Quiksilver Pro 2001 – Day Three

LOWER TRESTLES, CALIFORNIA-USA (Thursday, April 26, 2001) – Former world champion Tom Curren’s trademark combination of power and grace was a perfect match for the high performance 3′-5′ rights and lefts of Lower Trestles, helping him to advance handily in the marquee heat on Day 3 of the Quiksilver Pro, the first stop on the 2001 Professional Surfing Tour of America (PSTA).Conditions continued to be highly contestable, with slightly smaller but better shaped lefts and rights than the previous days, with partial overcast and a light wind that never affected quality. It was the first appearance of the contest for both Curren and former Bud Pro Tour standout Chris Brown, both of whom were seeded into Heat 9 of Round 3, and facing young upshots Wiki Villa of Hawai’i and Ian Rotgans of California. Curren started strong and early with opening wave of 7.0, then supported that with scores of 6.15 and 5.85 for a total score of 19.0. On both lefts and rights, the Rincon-bred Curren put on a style clinic for the younger generation of contestants, approaching waves with economic power and precise cutbacks.

[IMAGE 2]“I decided to try to surf the lefts because you can get back out quicker, and at least get a good wave count going in case there were no more sets,” said the soft-spoken and enigmatic former world champ after his heat. “Basically you just have to get three good scores and hopefully at the end get a slightly better one than the other guy.”

Curren was coming off his best contest result in several years, a win at the Billabong Pro in Panama in March. Asked his plans for this year, Curren said, “Hopefully go to Europe and South Africa if I can get there. I just want to do better than I did last year. Every year it gets harder, there’s more and more good surfers on the tour. As long as I can do alright, I’m still stoked on traveling and competing. I have some good boards this year… some days are better than others, but it’s always good to see what’s going on with the latest designs and types of surfing. It’s good to see the enthusiasm of the younger surfers. There’s a lot of hungry competitors here, and it’s always good to surf Trestles with just a few guys out.”

The South African duo of Llewellan Whittaker and Robbie Schofield continued their strong showings by acing their respective heats. Schofield upset three strong California surfers,Anthony Ruffo, Saxon Boucher and Travis Mellem. Whittaker scored the first perfect 10 of the contest with a seemingly endless succession of lip smacks on a medium-sized right. His three-wave heat score of 27.25 also is the highest of the contest so far. Whittaker was among several goofy-footers enjoying success on Trestles’ long, playful rights. Other right-foot-forward standouts have been CT Taylor, Ricky Schaffer, and Sean Hayes.

[IMAGE 1]Whittaker’s perfect 10 was equaled by Zach Keenan of Cardiff by the Sea, Calif., who found himself in a dream situation halfway through his heat.”I got in a good rhythm at the start, my first wave was a good score, so I was comfortable,” said the 25-year-old veteran. “I waited, got another one, that was a really good score. Then I got an inside that ended up being a solid score. The heat was combo’d by the mid-way point, so I got real patient, let the other guys catch some inside waves. When the set came, I was the only guy outside for a perfect one. It wasn’t a heat anymore, I already had my scores so I was able to loosen up and free-surf. I let loose on a couple turns, tried to mix it up and draw a different line on each turn, just throw a different approach to each section. There was a little ramp on the inside so I tried to kick my tail up and pop a little air reverse, and it came around. I had a lot of things linked together for me.”

The most competitive heat of the day pitted tour veterans Dino Andino and Dean Randazzo with younger hotties Justin Matteson and David Gonsalves. Thanks to a flurry of sets, all four surfers had little or no wwaiting between waves, and the ocean energy appeared to help elevate each surfer’s performance level. At one point about two-thirds through the 20 minute heat, the four surfers were mere percentage points apart. Then Randazzo found himself on the outside all by himself and one perfectly tapered six-foot right for the picking. Three huge top gouges and a 9.75 score later, “the Dazzler” prevailed over second place finisher Andino 23.0-19.90.

San Clemente’s Mike Parsons, who recently won $60,000 for riding the largest documented wave on record at Cortes Bank this past winter, came from behind in the final minutes of his heat to place second and advance to Round 4.

[IMAGE 3]Tomorrow brings the Quiksilver Pro’s “Aerial 2001″ air show event, showcasing the most progressive and spectacular moves by today’s top pros. Among the 60 contestants already entered include Shawn Barney Barron, Noah Budroe, Peter Mel, Chris Ward and Benji Severson.

For more information, event schedules and TV airdates: http://www.psta.tv

Quiksilver Pro at Trestleshttp://www.quiksilver.com

Official Product and Black “PSTA Tour Leader Jersey” sponsorPaul Mitchell http://www.paulmitchell.com