O’Neill Deep Blue Open Goes Ballistic For Round Three


O?Neill Deep Blue Open 2002

Republic of the Maldives June 10th ? 17th 2002

Association of Surfing Professionals, 80,000 (USD) 5 star World Qualifying Series (WQS)

Lohifushi Island, Maldives (Thursday June 13) The O?Neill Deep Blue Openshifted up a gear as classic conditions at the left hand break of Lohi´ssent the competition steaming into the conclusion of round 2 and the startof round three. Overhead conditions at the break off of Lohifushi Islandremained consistent throughout the day and the action at the point wascompulsive viewing for the islanders as the worlds best did battle to securepositions in the latter more lucrative stages.

The Lohi´s wave today fulfilled it potential that asserting that theMaldives is home to a number high performance world-class breaks. The lefthander on the southern tip of Lohifushi island, held court to a spectatorpacked viewing deck and provided the canvas for the most dynamic andexplosive surfing the Maldive contest has ever seen. Hawaiian Ross Williamscompared the waves he demolished in his second round heat to his home breakof Rocky Point in Hawaii and the Californian wave of Lower Trestles. Roundtwo whistled through with the best surfers laying down the best lines thecontest, however round 3 saw performance levels go ballistic.

Nathan Webster (Aus), Ross Williams (Haw), Tim Reyes (USA) and Jarrad Howse(Aus) paddled out in the first heat of round three to the near perfectoverhead conditions. The next twenty-five minutes was to be one of thefiercest fought, highest scoring heats of the day. Howse upped the ante andproceeded to take the fight to his fellow competitors with an all out deadlyassault. With speed to burn, Jarrad went vertical at the lip all the waydown the line, rousing the gathered crowd into a frenzy and stealing theshow from a distinguished line-up of competitors.

?Yeah it was a pretty amazing heat. It was one of those heats where I knew Ihad to well? said a grinning Jarrad ?With the best two wave criteria thatthe judges had put on you know you can just sit and wait and that?s what Idid, I let everyone get a couple of smaller `nervous waves` I just wasbacking myself in and hoping I could get a good one of the back, I managedto get a couple of 8´s (points) so I was stoked?it?s a good result gettingthrough to the quarter finals but I got to go further to qualify (for theWCT) I really need to get a load more points in every contest, so hopefullyI can keep going.?

The two-wave format that was implemented by the judges? for the competitionallows the surfers to launch an all out assault and rack up two of thechoicest waves instead of hassling and scratching for a third score. Themethod worked and the desired result was a day of high performance, highscoring surfing.

Tim Curren (USA) along with Anthony MacDonald (AUS) also claimed their placein the quarters after another fiercely fought 3rd round heat.

?It felt really bad, I kept slipping and should have made my first wave butI?m stoked I made it? Said Tim ?It was a tough heat hopefully I will get myact together for the quarters?Its cool to be here, such a fun wave, its alot like Indonesia out there today.?

Troy Brooks AUS joined fellow countryman Jarrad Howse in making thequarterfinals. After a storming heat this morning in 2 round, Brooks uppedthe pace for his second heat of the day and took the fight straight to theseeded QS surfers. Brooks lead throughout and Damon Harvey?s aerialchallenges had no impact on his dominating position as he conquered.

?Its been a pretty busy day, I had one of the first heats this morning andone of the last heats this evening?the conditions seemed to get a bit biggerand a bit better so they were great contest waves.? Said Troy.

?I sat out back and waited for the right ones, two heats before I saw guyshaving a ball, Jarrad Howse and Noodles all going off so I was just sittingthere waiting for the right ones and they came so I am stoked and lookingforward to tomorrow.? He added

South African Greg Emslie took the final heat of the day in another intenseexchange with Luke Hitchings.

?It was really good out there, the wave is so much fun and pretty unique oneof the most rippable waves I have ever surfed you know, they?re waves thatyou can just smash so its great for a competition. I haven?t seen waves asgood as this out here before so its nice.?

The second round was loaded with nail biting action as the fiercelycompetitive heats unravelled under the clear blue skies. A sizeable crowdhad amassed on the decking that over looks the Lohis break adding theatmospheric hoots and cheers as heat after heat the surfers plugged intoMaldives perfection as it wrapped itself around Lohifushi Island. Heat 8marked the beginning of a succession of European assaults as JonathanGonzales (Cany), opened the door to round three shortly followed by TiagoPieres (Port) Eneko Acero (Spn) and Pablo Gutierrez (Spain). The advancingEuropean contingent join WQS number 3 seed Miky Picon (Fra) Sam Lamiroy (GB)and Justin Majica (Port) tomorrow in round 3.

?That was a nice heat, I glad to have made it through? stated Portugueseripper Tiago Pires after after his heat 9 victory.? I got stressed in themiddle because I wasn?t getting any waves but I picked up a small one andthat chilled me out?with the best two waves I find you have to be much moreselective and patient, there are a lot of good waves coming in but some ofthe set waves are higher scorers than others so you have to make the rightdecision?

Heath Walkers (AUS) domination of heat 10 was looking like it would see himtake the top spot but he wasn?t banking on the extraordinary talents ofHawaii?s Bruce Irons. Irons sat for much of the heat in fourth position butin the latter stages of the heat he pocketed two barrels, disappeared behindthe crystal curtain and reappearing to steal Heaths thunder.

? Yeah I left it until the last minute, some small barrels came through so I?m stoked?its my first time here, the waves are good out there, really goodconditions for a contest.?

With expectations high for another helping of Malidivian perfection the O?Neill Deep Blue goes full steam ahead into round three and beyond.