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TOP GUNS FIGHT BACK IN ROUND TWO OF GLOBE WCT FIJI
News provided by ASP World Tour on 23 May 2006
Cloudbreak, the wave, was the main star of the Globe WCT Fiji today, delivering incredibly perfect two to 2.5 metre (six to eight foot) extremely hollow tubes that allowed those in round two to demonstrate the full range of their repertoires.
And while many of the top seeds struggled to find form in round one yesterday, they took full advantage of the excellent waves on offer to earn their places in round three and put their victory campaigns back on track.
Leading the charge in the fourth event on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, was none other than 14-year veteran Taylor Knox, who posted the top score of the day, a 17.33 out of 20, after he weaved his way into and out of some seemingly endless pits.
The Californian naturalfooter, who has been labelled by his peers as one of the greatest surfers ever on tour, has struggled with consistency going from event to event but in 2006 seems to have found a winning formula.
His new approach which, Taylor states, is about “…being more relaxed and having fun,” is working, as the 34-year-old now sits in number three on the tour ratings and is eyeing off his best season for many years.
“I’m just relaxed and having fun out there,” said Knox. “I was a bit frustrated after losing my first heat and a friend of mine said to me ‘when you daydream you daydream, when you work you work but when you surf you surf and don’t think of anything else when you’re out there. When you go out surfing it’s all about having a good time and enjoying yourself and about putting a smile on your face.’ And there’s no reason why you can’t do that in competition. I’ve done it the other way for years so it’s good to change.”
In his heat against wildcard Ian Walsh (HAW), Knox dominated but was fearful that when the larger waves came through he could break his board and be forced to swim for another one.
There was a long lull at the end of the heat for which Knox was actually thankful.
“I would have liked to have caught a couple more waves but I was worried that my board was going to break at any point because it had a couple of buckles in it,” said Knox. “So maybe it was good that the ocean went flat. My board is in one piece and I get t surf it one more time. It’s actually a year old this board, and I brought it here last year. It might be a lucky board…”
Also pointing the nose of his board back toward the winners podium, was current world number two Bobby Martinez (USA) who scored possibly the most phenomenal wave of the event and then went on to defeat wildcard Koby Abberton (AUS).
The Californian goofyfooter took off on a two-metre “bomb” wave and disappeared for over six seconds inside its belly.
Seconds after the hordes of photographers sitting in the channel had put down their cameras and the announcers had called that he appeared to have fallen, the brazen tour rookie burst through a thick blanket of whitewater still standing.
“On that wave I was going down the line and the first section of the wave hit the tail of my surfboard and I nearly came off,” said Martinez. “But by that time the board had caught in the wave and I kept pushing it through. I was thinking I might have chance and then I just popped out of the end.”
Funnily enough while Martinez was pleased with his win he was distraught over a wave he caught in the final stages on which he fell.
He claimed it was going to be one of the best waves of the trip.
“I’m happy to win but I’m a bit bummed right now,” laughed Martinez. “I blew my last wave that I knew was going to be the best wave of the trip! It’s doing my head in right now!”
Martinez also revealed that he was nervous going up against Abberton, who despite not competing for quite some time was at his deadly best.
“It wasn’t fun going up against Koby because I know what he is capable of and I knew I had to be on my toes,” said Martinez. “It was tricky out there because some of the waves were very fast and were hard to make. I was watching Koby and I knew that when he pulled into the tube there was every chance that he could make them out and get some huge scores, so I was really nervous.”
It was a great day for Mark Occhilupo (AUS) too, who, after his setback in round one, had a relatively easy run to round three when his foe, wildcard Adam Robinson (AUS), seriously damaged his ankle on one of the first waves of the heat and had to pull out with 20 minutes to go.
“Occy” still stayed in the water for the duration and was able to surf perfect Cloudbreak on his own – scoring a solid and lengthy barrel ride in the process to score a 9.0.
“You never like winning that way and the 9.0 I got was after the fact… after Robbo had withdrawn,” said Occhilupo. “But I feel like I’m surfing good and maybe the board I’ve been riding is a little small but it’s the best board I have so hopefully the surf doesn’t get any bigger and I can keep riding it.”
Occhilupo’s major concern after winning today was that he might have to face his good mate Nathan Hedge (AUS) again, after Hedge knocked him off his perch yesterday.
“In the next round I’m hoping I don’t get Nathan Hedge again. Whatever happens I’m looking forward to it…” Occhilupo said.
Occhilupo, to his delight won’t face Hedge as he will in fact face Darren O’Rafferty (AUS).
Also looking solid was Greg Emslie (ZAF) who put on a commanding display against Yuri Sodre (BRA).
The naturalfooter who hails from East London in South Africa has also adopted a new approach to surfing heats but is giving most of the credit for his recent success to having a solid support team.
“I’m a lot more focussed this year and have some great support particularly from my board shaper Spider Murphy who has just kept throwing boards at me until I get one that I really like and feel comfortable on,” said Emslie. “It’s much easier when you have such good support.”
Results round two:
Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) 13.50 def. Aca Ratu (FIJ) 6.50
Heat 2: Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.43 def. Koby Abberton (AUS) 8.94
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.50 def. Yadin Nichol (AUS) 12.17
Heat 4: Taylor Knox (USA) 17.33 def. Ian Walsh (HAW) 6.33
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.50 def. Nathan Webster (AUS) 7.33
Heat 6: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 15.50 def Adam Robertson (AUS) 7.50
Heat 7: Phil MacDonald (AUS) 14.83 def. Davey Weare (ZAF) 8.34
Heat 8: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 15.17 def. Yuri Sodre (BRA) 13.83
Heat 9: Trent Munro (AUS) 14.50 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 9.33
Heat 10: Luke Stedman (AUS) 16.23 def. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 16.10
Heat 11: Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 14.33 def. Jarrad Howse (AUS) 3.60
Heat 12: Mikael Picon (FRA) 15.13 def. Mick Lowe (AUS) 10.17
Heat 13: Troy Brooks (AUS) 12.16 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 6.87
Heat 14: Victor Ribas (BRA) 10.00 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 9.67
Heat 15: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 15.17 def. Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 9.66
Heat 16: Jake Paterson (AUS) 16.30 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.84
Round three heat draw:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) versus Troy Brooks
Heat 2: Cory Lopez (USA) versus Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 3: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) versus Darren O’Rafferty (AUS)
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) versus Chris Ward (USA)
Heat 5: Bruce Irons (HAW) versus Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 6: Fred Patacchia (HAW) versus Nathan Hedge (AUS)
Heat 7: Trent Munro (AUS) versus Paulo Moura (BRA)
Heat 8: Andy Irons (HAW) versus Peter Mendia (USA)
Heat 9: Bobby Martinez (USA) versus Pedro Henrique (BRA)
Heat 10: Greg Emslie (ZAF) versus Danny Wills (AUS)
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) versus Victor Ribas (BRA)
Heat 12: CJ Hobgood (USA) versus Jake Paterson (AUS)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) versus Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 14: Phil MacDonald (AUS) versus Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 15: Taylor Knox (USA) versus Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS) versus Shaun Cansdell (AUS)