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Slater eliminated, Occy advances at Margaret River...

Nic Muscroft © ASP / Robertson




 

Telstra Drug Aware Pro

ASP Prime Men's Event
ASP Women’s 6-Star Rated Event
Surfer's Point, Margaret River WA
18 - 25 March 2012

Live Coverage | Results/Photos/Videos etc | Slideshow

Slater eliminated, Occy advances at Telstra Drug Aware Pro

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 March, 2012 : - - Margaret River, W.A,, Australia - Sunny skies and picture perfect waves treated competitors and surf fans to an epic day of competition at the ASP Prime rated Telstra Drug Aware Pro today. The call was made to run a full day of the Men’s event to take advantage of the clean 5 – 6 foot (2 meter) surf on offer and reduce the field to just eight Quarterfinalists.

Tom Whitaker (AUS) caused the upset of the 2012 Telstra Drug Aware Pro by eliminating the 11 x ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the first round of man-on-man competition, the same Round Slater was eliminated in last year. Whitaker surfed a strong and smart heat, he caught the best waves and surfed them to his maximum potential.

“There’s only one strategy to have against Kelly,” Whitaker said. “You’ve got to wait for the best waves and surf to your strengths, because he can catch tiny waves and turn them into 9-point-rides. When you surf against Kelly there’s almost less pressure, because he’s meant to flog you. You just go out there and surf hard.”

 

 


Tom Whitaker © ASP / Robertson

 

 

Slater faced a tough heat against 2008 Margaret River champion Whitaker in clean waves that were offering up nice barrels all morning on the right hander.  He began the heat quickly, scoring a right hand barrel and coming out into a lay-back snap re-entry but could not finish cleanly as the wave closed out on the shallow reef. 

He scored an 8.23 to take the lead but this was soon match by Whitaker with a solid right hander which he hit two vertical manoeuvres, scoring a 6.50.  He then backed this up with another big right to score an 8.70 and take the lead from Slater who had caught a number of rights, regularly getting barrelled but struggling to finish any of the waves with his normal style and composure.

It soon turned into a classic showdown as the minutes counted down at the end of the heat and Slater needing a 6.98 to progress.  As the final minutes loomed and Whitaker held priority, the Indian Ocean produced one last set to decide the heat.  Whitaker committed to the first wave of the set, a large right that allowed him two vertical re-entries before landing a floater on the close out section on the inside reef.  He then had to wait as Slater took the next wave in the set, also choosing to go right.

 

 


Kelly Slater © ASP / Robertson

 

 

Slater took the wave dropping into a solid shoulder and hitting it with all his might.  He raced across the wave hitting two more turns before finishing with one last turn over the dry inside reef where he sat to await the judges scores.  Slater’s scores came in first, with the judges awarding him an 8.33 and temporarily sending him into the lead, as the two surfers waited for Whitakers score with him needing more than a 7.86 to win.  As the scores dropped in, Whitaker received a 7.97 for his final wave to take the heat by 0.1 of a point.

After the heat a disappointed Slater said “It really came down to me falling on that last manoeuvre on my first wave. I had a feeling at the time that it might come back to cost me later in the heat. I thought if I made it I probably would have got nines and that would have been the difference.  But then I thought I had done enough on my last wave to win it but I did not see his wave so I did not really know”.

Whitaker was ecstatic to beat the iconic Slater.  “I just had a game plan to go out there and try to pick the best waves and surf them to the best of my ability,” said Whitaker who caught only three waves in the thirty minute heat.  “Even if he got the medium ones he is probably going to beat you so then I was just hoping for a little bit of luck,” he said.  “When you surf against Kelly the pressure is off really as everyone expects him to whip you.  It was great to win, I love Margies and I just love the big waves”.

 

 


Kelly Slater © ASP / Robertson

 

 

John John Florence (HAW) rocketed into the Quarterfinals with a monster air-reverses that netted him the event’s first perfect 10-point-ride, and backed that up with a 9.70! Amassing the highest heat total of the event, 19.70 out of a possible 20, Florence will now face Nic Muscroft (AUS) in the Qurterfinals when competition resumes.

“The wind was coming into the waves at the start of the heat and my board kept flying away,” Florence said. “But towards the end I landed a couple of fun ones. I was paddling out pretty nervous because he (Andino) stomps airs like nothing, he’s such a good surfer. I just decided to free-surf the heat and it worked.”

