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Australia & Hawaii dominate Rip Curl Cup day 1

Mick fanning ready for the WCT / Photo: Tostee



RIP CURL CUP

November 25, 2000, Sunset Beach, Hawaii


Australians and Hawaiians almost evenly shared the honors on a spectacular
opening day of competition at the 2000 Rip Curl Cup, the year´s final
Association 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 ten
first round heats held today, with Hawaiians claiming four wins and a
Portuguese surfer the other victor.


The Rip Curl Cup is a six-star WQS competition (the highest grade), carrying
US$100,000 total prize money and the final results will have a major bearing
on the surfers who qualify for next year´s World Championship Tour (WCT).


Australia´s heat winners were a quartet of NSW 23-year-olds, Lee Winkler, of
Coffs Harbour, Kieran Perrow of Byron Bay, Chris Davidson, from Narrabeen,
and Andrew King, from Cronulla; and 22-year-old Queenslander Damon Nicholls.


Fanning´s second placing today behind Winkler came after he (Fanning) broke
a board early in the 30-minute heat, and his progression keeps alive his
hopes of qualifying for next year´s World Championship Tour Top 44, which
will largely be decided by results in the Rip Curl Cup.


Also advancing from Australia today were 1996 Rip Curl Cup champion, Paul
Paterson, a 28-year-old from Western Australia; Tweed Heads´ 19-year-old
Mick Fanning, and 24-year-old Gold Coaster Heath Walker.


Regarded as one of Australia´s brightest surfing talents, Fanning said after
his heat: "It was really tricky, I got smashed once and the waves were all
over the place, which is typical of big Sunset. All year we´ve had small
waves, so it´s good to have a change. I need to get through a few more
rounds yet (to qualify for the 2001 WCT), but Sunset is a great place and
it´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 was
vying with Fanning and a number of other surfers for 2001 WCT qualification.
A disappointed Morrison said: "I just couldn´t find any good ones out
there."


Hawaiian heat winners today were 25-year-old Tamayo Perry, 28-year-old Kahea
Hart, 29-year-old Love Hodel and 17-year-old Sean Moody, with 20-year-old
Tiago Pires the Portuguese winner. Along with the winners, another three
Hawaiians 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 Mesa
surfing competitively at Sunset Beach for the first time in four years.


Five of ten Brazilians who surfed today also progressed with minor placings,
with 18-year-old Raoni Monteiro the South American standout in his first
competitive outing at Sunset Beach.


The remaining six Round One heats and the first half of the Rip Curl Cup
Round 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 best
field for a WQS event this year, with 39 of the world´s top 44 lining up
against 105 aspiring professionals from 10 countries.


The top seeded surfers will enter the fray in Rounds Two and Three, with
2000 World Champion Sunny Garcia, of Hawaii, a red-hot favourite to claim
his second Sunset victory in six years and a record fifth Triple Crown
trophy, after taking out the first Hawaiian event of the season less than a
week 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 Mountain
Dew Pipeline Masters World Championship Tournament from December 8-21.


Check here for RIP CURL CUP DAY 1 RESULTS.


Jesse Faen / Asp - Surfersvillage

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