Fanning Displays Opening Round Form


Saturday, November 29, 2003 (Sunset Beach, Haw) Australian Mick Fanning today displayed top form in the Rip Curl Cup opening round. The US$250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) ran through all 16 heats, though no contestants are eliminated in round one. Heavy 10-12 ft (3-4m) surf was breaking from the northeast direction. The inside bowl section offered some barreling gems, but heavy rain and a shifty lineup made the hunting difficult. Fanning – the current ratings #3 – opened his campaign against Paulo Moura (Brz) and wildcard Sean Moody (Haw) with a 9-point ride. He then collected another couple of tubes and a 7.67, earning the highest combined two-wave total so far with 16.67-points. The Gold Coaster is still in contention for this year’s world title, despite all attention focused on the pair ahead of him, but the 22-year-old is simply concentrating on maintaining his high position at this stage. “There’s none at all, I’m just here to have fun like I do in every event,” responded Fanning, after being asked if he felt added pressure due to being the featured surfer on the Rip Curl Cup poster. “It was fun out there. Still a bit tricky, but you can pick off a few. I’m sitting third on the ratings now, so hopefully I can move up, or stay around there.”

Six-time world champion and current ratings leader Kelly Slater (FL, USA) also positioned himself perfectly through some clean barrels to defeat West Australian Jake Paterson and Tahitian wildcard Manoa Drollet. The Floridian utilized the hollow inside bowl section and had the crowd cheering as he made multiple tubes. Paterson also posted some solid scores with his forehand carves, but required another ride worth 8.69-points to bride the gap.


“I’ve put in a few sessions here the past couple of weeks,” began Slater, of his Rip Curl Cup preparation. “Just trying to get used to it, but luckily there’s enough waves so three guys don’t really get in each others way too much. I ended up getting a few fun ones. I wasn’t totally aware of the situation, but I had a feeling I was in the lead toward the end. The tubes are the high scoring waves, so you’ve got to look for them.

“Yeah, that’s good,” he continued, of adding pressure to nearest ratings rival by winning the heat prior. “It was the other way around earlier this year, when Andy was winning and I was in the next heat. There’s pressure both ways.”

Reigning world champ and current ratings #2 Andy Irons (Kauai) then won his all-Hawaiian heat against Kalani Robb and Trials wildcard Love Hodel. The Kauaian broke his surfboard at the start of the match, but then caught a series of rides, including a 7.9 near the end to advance. With this year’s world title race nearing its climax, the 25-year-old needs to bridge a 700+ points gap Slater has created, so each round is crucial at this stage. “The waves were really good out there and I was trying to find the barrels,” explained Irons. “I broke my board first wave, so I was kind of nervous about pulling in after that. I don’t think I’ve ever caught more waves than that in heat at Sunset though. In a half hour heat I caught 11 waves, so I’m really happy about that. “I’m just trying to concentrate on my heats and not get too far ahead of myself,” he added, of the world title pressures. “Of course you think about your opponents in the water, and once in a while it’s in the back of your head and you think ‘oh, if I make this heat I’ll be this much closer,’ but I’m trying not to often. Just happy not to be in the 33rd place round now, as it’s scary and I really don’t like being in it.” Defending Rip Curl Cup winner Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast) won a close match over fellow Australian Phil MacDonald (Tomakin, NSW) and yesterday’s Rip Curl Cup Trials winner Joel Centeio. MacDonald emerged from a deep tube and scored an 8.33 for control midday through the heat, but ‘Parko’ came back with a 6.17 to advance straight into round three. “It was le victory at sea out there,” explained Parkinson. “I’m riding a bigger board and it’s a totally different swell direction than we had last year, which makes such a difference. Joel (Centeio) is one of the best surfers out here I think, so I was real worried about him. He put together a fairly good heat, but I know he can do a lot better and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him around the finals. I was pretty afraid of ‘Macca’ after the barrel he got, so I’m just glad I made my first heat.” 1998 Rip Curl Cup winner Shane Dorian (Kona, Haw) posted a great 9.33 tube ride to win his opening heat against Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen, Aus) and Taylor Knox (CA, USA). The Hawaiian announced his retirement from the WCT earlier this year and has only contested select events, but reminded all his ability hasn’t slipped any. “I felt pretty good and have great boards at the moment,” said Dorian. “I was just trying to get a couple of waves under my belt, as you can’t tell what’s going on. I thought ‘Hedgey’ had a couple of good ones, but it was just like a big washing machine out there. I was real lucky with that one which opened up and let me out. “This is my last year on the tour,” he added. “I’ve had so much fun and been doing it for like 12-years, but I wanted to do a couple of different things. Next year I’ll be doing a lot more big wave stuff, and tow-ins. Not so much stress, so I’ll be relaxing and having fun.” Brazilians Neco Padaratz, Guilherme Herdy and Peterson Rosa dominated the day’s opening heats. Padaratz, who claimed the 2003 World Qualifying Series (WQS) crown last week at nearby Haleiwa, continued his good fortune by advancing directly to round three ahead of Floridian Shea Lopez and fellow countryman Fabio Gouveia. His best 7-point ride sealing victory with a big drop and clean forehand carve. “I love Sunset,” said Padaratz. “It’s in my heart and I feel like I’m in my backyard out there and really comfortable. I came prepared for the waves today, but it’s hard since you can’t hear a thing out there. You see the other guys catch waves, but don’t know the situation in the heat. You’ve just got to ride your waves to the finish and do the best you can.” Danny Wills (Byron Bay) posted the day’s best single score with a near-perfect 9.83, leaving fellow Australians Toby Martin (Dee Why) and Lee Winkler (Coff’s Harbour) requiring a combination of rides to catch his 16.0 total. The diminutive natural footer escaped a huge barrel to the sound of applause from his fellow competitors watching on the beach.

