterfinals; 2nd=9th receives US$5,000)
H1: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 15.67 def. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 10.17
H2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 11.17 def. Phil MacDonald (Aus) 9.17
H3: Mick Lowe (Aus) 15.5 def. Dean Morrison (Aus) 9.34
H4: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.93 def. Paulo Moura (Brz) 9.0
H5: Taj Burrow (Aus) 18.83 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 11.1
H6: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 17.77 def. Danny Wills (Aus) 14.17
H7: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 13.0 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 12.0
H8: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 13.34 def. Lee Winkler (Aus) 12.33
(1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$8,000)
QF1: Kieren Perrow (Aus) vs. Mick Fanning (Aus)
QF2: Mick Lowe (Aus) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
QF3: Taj Burrow (Aus) vs. Flavio Padaratz (Brz)
QF4: Joel Parkinson (Aus) vs. Nathan Hedge (Aus)