The Heats Get Hotter
Sunset Beach, O`ahu, HAWAI`I - (Sunday, November 26, 2000) --Solid swells in
the 10-15 foot range saw the Rip Curl Pro continue today in some of the best
conditions of the year, for both competitors and spectators. The morning
offered the biggest waves but by afternoon the storminess had settled, giving
way to excellent, barreling rides under sunny skies.
Australian Joel Parkinson scored the best of the day's action with an exceptional display of tube-riding in the second round. While his opponents opted to sit way out the back, waiting on the bigger waves, Parkinson dominated the inside Sunset Bowl for one great tube ride after another. His top three waves averaged close to seven points apiece, giving him the top heat score of the competition to date 19.65.
"Sunset is about as fun as it gets today. It's really, really good conditions," said Joel. "This is the icing on the cake. After traveling most of the year and not getting any good waves, to come here is just great. It's so challenging too. It would mean the world to me to win here. It's one of the best competitions in surfing and it's held at one of the best breaks, so to win here would be awesome."
Hawaii's Fred Patacchia kept his hopes of qualifying for the elite ASP World Championship Tour alive by advancing from his first round heat which was held over from yesterday. Up against a fully international field of surfers from Australia, Puerto Rico and Japan, Patacchia narrowly pushed through.
"There was a lot of water moving today but I was able to squeak through," said Patacchia. "Now I can't wait for the next heat. I'm 20th on the World Qualifying Series rankings right now and a lot of the guys under me don't need much, but it's really going to come down to who does good out here, who puts their life on the line out at Sunset. The one who gets the biggest waves and the biggest barrels is going to be the one who makes it. I'm willing to do that and so are a lot of other guys, so I know it's going to be close. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing events are the three biggest contests of the year and everyone wants to prove themselves here."
Other Hawaiians to advance from heats today were Conan Hayes (Big Island), Roy Powers (Haleiwa), Liam McNamara (Haleiwa), and Love Hodel (Haleiwa).
1996 Rip Curl Cup champion Paul Paterson (Australia) has his work cut out for him in the third round, drawn against Hawaii's best in world champion elect Sunny Garcia and Sunset local Pancho Sullivan. No stranger to big waves, coming from Australia's wild west coast, Paterson feels his third round heat will be a final in itself.
" I've put in a lot of time out at Sunset and it has certainly paid off," said Paterson. "I meet Pancho and Sunny now. I think if I can get through this next one, I can go all the way to the final. They are by far the toughest guys to draw. Pancho is on a roll out here, he's surfing so incredibly well at Sunset, and Sunny's unstoppable, he's won the world title already and he just won last week at Haleiwa. So that's why I think if I can get through this one I can go all the way to the final."
Californian Richie Collins was another to find his way in and out of the barrels today. He advanced from his heat to offer a detailed recount of his best ride: "At the start of the heat I had trouble riding my bigger board, so I changed with my caddy. Next wave came in and I was sitting on the inside. I took off, kind of stalled at the top of the lip of the wave and then I saw it opening up. I knew that the only way I was going to get out of the heat was to go for it, so I pulled up high and deep into it and then it shot me out. It was scary inside. I had my eyes open, closed, open, closed, because there was so much wash inside. I won the heat with that wave, praise God. It's the ultimate feeling. I used to be eighth in the world. I'm not worried about anything."
Should good competition conditions continue tomorrow, the action will resume at Sunset Beach with the completion of rounds two and three of the Rip Curl Cup or possibly the completion of the quarter finals, semi finals and final of the Quiksilver Roxy Pro.
Check out all the latest on http://www.swell.com offering live stream feeds of the day's events, along with all the scores, results and images of the events.
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Last Modified: Monday - 20001127.15:18 EST
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