FINALS – Four-Star Rip Curl Pro At Newps

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA-USA (Sunday, Sept. 9, 2001) – It was a doublevictory for the Hawaiian island of Kauai, as Garden Isle residents AndyIrons and Sena Seramur registered close victories in the Men’s and Women’sfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Newport Beach, a Men’s 4-Star and Women’s 1-Starrated ASP World Qualifying Series event and the fourth stop on theProfessional Surfing Tour of America (PSTA).

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In the Men’s final, Irons narrowly defeated Australian and fellow WCTcompetitor Taj Burrow , 21.17 points to 20.96 points out of a possible 30points for the surfers’ best three waves. Burrow’s second place finish whosesecond place finish bolstered Burrow’s #1 ranking on the ASP’s WorldQualifying Series. But if there was one surfer to put your money on, itwould have to be Irons, who earlier in the day posted his second perfect 10score of the contest with a long, dry backside tube in the Quarterfinals.Burrow chose the high road, busting several big aerial maneuvers and landingsome. After a slow start to the final, Burrow registered a 9.0 with a nearlyflawless performance on a long left to come within percentage points ofIrons. Fellow finalists Ben Bourgeois (USA) and Danilo Costa (BRZ) could notkeep up with the Irons-Burrow duel.

“California has been good to me,” said Irons, referring to his win one yearago at the WCT event at Lower Trestles. Newport’s always been a fun wave forme, and we were lucky there were waves for the whole contest.” The finalclash culminated in a last second paddle hassle between Irons, currentlyranked #6 in the world, and Burrow, who finished 6th in the world in 2000,with Irons keeping the explosive Australian from catching a final wave andproving that his competitive intelligence and mental savvy is closer tomatching his already incredible ability level. “I got lucky in the end, Tajcould have caught a wave and won it easily. He needed a little score and Iwasn’t going to let him catch that last wave. I knew I needed to sit on himto keep the lead. It was tactics.”

Said Burrow of the exchange, “I needed a 5.8 and Andy did make it prettyhard for me to get it, but that’s fine, you gotta do what you gotta do. Ihad a really slow start in that heat, all the other heats I got a faststart. That was the only heat I really took seriously, the whole way to thefinal I was more or less cruising, but once I got in the final I reallywanted to win it, especially against Andy.”

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If the Men’s final was tight, the Women’s final was just as exciting.Veteran Pro Jody Nelson, 25, of nearby Surfside, Calif. set the pace withfluorescent orange shorts, a long left and a 6.0. Yvette Bertleman of Hawaiialso opened up with a strong score in the bumpy lefts, while PSTA pointsleader and pre-contest favorite Julia Christian from Carlsbad, Calif.uncharacteristically started the heat slow. At one point Bertleman landed are-entry on top of Christian, and the two were tangled in each other’slegropes for several anxious moments. Nelson the goofy-foot looked the mostcomfortable in the difficult head-high lefts and seemed to be cruising tovictory until Sena Seramur caught a 5.57 with only 15 seconds left to passNelson.

The 17-year-old Kauai native, whose first name means “Beauty of theWaterfall,” was as shocked as anyone with the win, her first as aprofessional. Her previous best was reaching the semifinals of the US Openseveral weeks ago.” I didn’t even know what had happened at first. When theannouncer said the surfer in blue was in the lead, I thought, oh, cool forher. Then I looked down and went, wait a minute, I’m blue! They blew thehorn and it was like, oh my god. It hasn’t hit me yet, but when it does Iwill go off, definitely be ecstatic.”

In the final of the Rip Curl Air Show, the sixth stop on the Vans/SMAS AirShow Series, Newport local Dave Post’s valiant attempt at a huge slob grabwas barely enough to pull ahead of Gavin Sutherland–the two surfersactually tied for first with ideical scores of 41.0, and Post won on acount back to compare his single best air score with Sutherland’s. Duringthe Air Show final, the action started slow but began warming up withSutherland’s big frontside double grab, and Randy Welch’s tall backsideair. Dave Post wowed the crowd with a huge backside 360 attempt that endedup as an unplanned sterilizer move–he straddled his board as it flippedsideways.

