Billabong Pro 2001 – Day 1

Irons Wins VZ Hinano Trials – World Number Three Machado Forced to Withdraw

Teahupoo, Tahiti (Monday, May 7th, 2001). Proven performer Bruce Irons (Haw)today secured one of four wildcards spots in the Billabong Pro Teahupoo bywinning the VZ Hinano Trials in clean 4-5 foot (1.5m) conditions.

[IMAGE 3]Irons, 21, who placed second to world number five Jake Paterson (Aus) in thefinal World Championship Tour (WCT) of 1998 in Hawaii as a wildcard, onceagain sounded a warning to the world’s best with a stunning showing in thefour-man final at Teahupoo. The younger brother of current world number twoAndy Irons, who coincidentally won the Trials last year, dominated the solidwaves to leave his three opponents playing catch-up for the entire 30 minutefinal.

Tahitian surfers Hira Terinatoofa and Nicolas Leetham will also feature inthe main event, with Terinatoofa finishing second to Irons, and Leethamfourth. As the next highest placed local, however, he was also granted astart. Tamayo Perry (Haw), who placed third in the final, narrowly missedout on the main event.

World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfer Kieren Perrow (Aus) had a rollercoaster ride of a day. One moment the 24 year old was eliminated from thequarterfinals of the VZ Hinano Trials, then he was handed a wildcardstraight into the main event.

[IMAGE 2]A broken hand this week forced the late withdrawal of world number three RobMachado (USA). This paved the way for Perrow as the highest rated WQScompetitor available.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Perrow after hearing the news. “I had justgiven my rash vest back (after being eliminated from the trials) and then’Robbo’ (contest director Steve Robertson) came over on the jet-ski and toldme. My heart went out to Rob (Machado) who would have been one of thefavorites here.”

Perrow has now drawn one of the tougher opening heats, going up against1999-world and event champion Mark Occhilupo, as well as fellow AustralianPaterson.

“I will just forget about who they are and surf a heat as well as I can,” hesaid. “But I will be going out to win as everyone does.”

A disappointed Machado, who suffered the break while free surfing at hishome beach in California, was forced to withdraw on medical advice.

[IMAGE 1]”I am really disappointed,” said Machado. “I love surfing hollow lefts andwould have loved to have been there. I was thinking about coming over towatch, but it would have driven me crazy.”

The Billabong Pro Teahupoo looks set to commence in the morning at theinfamous reef-break, with excellent waves predicted.

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