Harrison Beats World Champ Occhilupo
Pipe Continues to Claim Casualties

ASP Official Results: Round1(48)

Banzai Pipeline, O`ahu Hawai`i (December 12, 1999)-- Facing elimination from the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour (WCT), Hawaiian Andy Irons went in pursuit of a lifelong dream of winning the Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters and came up with the highest scores of the event this year. Tapping into the same form that took younger brother Bruce all the way from the trials to the final last year, Andy put together an almost faultless performance in excellent six to eight foot waves for a near-perfect heat score of 28.35 points out of 30.

Topped by a perfect 10 point tube ride, which he caught right on the heat-ending horn, Irons locked away three top scores including a 9.35 and a 9.0. Irons will need to attain his dream of winning the Pipeline Masters this week if he is to have any chance of remaining in the WCT lineup; his career is also dependent upon the performance of others, whose progress could mean that even a win would not be enough. Irons, 21, has only been on tour three years.

"I'm not making it on the WCT but I'm fine with that," Irons said after his first round heat. "I'll try to requalify through the World Qualifying Series next year. "I just want to win the contest. It's one contest I've wanted to win my whole life. It's a dream. So that's what I'm looking for here."

Younger brother Bruce, who yesterday won a wildcard into the event through the preliminary trials competition, also advanced through to round two today, placing second behind Californian Shane Beschen while eliminating Australian Michael Campbell. Bruce will clash with leader of the Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing, Hawaiian Sunny Garcia, in man-on-man round two. Garcia won his heat against Taylor Knox and Cory Lopez.

Despite smaller waves today, Pipeline still claimed its casualties.
Florida's Cory Lopez suffered a broken nose after is surfboard broke and hit him in the face, and Australian Taj Burrow went to hospital after being slammed onto the reef on his buttocks during a wipeout. While Lopez was eliminated from the event after placing third in his heat, Burrow still managed one of the highest heat scores of the day 21.65 points out of 30, and advances to the second round. He was released from hospital later in the day and is hoping the waves are small tomorrow to allow him an extra day of recovery before he plans to resume with the event.

World champion elect Mark Occhilupo, Australia, was lucky to escape injury today when he experienced the worst looking wipeout of all. Free-falling out of the lip of one of the larger waves of the day, Occhilupo impacted the water like a ton of bricks but resurfaced unharmed.

"I've actually taken a more conservative approach to riding Pipeline in recent years," said Occhilupo, who 14 years ago won the Pipeline Masters. "If nothing else, I've really learned to respect this place in the last 15 years. I was pretty shaken after Derek Ho's bad wipeout yesterday and it just amazes me the way these young guys charge the place with reckless abandon."

One of the youngsters Occhilupo made reference to was the winner of his heat this morning 19-year-old Zane Harrison, Australia, who continues to take his surfing to new heights. From a win in the Rip Curl Cup last week, to winning a Pipe Masters wildcard in huge waves yesterday, Harrison today added Occhilupo to his list of achievements. Surfing brilliantly on both the Backdoor right-handers and Pipeline left-handers in his heat, Zane accrued an impressive total of 21.75 points in his defeat of Occhilupo and third-placed Daniel Wills, Australia.

The stage is set for a showdown when competition resumes with round two, Occhilupo and Harrison drawn to meet each other man-on-man with one to be eliminated from the meet.

Others to advance to round two today included wildcard entrants Tamayo Perry (Hawaii) and defending Triple Crown champion Kelly Slater. Slater advanced in second place behind California's Pat O'Connell, who scored a perfect 10 point ride. Eliminations included that of defending Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters champion Jake Paterson, Australia, who was a casualty of the first heat of the day, and 11 year tour veteran Michael "Munga" Barry. Barry has failed to requalify for next year's WCT tour.

For more information please contact:
Jodi Young Triple Crown Media Center

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Last Modified: 19991212.1749 HST
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