Live heat scores, video and audio commentary are on during competition hours, with information available in four different languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

For full coverage of the Triple Crown of Surfing:
Official results of the Rip Curl Cup Round One (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 12.0; Shea Lopez (USA) 8.33; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 6.23
H2: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 15.33; Tom Whitaker (Aus) 8.34; Luke Egan (Aus) 5.0
H3: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 11.5; Tim Curran (USA) 4.67; Michael Lowe (Aus) 3.5
H4: Shane Dorian (Haw) 13.5; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 12.5; Taylor Knox (USA) 6.67
H5: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 10.66; Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.4; Jamie O’Brien (Haw) 8.9
H6: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 13.17; Phil MacDonald (Aus) 11.33; Joel Centeio (Haw) 11.06
H7: Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.67; Paulo Moura (Brz) 11.03; Sean Moody (Haw) 9.06
H8: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.76; Jake Paterson (Aus) 14.07; Manoa Drollet (Tah) 8.07
H9: Andy Irons (Haw) 14.57; Kalani Robb (Haw) 12.6; Love Hodel (Haw) 5.93
H10: Trent Munro (Aus) 13.17; Taj Burrow (Aus) 10.0; Pancho Sullivan (Haw) 9.6
H11: Michael Campbell (Aus) 12.34; Dean Morrison (Aus) 11.17; Danilo Costa (Brz) 9.13
H12: Cory Lopez (USA) 13.5; Luke Stedman (Aus) 7.13; Shane Powell (Aus) 5.9
H13: Daniel Wills (Aus) 16.0; Toby Martin (Aus) 7.86; Lee Winkler (Aus) 4.33
H14: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 11.83; Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.6; Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 6.5
H15: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.17; Luke Hitchings (Aus) 12.93; Armando Daltro (Brz) 10.7
H16: Chris Davidson (Aus) 16.16; Richard Lovett (Aus) 9.73; Beau Emerton (Aus) 6.67
14: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 11.83; Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.6; Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 6.5
H15: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.17; Luke Hitchings (Aus) 12.93; Armando Daltro (Brz) 10.7
H16: Chris Davidson (Aus) 16.16; Richard Lovett (Aus) 9.73; Beau Emerton (Aus) 6.67