Australians and Hawaiians almost evenly shared the honors on a spectacularopening day of competition at the 2000 Rip Curl Cup, the year’s finalAssociation of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS)tournament, at Hawaii’s Sunset Beach.
In testing three to five metre conditions, Australians won five of the tenfirst round heats held today, with Hawaiians claiming four wins and aPortuguese surfer the other victor.
The Rip Curl Cup is a six-star WQS competition (the highest grade), carryingUS$100,000 total prize money and the final results will have a major bearingon the surfers who qualify for next year’s World Championship Tour (WCT).
[IMAGE 1]Australia’s heat winners were a quartet of NSW 23-year-olds, Lee Winkler, ofCoffs Harbour, Kieran Perrow of Byron Bay, Chris Davidson, from Narrabeen,and Andrew King, from Cronulla; and 22-year-old Queenslander Damon Nicholls.
Also advancing from Australia today were 1996 Rip Curl Cup champion, PaulPaterson, a 28-year-old from Western Australia; Tweed Heads’ 19-year-oldMick Fanning, and 24-year-old Gold Coaster Heath Walker.
Fanning’s second placing today behind Winkler came after he (Fanning) brokea board early in the 30-minute heat, and his progression keeps alive hishopes of qualifying for next year’s World Championship Tour Top 44, whichwill largely be decided by results in the Rip Curl Cup.
Regarded as one of Australia’s brightest surfing talents, Fanning said afterhis heat: “It was really tricky, I got smashed once and the waves were allover the place, which is typical of big Sunset. All year we’ve had smallwaves, so it’s good to have a change. I need to get through a few morerounds yet (to qualify for the 2001 WCT), but Sunset is a great place andit’s nice to be able to enjoy the surfing.”
Out of 15 Australians who hit the water today, seven were eliminated,including 19-year-old Dean Morrison, from Queensland’s Gold Coast, who wasvying with Fanning and a number of other surfers for 2001 WCT qualification.A disappointed Morrison said: “I just couldn’t find any good ones outthere.”
Hawaiian heat winners today were 25-year-old Tamayo Perry, 28-year-old KaheaHart, 29-year-old Love Hodel and 17-year-old Sean Moody, with 20-year-oldTiago Pires the Portuguese winner. Along with the winners, another threeHawaiians also advanced to almost match the Australian tally of success.
Mainland USA surfers fared only moderately, with four of ten progressing,headed by veteran Californian Richie Collins, a 31-year-old from Costa Mesasurfing competitively at Sunset Beach for the first time in four years.(S continues next page)
[IMAGE 2]Five of ten Brazilians who surfed today also progressed with minor placings,with 18-year-old Raoni Monteiro the South American standout in his firstcompetitive outing at Sunset Beach.
The remaining six Round One heats and the first half of the Rip Curl CupRound Two are expected to be held tomorrow (November 26, Hawaiian time),with wave size forecast to stay in the three to four metre range.
As the final WQS event of the year, the Rip Curl Cup has attracted the bestfield for a WQS event this year, with 39 of the world’s top 44 lining upagainst 105 aspiring professionals from 10 countries.
The top seeded surfers will enter the fray in Rounds Two and Three, with2000 World Champion Sunny Garcia, of Hawaii, a red-hot favourite to claimhis second Sunset victory in six years and a record fifth Triple Crowntrophy, after taking out the first Hawaiian event of the season less than aweek ago.
The 2000 Rip Curl Cup is the second jewel in the Vans/G-Shock Triple Crown,the world’s most prestigious event series, which climaxes with the MountainDew Pipeline Masters World Championship Tournament from December 8-21.
[IMAGE 3]RIP CURL CUP DAY 1 RESULTS:
(Names in order of placing)
Round 1: 1st, 2nd, 3rd advanceHeat 1: Lee Winkler (Aus), Mick Fanning (Aus), Paul Paterson (Aus), TrentMunro (AAus), Marcelo Nunes (Brz), Clint Kimmins (Aus)
H2: Tamayo Perry (Haw), Aaron Fredette (Haw), Richie Collins (USA), EnekoAcero (Spn), Darren O’Rafferty (Aus), Masatoshi Ohno (Jpn)
H3: Kieran Perrow (Aus), Asher Nolan (USA), Roy Powers (Haw), Michael Ho(Haw), Wilson Nora (Brz), David Gonsalves (Haw)
H4: Kahea Hart (Haw), Liam McNamara (Haw), Raoni Monteiro (Brz), Dan Malloy
(USA), Kurt Jacobs (Aus), Fabio Silva (Brz)H5: Love Hodel (Haw), Joca Junior (BRz), Manoa Drollet (Tah), Kieran Horn(USA), Dean Morrison (Aus), Hank Mills (USA)
H6: Sean Moody (Haw), Matt Keenan (USA), Heath Walker (Aus), Jason Shibata(Haw), Jamie O’Brien (Haw), Mikael Picon (Fra)
H7: Andrew King (Aus), Marco Polo (Brz), David Weare (SAfr), Braden Dias(Haw), Will Lewis (Aus), Joel Centeio (Haw)
H8: Damon Nicholls (Aus), Edgar Bishoff (Brz), Ryan Simmons (USA), DeanRandazzo (USA), Daniel Jones (Haw), Robin Johnston (Haw)
H9: Chris Davidson (Aus), Pablo Gutierrez (Spn), Cristiano Guimares (Brz),Chris Ward (USA), Nainoa Surratt (Haw), Paulo Moura (Brz)
H10: Tiago Pires (Port), Kaipo Jaquias (Haw), Norimasa Ohno (Jpn), TanioBarreto (Brz), Christian Cook (Aus), Chris Drummy (USA)