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News provided by ASP World Tour on 11 July 2005

With the completion of the Von Zipper Trials the draw for the Billabong Pro is complete and now the newly selected wildcards are eager to upset their more seasoned rivals competing in the sixth event on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour.

With the swell slowly building to up to 1 to 1.2 metres (3 to 4 feet) throughout the day at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, organisers jumped at the opportunity to stage the Von Zipper trials late in the afternoon.

Three heats were completed with the three winners and the highest scoring second place getter now moving on to compete against the top 45 surfers in the world.

Clambering from the water, heat one winner Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) was elated with his win, especially as he had arrived at the event site from Durban, only five minutes before the start of his heat.

Fahrenfort dominated his four-man heat with his top score being an 8.33 – a wave on which he displayed a smooth yet aggressive repertoire of turns.

“I’m just stoked I got the two best waves out there,” said Fahrenfort. “I tried these trials last year but I didn’t do very well so I’m looking forward to going up against one of the top three. Imagine if just by some off chance they break their boards and I win. It would be amazing!”

Sean Holmes (ZAF), winner of heat two, was also very excited about going up against the more fancied rivals.

Although he left it to the last two minutes to score an 8.67 to win the heat, his flair was typical of that which had won him the trials event in previous years and when he brought down Andy Irons in the Billabong Pro in 2003.

“I was on the back foot the whole way through that heat,” said Holmes. “And then that one wave opened up for me and I got through. Now I’m just going out to surf against myself and enjoy it. I’m not chasing world title points so I’m just going to surf my best on every wave and take it from there. I’m not intimidated by [the guys on the WCT] in fact I’m looking forward to surfing against those guys and doing well.”

Ian Walsh (HAW) who has a reputation for big-wave riding, was a little disappointed in his trials heat form despite winning heat three, but like the other wildcards he is eager to raise the bar in round one of the Billabong Pro and is in no way timid in the face of the task ahead.

“I just surfed a pretty bad heat so I’m going to have to step it up in the next one,” said Walsh. “Everyone is surfing so good. I’m not really worried about going up against any of them [the WCT surfers]. A draw is a draw… If you get the good waves you’ll win.”

Upstart Shaun Payne (ZAF) who scraped through as the highest second place getter was the only one who was indicating any nerves about his next mission, although it more about performing in front of a packed audience in the natural amphitheatre that is Jeffreys Bay.

“I’m a bit nervous,” said Payne. “Probably more of competing in front of such a big crowd! I hope I don ’t make an idiot of myself out there!”

Walsh will take on CJ Hobgood and Jake Patterson in round one heat 8, Fahrenfort will now meet Kelly Slater and Bruce Irons in round one heat 8. Payne will join Andy Irons and Darren O’Rafferty in round one heat 9 and Holmes will go up against Joel Parkinson and Tom Whittaker in round one heat 10.

The Billabong Pro is scheduled to run between the waiting period dates of Tuesday July 12 and Friday July 22.

Organisers will wait until conditions are prime at the Jeffreys Bay break before beginning round one.

Stay tuned to and for all the live action.

Von Zipper Trials Results:

Heat one:
1. Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF)
2. James Wood (AUS)
3. Dylan Stone (ZAF)
4. Rudy Palmboom (ZAF)

Heat two:
1. Sean Holmes (ZAF)
2. Shaun Payne (ZAF)
3. Hodei Collazo (SPN)
4. Warwick Wright (ZAF)

Heat three:
1. Ian Walsh (HAW)
2. Shane Thorne (ZAF)
3. Ryan Payne (ZAF)
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF)


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