Other Rip Curl Pro final day highlights included the late Quarterfinalappearance of Taylor Knox, who entered the water with only 10 minutesremaining in his heat. However, three strong lefts boosted Taylor intosecond place, and held it until only 30 seconds left on the clock, whenAustralia’s Lee Winkler caught a ultra-clean overhead left and carved aseries of snaps that scored an 8.83, putting him past Knox by .79 of apoint. It was a huge wave for Winkler, surfed one heat closer to one of 44coveted slots on the ASP World Championship Tour for 2002. “If I win my nextheat, then the WCT is wrapped up for me,” said Wink. “That was the biggestheat of my life, for sure.” Unfortunately, Winkler was unable to get by TajBurrow and Ben Bourgeois in the first semifinal.

Also in the Quarterfinals, Andy Irons picked up where he left off Fridaywith the second perfect 10 point score for another dry backside barrel thatgot the crowd hooting. The soft-spoken Kauai resident was low-key about hissecond perfect wave, but perked up when asked about emergence of the PSTA asa strong US pro surfing presence. “It’s so insane, it’s a dream come true. Iused to watch the PSAA Professional Surfing Association of America when Iwas a grom and it got me psyched to do contests. Hopefully they keep itgoing because I’m still psyched to do it!”

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Concluded Rip Curl Projects/Events Manager Adam Sharp, “Rip Curl has beensuper pleased with the caliber of the event here in Newport. We witnessedsome incredible, dynamic surfing and the final between Andy and Taj wasepic. We look forward to seeing this event grow here on the US mainland.”

Rip Curl Pro Newport Beach, Sept. 5-9, 2001Women’s Shortboard Quarterfinals

Heat 1
1. Jodie Nelson 10.74
2. Katy Clark 8.49
3. Nicole Grodesky 5.54
Heat 2
1. Yvette Bertleman 12.00
2. Angi Conti 10.77
3. Dianna Mattison 7.56
4. Jayme Lee-Gee 6.60
Heat 3
1. Julia Christian 10.24
2. Liz Motshagen 9.24
3. Sira Cota 5.73
4. Karin Moran 3.67
Heat 4
1. Holly Beck 14.10
2. Sena Seramur 12.54
3. Kyla Langen 10.60
4. Erin Edwards 4.27
Men’s Shortboard Quarterfinals
Heat 1
1. Taj Burrow 15.83
2. Ben Bourgeois 15.00
3. Tim Curran 12.67
4. Carlos Cabrero 10.60
Heat 2
1. Matt Thompson 19.50
2. Lee Winkler 18.96
3. Taylor Knox 18.17
4. Ryan Simmons 17.03
Heat 3
1. Bobby Martinez 25.17
2. Danilo Costa 18.53
3. Joca Junior 13.43
4. Chris Drummy 11.14
Heat 4
1. Andy Irons
2. Jason Shibata
3. David Weare 14.83
4. Shane Beschen 14.16
Women’s Shortboard Semifinals
Heat 1
1. Yvette Bertleman 11.67
2. Jodie Nelson 11.30
3. Angi Conte 10.00
4. Katy Clark 5.90
Heat 2
1. Julia Christian 15.06
2. Sena Seramur 14.10
3. Holly Beck 13.83
4. Liz Motshagen 10.03
Men’s Shortboard Semifinals
Heat 1
1. Taj Burrow 21.31
2. Ben Bourgeois 19.20
3. Lee Winkler 16.43
4. Matt Thompson
Heat 2
1. Andy Irons 20.40
2. Danilo Costa 18.61
3. Bobby Martinez 17.74
4. Jason Shibata 11.13
SMAS Rip Curl Air Show Final
1. Dave Post 41.0 (wins on countback)
2. Gavin Sutherland 41.0
3. Randy Welch 36.5
4. Eric McHenry 25.5
5. Ben Brough 20.0
Shawn Barron 9.0
Women’s Shortboard Final
1. Sena Seramur 15.17 ($2,000 USD)
2. Jodie Nelson 14.83 ($900 USD)
3. Julia Christian 14.33 ($600 USD)
4. Yvette Bertleman 8.17 ($500 USD)
Men’s Shortboard Final
1. Andy Irons 21.17 ($6,000 USD)
2. Taj Burrow 20.96 ($3,000 USD)
3. Ben Bourgeois 16.26 ($2,500 USD)
4. Danilo Costa 14.60 ($2,100 USD)
Bourgeois 16.26 ($2,500 USD)
4. Danilo Costa 14.60 ($2,100 USD)