Tuesday, November 9, 2004 (Imbituba, Santa Catarina, Brazil) West Australian Taj Burrow today won the Nova Schin Festival 2004. The Foster’s men’s ASP World Championship Tournament (WCT) kicked off with quarterfinals this morning, running right through until the US$260,000 event climaxed.
Swell decreased overnight, but good 3ft (1m) peaks remained at Praia da Vila. Thousands again lined the beach to witness their favorite surfers in action.
The 35-minute final against fellow Australian Tom Whitaker began perfectly for Burrow, who picked off a long lefthander to post a daunting 8.5 first ride. The 26-year-old then fell attempting a frontside tail-sliding grab, but locked in another righthander moments later to land a huge aerial reverse maneuver for a near-perfect 9.33 score and the massive victory.
With two previous WCT wins already to his credit in Brazil (2002 & 1999), today’s marks his fourth overall and pushed him into 5th on the current ratings. He collected US$30,000 prizemoney and dedicated the outcome to his close friend ‘Twiggy’ who sadly passed away last month.
“I can’t believe it, began Burrow, after being carried up the beach by his Aussie mates. “It’s the first time in awhile I’ve peaked at the right time, so I’m so stoked. It’s my third win over here, so it’s really weird I keep getting results in Brazil. I was just a magnet for waves out there, and they kept coming to me. I knew there were some little ramps on the righthanders due to the wind, so I hunted one down and pulled it off.
“I was really trying to win a contest to dedicate it to one of my best friends who passed away in October, he continued. “I dedicate this to ‘Twiggy’! I know he’s watching.
For Whitaker, today’s final showing marked his best result to date. The 25-year-old became the first surfer to beat freshly crowned three-time world champion Andy Irons (HAW) yesterday, but in his first WCT final, was unable to bridge the gap his opponent had created. Nonetheless, he jumped all the way from 26th into 13th position on the current ratings to solidify his position on next year’s elite tour.
“What can you do against ‘TB’ on those little rights, acknowledged Whitaker. “He’s an aerial specialist, and a freak, but at least I had the best seat in the house to watch him out there (laughs).
“That’s hot, he added, when hearing his ratings position. “Top 16 is a massive feat for anyone, so that’s pretty exciting. The crowd here in Brazil was crazy. I can’t wait to have a few beers and celebrate.
Finishing equal third today were Brazilian wildcards Renan Rocha and Tanio Barreto. Both took out many of the world’s best and received US$10,000 for their efforts.
Former WCT star Rocha — who also placed third last year as a wildcard — was unable to match Whitaker’s opening 8.33 ride. A last ditch effort then incurred an interference penalty, since his opponent held priority, but this had no bearing on the final result.
“The first wave of Tom made the difference, acknowledged Rocha. “Then I missed the priority, so I couldn’t do anything at the end. It’s a great result and I’m stoked, but being so close to the final and not making it is disappointing.
Giant killer Barreto, who took down Parkinson in the world title deciding heat yesterday, then continued his great run this morning against Nathan Hedge, before having the dream shattered by a rampaging Burrow.
“I’m so happy with this result, began Barreto. “This is my fourth time competing in a WCT in Brazil, but going against Taj Burrow is so difficult. He took the good rides and did big turns off the top. I had a lot of support from my family and friends here, so this is great.
Finishing equal fifth in the Nova Schin Festival 2004 were Brazilians Fabio Gouveia and Peterson Rosa, together with six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA) and Nathan Hedge (AUS).
Slater, the defending event winner, was stopped by Burrow needing another ride worth 6.84-points. His focus, like alll WCT competitors, now turns to the final event of the year next month at Pipeline, Hawaii (December 8-20).
“There just weren’t too many waves out there, said Slater of the defeat. “Taj was consistently on the bigger sets in the heat, so not a lot I could have done. I’m frustrated since I’ve had five 5th’s this year though. I’d love to win an event this year, and my last chance to do it is at Pipeline. There’s not going to be pressure of world title situations, so it’s a little bit more of a free-for-all. I think we’re going to have a pretty exciting year at Pipe.
Nova Schin Festival WCT Brasil 2004 1st Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.83 — US$30,0002nd Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.13 — US$16,000
Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd receives US$10,000)SF1: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.6 def. Renan Rocha (BRA)SF2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.57 def. Tanio Barreto (BRA) 8.93
Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$8,000)
QF1: Renan Rocha (BRA) 12.6 def. Fabio Gouveia (BRA) 11.0
QF2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 14.0 def. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 12.0
QF3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.5 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 12.7
QF4: Tanio Barreto (BRA) 11.17 def. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 5.17
Official ASP Ratings after WCT #10/11
1. Andy Irons (HAW) 7,824-points
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 6,588
3. Kelly Slater (USA) 6,444
4. CJ Hobgood (USA) 6,048
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 5,724
6. Luke Egan (AUS) 5,700
7. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 5,688
8. Damien Hobgood (USA) 5,124
9. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 5,076
10. Michael Lowe (AUS) 4,872
The Nova Schin Festival WCT 2004 is proudly co-sponsored by the Santa Catarina Government, Tropical Brasil, Terra, Fluir magazine and Fecasurf.