Billabong Pro 2001 – Day 2

Teahupoo, Tahiti (Saturday, May 12th, 2001). World champion Sunny Garcia (Haw) today setup his revenge match against Nicolas Leetham by eliminating fellow Tahitian wildcard Hira Terinatoofa in round two of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo. Meanwhile, current ratings leader Danny Wills had his tournament hopes cut short by World Championship Tour (WCT) rookie and fellow Australian Nathan Hedge.

Hollow 4-6 foot (2m) waves persisted throughout the day at Teahupoo, with isolated patches of wind and rain affecting the otherwise clean conditions sporadically.

Garcia, 31, put on a fine display of tube riding during the day’s first heat, securing a near-perfect 9-point ride and ultimately the heat over Terinatoofa. The world champ credited much of his inspiration to Leetham, who defeated him yesterday, and who he’ll now face again in the upcoming third round. According to the Hawaiian, hassling played a part in his loss to Leetham, but against his opponent today it was all about catching the right waves and finding deeper barrels.

[IMAGE 3]“It comes down to luck,” said Garcia afterward. “The guy who gets the better wave is going to win the heat. I’ve been noticing the last couple of days that the second and third waves are always better. Hira kept taking the first waves, so I was lucky on the ones behind him.

“Actually, I was looking forward to the flight home tonight so I could go see my wife,” he explained, when asked if he was relieved about winning. “For me it was a win-win situation. If I won my heat I’d surf against Nicolas again tomorrow and get some revenge, or if I lost my heat I’d get to go home to my beautiful wife. I came to realise yesterday that I enjoy competing, but I also enjoy spending my time with my wife. Without her here I no longer feel comfortable traveling. So, either she’s going to do the rest of the events with me, or I’m going to retire, as I can’t do it without her. She’s my anchor. I’ve been doing the tour for a very long time and unless I can travel with my life companion, I no longer want to do it.

“I still feel the same way about him,” added the world champ, when asked if thoughts of retiring have calmed his anger over the loss to Leetham. “Come the next round of competition, he’s going to get a real lesson in competing. If he wants to hassleÉ I’ve been doing this all my life. If he beats me again it’ll be because he got lucky with waves, it won’t be because he’s a good surfer. After seeing his comments last night on TV about how he beat the world champ and now thinks he’s one of the best surfers in the world, I beg to differ on that opinion. Anytime he wants to surf heats wave for wave, I can guarantee I’ll beat him every time.”

Wills, 25, topped the list of upsets today, leaving his envious ratings position in jeopardy with an equal 33rd result. Despite finishing second during the first WCT last month in Australia, he was unable to hold off Hedge’s forehand attack at Teahupoo.

“It’s a little bit disappointing,” began Wills. “It was a tough one. ÔHedgey’ surfed really well, and he surfed well yesterday, so I knew he was going to be a hard one to beat. It was just disappointing about the lack of waves. I basically did everything I could, so I can’t be too unhappy.

“Absolutely,” he agreed, when asked if it was additionally frustrating since he was leading the ratings. “After doing so well at Bells (Beach) it’s tough to come here and lose straight away, but it’s a long year. You can drop one or two results (for the end of year rating), so I’ll just put this aside and look forward to the next one. I’ll just try and stay focused and keep it together.”

Hedge, 21, has been in devastating form all week during practice sessions at the infamous reef break, consistently the first surfer in the lineup even before sunrise. Faced with the daunting prospect of meeting Wills, the rookie managed to put all factors aside and find some great barrels foan impressive win. He’ll now face world number 12 Guilherme Herdy (Brz) in round three.

“It’s cut-throat in this round and if you lose you end up with a 33rd, which nobody wants,” said Hedge. “So it was good to make it through that heat and fight another day. I just have to settle down and keep looking for those barrels.

“I just tried to stick to my own game,” he further explained. “I knew I could get through a heat out there. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s not to worry who’s in your heat, as it’s just another singlet (competition jersey) and they’re your opponents. If you just worry about your own game, hopefully it’ll pay off in the end.

“I don’t think there’s any really big things expected of me. This is my first year and it takes a few years to learn the ropes and figure out what is going on. I feel pretty comfortable out here. You’ve still got to show a lot of respect to the wave and the people, and just Tahiti in general. You can’t get too cocky, or you’ll be slapped down good and fast.”

World number five and six, Jake Paterson and Taj Burrow respectively, were also upsets today as Brazilians Joca Junior and Paulo Moura eliminated both Australians in consecutive heats.

Paterson, 28, made the mistake of waiting for bigger waves against Junior, consequently letting time escape without securing any good scores. The Australian acknowledged as much afterward, frustrated he’d dipped out so early on.

“I tried to get big scores when I didn’t even need them,” said Paterson. “I was acting like I was against Kieren Perrow or something (he laughed, in reference to Perrow’s exceptional performance yesterday). I just blew it, basically. I needed to focus on doing a couple of turns, or even a little tube, instead of only trying to find the big barrels. It was a big mistake on my behalf.

[IMAGE 2]“It’s a bit of a game you have to play out there and I’m not sure who’s going to be the winner of it,” he added. “When it’s bigger in a man-on-man heat out there you surf against yourself basically, but when it’s like to today you sort of have to be lucky to get the nice, clean barreling ones. I was on all the bumpy closeouts.”

Junior, 31, who re-qualified for the 2001 WCT after three years absence Ð due in part to a knee injury – made his return known today by progressing into three. The Brazilian will now face world number eight Michael Campbell (Aus).

“I’m stoked to beat Jake as he’s one of the best surfers in the world, especially in waves like these,” said Junior. “I’m happy to be back in the WCT. My wife inspired me to make a comeback, so I’m very happy with this win.”

