Highly Anticipated Match Ups
Trestles, CA, USA (September 2) The US$250,000 Boost Mobile Pro presented byBillabong is set to commence in less than a week with a stellar list makingup the extremely anticipated first round heats. From the outset, the world’stop 46 rated surfers, together with wildcards Bruce Irons (Haw) and ShaneBeschen (USA), are pitted against each other in what is sure to be an epicshowdown.
Current ratings leader Andy Irons (Haw), who won the last World ChampionshipTournament (WCT) held at Trestles in 2000, has drawn his younger brother andwildcard entrant Bruce, along with Australian Trent Munro in their openinground clash. When told he faced last year’s Pipeline Master (Haw), Andy waseven more anxious.
“Bring it on, I can’t wait,” said Irons. “I’m heading to Trestles early toget ready. I’m psyched and excited to surf against my brother Bruce. It’llbe fun.
“It’ll be super good to be back at Trestles and compete in America,” hecontinued. “The public are usually really supportive and the waves aregreat. Last time we were there I did really well and won, but right now I’vehad two 17th’s (third round losses) in a row, so hopefully I don’t keep thatup. I just want to dust it off and we’ll see who’s on top at the end of theyear at Pipe (Haw).”
Current world #2 Michael Lowe (Aus) is feeling no pressure heading into theBoost Mobile Pro presented by Billabong, despite having closed the gap tonow be only 492 ratings points behind Irons, as the tour hits the halfwaymark on the 2002 season. His first challenge will be fellow countryman ShanePowell and Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz).
The goofy footer has enjoyed a sensational run of results in the previoustwo WCT’s staged at the quality wave locations of Fiji and Jeffreys Bay,South Africa. The victory in Fiji and the second placing in J-Bay haveallowed Lowe to remain at home in the recent break to concentrate on hisfitness and boards, rather than traveling to Europe to compete on the WorldQualifying Series (WQS) for back-up points.
“I’m feeling no pressure at all,” explained Lowe, before leaving forCalifornia. “I treat every event the same, so it wouldn’t matter if I wasn’tin second place right now. I have been doing some gym work, trying toimprove my endurance and it seems to be paying off in the water. There hasbeen some perfect surf at home and I have been enjoying myself, so my mindframe is great right now.”
“I haven’t been thinking about the world title, there are still plenty ofevents to go,” he added. “I will just be concentrating on my ownperformance. I haven’t surfed Trestles very much, but I have made thequarterfinals there before, so I am looking forward to it. I love the wave,as it is really rippable. Like anywhere though, you have to be on yourgame.”
Current #5 Mark Occhilupo and fellow Aussie Gold Coaster Dean Morrison willalso face a tough round one match-up against Trestles expert and wildcardentrant Shane Beschen (USA). The former world #2 ranked Californian surferhas won three previous tournaments at the famed high performance wave.
Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (Florida-USA) is against Luke Egan(Aus) and Paul Canning (SAfr) in the tournament’s first heat, which will nodoubt set the bar for all matches to follow.
“Trestles has been wonderful for me,” said Slater, during the last WCT atJ-Bay. “I won my first big contest there, as a pro in 1990, and I’veactually only surfed one contest there since. I’m looking forward to it, forsure.”
Local Trestles surfer and seasoned WCT campaigner Pat O’Connell (USA) wasextremely excited about the prospect of competing at home in front of hisstrong fan base. He’ll be challenged by current #4 and the season’s initialtour leader Joel Parkinson (Aus), together with former world #3 Victor Ribas(Brz).
“The Boost event at Lower Trestles probably has the most rippable waves inthe world,” said O’Connell. “We’re going to see the best surfing in theworld. It’s great that Boost have taken us back to Trestles. The Americanpublic needs to see the best surfing and that’s our venue to make it happenand show people what’s happened on the tour and where we are these days.”
Other top names lining up include reigning world champion CJ Hobgood (USA),2000 world champ Sunny Garcia (USA), and last WCT winner Mick Fanning (Aus).
The Boost Mobile Pro will be mainland USA’s only stop on this year’s WCTschedule, and the first since the Billabong Pro at Lower Trestles two yearsago. The sixth event this year, it will be staged in the best possible wavesduring the September 5th to 14th waiting period, with daily releasesavailable through the duration.
H1: Luke Egan (Aus); Kelly Slater (USA); Paul Canning (SAfr)
H2: Kalani Robb (Haw); Lee Winkler (Aus); Darren O’Rafferty (Aus)
H3: Joel Parkinson (Aus); Pat O’Connell (USA); Victor Ribas (Brz)
H4: Danny Wills (Aus); Nathan Hedge (Aus); Phil MacDonald (Aus)
H5: Shea Lopez (USA); Jake Paterson (Aus); Guilherme Herdy (Brz)
H6: Cory Lopez (USA); Taylor Knox (USA); Neco Padaratz (Brz)
H7: Michael Lowe (Aus); Shane Powell (Aus); Rodrigo Dornelles (Brz)
H8: Andy Irons (Haw); Trent Munro (Aus); Bruce Irons (Haw)
H9: Mark Occhilupo (Aus); Dean Morrison (Aus); Shane Beschen (USA)
H10: CJ Hobgood (USA); Richard Lovett (Aus); Marcelo Nunes (Brz)
H11: Taj Burrow (Aus); Shane Dorian (Haw); Paulo Moura (Brz)
H12: Sunny Garcia (Haw); Nathan Webster (Aus); Luke Hitchings (Aus)
H13: Peterson Rosa (Brz); Flavio Padaratz (Brz); Michael Campbell (Aus)
H14: Mick Fanning (Aus); Greg Emslie (SAfr); Russell Winter (UK)
H15: Damien Hobgood (USA); Fabio Gouveia (Brz); Maz Quinn (NZ)
H16: Keiren Perrow (Aus); Renan Rocha (Brz); Beau Emerton (Aus)