Sunset Beach, O`ahu, HAWAI`I - (Tuesday, December 5, 2000) --While the
conditions at Sunset Beach were picture-perfect for the Rip Curl Cup today,
the waves proved to be highly challenging for competitors. A gradually rising
swell topped out at four to six feet but the waves were inconsistent and left more
than their fair share of international surf stars starved of critical scores.
A pattern emerged as the 16 round three heats unfolded, more often than not showing one surfer dominating the lineup with three excellent scores, while his three opponents battled each other for the leftovers.
Those to experience the upper hand of Mother Ocean's one-sided deal qualified for the last day of competition finals day of the Rip Curl Cup which is expected to take place at Sunset Beach tomorrow. Among those to advance were 2000 world champion Sunny Garcia (Hawai`i), former Rip Curl Cup champion Paul Paterson (Australia), defending Rip Curl Cup champion Zane Harrison (Australia), and Sunset Beach veteran Derek Ho, the oldest competitor in the event at 36 years of age (Hawai`i).
"It was very challenging," said 30-year-old world champion Garcia, who advanced from his heat in second place behind Paterson. "The waves are small and the swell's a little chopped up and you spend the whole heat chasing waves. It's a matter of take what you can get and hope for the best.
"Second place isn't all that great but it gets me to the next round and that's all I need. For me it's very important to do well in all three events. It would be nice to win (a record fifth) Triple Crown title. The Rip Curl Cup is definitely one of the biggest events of the whole year, so it's very important for me to do well here. The swell's supposed to be building throughout the day and hopefully it will be better for the next round."
Paterson was one of those to find good rhythm today, clearly winning Garcia's heat with a total of 17.5 points out of a possible 30. Highly esteemed Sunset surfer Pancho Sullivan was a casualty in the same heat, eliminated along with Australian Lee Winkler.
"I maintained a rhythm and got four good ones, so I was pretty lucky," said Paterson. "It was always going to be a tough heat and I think now that I'm through this one, I'm going all the way (to the final). It was such a relief to get first in this heat. Every year I spend three or four months here in Hawai`i, so I've gotten to know Sunset really well. Last year I backed up my 1996 win with a second in the final, so it would be good to go one better again this year."
Others to advance to round four include: Ross Williams (Hawai`i), Armando Daltro (Brazil), Mark Occhilupo (Australia), Liam McNamara (Hawa`i), Paul Canning (South Africa), Tiago Pires (Portugal), C.J. Hobgood (USA), and Kalani Robb (Hawai`i).
The action looks set to resume at Sunset Beach tomorrow (wed dec6) with round four, quarter finals, semi finals and final of the Rip Curl Cup the second stop of the Vans Triple Crown Series.
The Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing is made possible through the proud support of major sponsors Vans, Mountain Dew, G-Shock, Rip Curl, Quiksilver Roxy, Billabong, as well as PlayStation, Ford Ranger, Right Guard Xtreme Sport (Gilette), Rolling Stone, ESPN/ESPN2, Surfrider Foundation, the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, and the ASP.
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.
For further information:
ESPN AIR DATES
Thursday, 12/14/00, 3pm, G-Shock Hawaiian Pro
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Last Modified: Wednesday - 20001206.09:29 EST
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