Burrow, 22, suffered a harsher fate than Paterson the following heat, as he picked up his second consecutive 33rd finish by the closest of margins. Originally tied for 16.5 points on three best rides with Moura, a count back of best two waves generated another tie, so a final decision was made on the best single ride surfed by each competitor. Moura had an 8.25, while Burrow lost with a 7.0.

“I just had a really bad start,” said Burrow. “I thought I did enough to come back at the end, but it was a real low scoring heat. Paulo got a 3.5 on his last wave and it made the scores equal, and then even on a count back of best two waves we were still equal, but on one wave he had the highest score. It’s bad luck, and it must be happening for a reason, as I’ve had such bad luck in the last two events now. I better snap out of it soon, as I have my two throwaways for the year already.”

Moura, 21, qualified 43rd for this his maiden WCT year, so winning today was a huge confidence boost. Adding to the situation, he’s currently suffering a case of Dengue Fever, causing him to feel drained and even dizzy at times.

“It was a really good heat with Taj, and he’s a great surfer,” said Moura. “It’s good for me as I’m a little sick. I was bitten by a mosquito and now have something like Malaria (Dengue Fever) and am not feeling 100 percent. I started the heat well, but then waited too long. It’s hard and I was nervous, but I did my best.”

[IMAGE 1]1999 world and event champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) also survived today’s ‘losers’ round, eliminating world number 26 Shane Beschen (USA) in a great heat. The 34 year old came back strong with an 8.25 on his final ride, and will now meet world number 17 Luke Hitchings in round three.

“It was tough heat,” said Occhilupo. ” I have the ultimate respect for Shane’s surfing and he’s really good on his backhand. Just when I thought I had that heat, he got in front and I needed a fairly good score. When I saw that final wave I knew I could get what I needed, though.”

World number 25 Damien Hobgood (USA) posted the day’s best single ride of 9.8, as well as the highest total score of 27.7 out of a possible 30 points against 2000 World Qualifying Series (WQS) champion Armando Daltro (Brz). He’ll now face another Teahupoo standout, Andy Irons (Haw), in a much-anticipated round three clash.

Official Results of Billabong Pro Teahupoo Men
Round Two
H1: Sunny Garcia (Haw) 23.9 def. Hira Terinatoofa (Tah) 18.9
H2: Shane Dorian (Haw) 17.9 def. Beau Emerton (Aus) 14.5
H3: Joca Junior (Brz) 11.5 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 6.75
H4: Paulo Moura (Brz) 8.25 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 7.0
H5: Kalani Robb (Haw) 20.5 def. Mark Bannister (Aus) 8.75
H6: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 15.3 def. Trent Munro (Aus) 10.5
H7: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 14.5 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 6.8
H8: Nathan Webster (Aus) 17.75 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 10.5
H9: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 17.3 def. Daniel Wills (Aus) 15.1
H10: Shane Powell (Aus) 24.75 def. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 22.55
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) 20.0 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 14.0
H12: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 17.75 def. Shawn Sutton (Haw) 11.65
H13: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 21.75 def. Shane Beschen (USA) 20.05
H14: Renan Rocha (Brz) 22.65 def. Greg Emslie (SAfr) 17.35
H15: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 22.0 def. Ben Bourgeois (USA) 14.65
H16: Damien Hobgood (USA) 27.7 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 15.5
ing like Malaria (Dengue Fever) and am not feeling 100 percent. I started the heat well, but then waited too long. It’s hard and I was nervous, but I did my best.”

[IMAGE 1]1999 world and event champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) also survived today’s ‘losers’ round, eliminating world number 26 Shane Beschen (USA) in a great heat. The 34 year old came back strong with an 8.25 on his final ride, and will now meet world number 17 Luke Hitchings in round three.

“It was tough heat,” said Occhilupo. ” I have the ultimate respect for Shane’s surfing and he’s really good on his backhand. Just when I thought I had that heat, he got in front and I needed a fairly good score. When I saw that final wave I knew I could get what I needed, though.”

World number 25 Damien Hobgood (USA) posted the day’s best single ride of 9.8, as well as the highest total score of 27.7 out of a possible 30 points against 2000 World Qualifying Series (WQS) champion Armando Daltro (Brz). He’ll now face another Teahupoo standout, Andy Irons (Haw), in a much-anticipated round three clash.

Official Results of Billabong Pro Teahupoo Men
Round Two
H1: Sunny Garcia (Haw) 23.9 def. Hira Terinatoofa (Tah) 18.9
H2: Shane Dorian (Haw) 17.9 def. Beau Emerton (Aus) 14.5
H3: Joca Junior (Brz) 11.5 def. Jake Paterson (Aus) 6.75
H4: Paulo Moura (Brz) 8.25 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 7.0
H5: Kalani Robb (Haw) 20.5 def. Mark Bannister (Aus) 8.75
H6: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 15.3 def. Trent Munro (Aus) 10.5
H7: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 14.5 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 6.8
H8: Nathan Webster (Aus) 17.75 def. Marcelo Nunes (Brz) 10.5
H9: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 17.3 def. Daniel Wills (Aus) 15.1
H10: Shane Powell (Aus) 24.75 def. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 22.55
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) 20.0 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 14.0
H12: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 17.75 def. Shawn Sutton (Haw) 11.65
H13: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 21.75 def. Shane Beschen (USA) 20.05
H14: Renan Rocha (Brz) 22.65 def. Greg Emslie (SAfr) 17.35
H15: Luke Hitchings (Aus) 22.0 def. Ben Bourgeois (USA) 14.65
H16: Damien Hobgood (USA) 27.7 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 15.5