Vans Triple Crown Contender Taj Burrow Eliminated In First Heat At O’Neill World Cup Of Surfing

8-Time World Champ Slater Set to Enter the Competition Tomorrow

Sunset Beach, HAWAII – (Thursday, November 30, 2006) – Australian Taj Burrow, who is currently ranked second on the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series and third in the world, made a rapid entry and exit from the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach today. A rising swell, difficult conditions and a hungry heat of hopefuls determined to overcome the odds saw Burrow eliminated from the event at breakneck speed.

Outer-island Hawaii surfers Jesse Merle-Jones (Kauai) and Ian Walsh (Maui) slipped straight into gear, amassing points and scouring the lineup of eight- to 12-foot surf while Burrow and Canary Island surfer Jonathan Gonzalez battled to find anything deserving of even an average score. Strong rip-currents and an unpredictable mixed swell meant that being in the right place at the right time was the real contest.

Merle-Jones found two top scores of 6.67 and 5.67 for a winning total of 12.34 points out of a possible 20. Walsh managed a total of 11.3, but Gonzalez and Burrow were way off the mark with 7.8 and 4.03 respectively. Burrow’s top two scores were 3.13 and 0.9.

Burrow was one of the first four heats of the fourth round (the round of 64) that were staged at the tail end of today’s competition, after the conclusion of the round of 96. The only other surprise from the fourth round was the elimination of Luke Stedman (Australia).

But Burrow and Stedman weren’t alone in their disapointment. Also eliminated today after their first appearances in the third round were former Vans Triple Crown and World Cup champion Sunny Garcia (Hawaii), California’s Taylor Knox, Brazilians Marcelo Nunes and Danilo Costa, and Australians Luke Munro and Bede Durbidge.

Highlights of today’s surfing were high-scoring wins by super-charged Brazilian Neco Padaratz, (16.5 points which helped to eliminate Garcia), and former O’Neill World Cup and Vans Triple Crown champion Myles Padaca (Hawaii, 15.0 points).

Waves in the 10- to 12-foot range are expected to persist into tomorrow and conditions are expected to improve with the storminess calming down and offshore Tradewinds set to prevail. If and when competition resumes tomorrow, it will be with the remainder of the fourth round – including the highly anticipated entrance of eight-time world champion Kelly Slater (Florida), and current Vans Triple Crown of Surfing leader Andy Irons (Kauai). Tomorrow may also see a conclusion to the women’s Roxy Pro, which is currently at quarter final stage.

For a complete list of today’s results, please go to: www.triplecrownofsurfing.com