Surf Cult Pro
3 star ASP World Qualifying Series event
Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia.
Dates 22 - 28 April 2002
Prize money $40,000
Day of upsets at Surf Cult Pro.
25th April - Duranbah Beach, Gold Coast:
It was a day of upsets in the Surf Cult Pro with elite top 45 surfer Mick Fanning suffering his first opening round loss of the year in the 3 star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, staged at his local break.
The 20-year-old, who was uncharacteristically out of sync with the ocean struggled to connect his rides in the 1 to 1.5 metre beach-break peaks in the round five heat to be defeated by North Narrabeens Steve Clements and local young gun Dale Stivey (Palm Beach).
A super consistent showing in the high performance waves by Clements relieved the pressure on North Narrabeens surfer who has suffered a bad run of results on the Australian WQS leg.
I was aware that I had Mick in the heat but I didnt focus on it, said Clements. Its always tough on the WQS there are about 300 good surfers scratching at the door to qualify. I havent had a great run on the Australian leg so Im happy right now.
Former world no.5 Tim Curran, 24, also caused damage to the elite ranks by eliminating ASP world tour competitor Kieren Perrow (Byron Bay) with a lightening fast but fluid performance. The 24-year-old Californian, who fell out of the elite ranks at the end of the 2000 season was back to his best commencing with two high scoring rides to easily outpoint his three opponents and seal a round six berth.
I missed out on competing last year when I was sick at the beginning of the (WQS) tour and then Brazil fell over so I didnt get a chance to re-qualify, said Curran. I am really enjoying the WQS and surfing as much as when I was a 13 year old grommet again. Its just great to be competing in sunshine and warm water. I love it here.
Sunshine Coast surfer Zane Harrison advanced behind Curran after securing his second placing midway through the round five heat and remain unchallenged by his two other opponents.
Junior surfer Kirk Flintoff (Cronulla) also managed to turn the tables on his more experienced opponents and mark himself as a future world-beater. The 19-year-old simply shredded up the waves with a ballistic backhand attack to post a near- perfect 9.25 ride and advance with a win into round six.
NSWs Bar Beach surfer Jarrod Morrell progressed in second place behind Flintoff with another impressive performance that has seen him advance from the opening unseeded round of the USD40000 event. The young guns caused the elimination of top seeds Anthony MacDonald (Broulee, NSW) and Portugals Tiago Pires.
Elite top 45 surfers Beau Emerton (Gold Coast) and Russell Winter (GB) both sealed round six berths with heat wins. Emerton was in explosive form surfing both the rights and lefts with power and precision.
World no.2 surfer Mark Occhilupo (Gold Coast) was a late withdrawal from the tournament opting to continue to rest his lower back but is confident of being one hundred per cent fit for the upcoming World Championship Tour (WCT) event in Tahiti. The former world champion was disappointed at being unable to compete on his home turf stating, I would have loved to compete, especially in my home breaks. My back is on the mend but still a little tender. When the waves are small I dont extend (his back) out fully when I surf and that is how I did this injury at Newcastle. I just cant take the chance of aggravating it before Tahiti.
Other surfers advancing into round six from todays action included Luke Hitchings (Bronte), Kurt Nyholm (Mollymook), Peter Hughes (Fairhaven, Vic), Todd Prestage (Gerringong), Blair Stewart (NZ), Anthony Walsh (Lennox Head), Jay Phillips (Gold Coast) and Darren Turner (Gold Coast).
Top seeds yet to surf their round five heats include Luke Egan (Gold Coast), Danny Wills (Byron Bay), Trent Munro (Scotts Head, NSW), Dean Morrison (Gold Coast), Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast) and Sasha Stocker (Sunshine Coast).
The tournament only requires two more days in which to be run off before Sunday. Organsers will access conditions in the morning at around 6.30am.
Complete contest coverage available here
Mandy McKinnon 0417.079 941
Blake McKinnon 0421 811 014
WQS-contests - Surfersvillage