Mark Occhilupo (AUS), 1999 ASP World Champion and two times Margaret River event champion advanced to the Quarterfinals today after taking out an extremely tight heat against Fredrick Patacchia (HAW). The two powerhouse goofy-footers went to battle in the afternoon wind affected conditions with Occhilupo advancing by just 0.17 of a point.

 

 


Josh Kerr © ASP / Robertson

 

 

“I got out of jail in that one,” Occhilupo said. “I was pretty comfortable at the start because Freddy (Patacchia) was having a bit of a shocker. Then he got an 8-point-ride under my priority. That’s probably happened about 200 times in my career and I went on to lose the heat about 180 of those times. The ocean went flat and he just couldn’t find another score. I got lucky.”

Olamana Eleogram (HAW) advanced to the Quarterfinals after a big win over Owen Wright (AUS). Eleogram got busy early in the heat and locked in a couple of decent scores, and left Wright chasing a score that would never come.

“It was looking really good right before my heat then it switched,” Eleogram said. “But everyone surfs the same conditions so I can’t complain. It was really nerve racking because I know Owen (Wright) can post big scores on waves that aren’t good. I got the lucky in that heat that I got a really good left. I’m stoked. I’d love to do the whole ASP World Tour, but I don’t have a lot of sponsorship backing, so right now I’m looking to get enough point to qualify for the Hawaiian events.”

 

 


Taj Burrow © ASP / Robertson 

 

 

Heat one of the day saw two-times World Champion Mick Fanning set the water bubbling, scoring some barrels, performing some extreme vertical snaps, getting an interference call and then snapping a board all in the space of twenty minutes in the middle of the heat.  With all the drama Fanning failed to advance straight through to the Round of 16 and will instead face off against Adam Melling in a man on man elimination heat later this morning.

The second heat of the day was the first of what could be countless future battles between two of the world’s most promising teenage surfers.  Young sensation John John Florence of Hawaii faced off against Californian teen prodigy Kolohe Andino in an epic contest that had more than just a direct advancement into the Round of 16 at stake.  Both surfers seemed to have a personal interest in the battle as they went wave for wave in a building head high plus swell. 

Andino struck early with a ride of 7.67 before Florence returned with a 8.23 wave.  Andino then found a 7.00 point ride in the second half of the heat to take the win by 0.77 over Florence.  After the heat, Andino was stoked to get one up on rival Florence and progress directly into the last 16.  “It was great to get that win, I really wanted it against JJ,” said Andino.  “The waves were awesome out there and I wanted to get in an aerial to try and seal it and got lucky and landed one on the right.”

 

 

 

 

Following this showdown was another hot heat featuring local favourite Taj Burrow against Kai Otton and CJ Hobgood.  Burrow continued to experiment with his board, jumping on a 5’11” Christian Bradley for his heat, and the selection quickly paid off as he sat on the right hander.  Burrow scored a number of nice rights, with one in particular allowing him a number of vertical lip snaps before riding it out with a running floater close to the shallow reef on the inside. 

His score of 8.57 wrapped up the heat for Burrow and put him directly into the round of 16, avoiding the man on man elimination Round of 24 heats.  “That was really fun, it is a nice size and just rideable on a short board,” said Burrow fresh out of the water. “The lefts will come to life as the swell builds this arvo but I have my eye on the right as they offer more for scoring.  I am going to go into town and grab brekkie and come back and watch the action and see what the swell does.”

Check the Live Coverage


Wave of the Day - 10 point score 

 

 

 

UPCOMING TELSTRA DRUG AWARE PRO MEN’S QUARTERFINALS:
QF 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Olamana Eleogram (HAW)
QF 2: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
QF 3: Nic Muscroft (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
QF 4: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. CJ Hobgood (USA)

TELSTRA DRUG AWARE PRO MEN’S ROUND OF 12 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.00 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.60
HEAT 2: Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 13.16 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 9.23
HEAT 3: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 13.17 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.00
HEAT 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 16.10 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.76
HEAT 5: Nic Muscroft 13.60 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 12.60
HEAT 6: John John Florence (HAW) 19.70 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.17
HEAT 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.14 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.77
HEAT 8: CJ Hobgood (USA) 13.84 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.73

TELSTRA DRUG AWARE PRO MEN’S ROUND OF 24 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.66 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.90
HEAT 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.13 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 9.47
HEAT 3: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 16.60 def. Blake Thornton (AUS) 12.50
HEAT 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 16.67 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.56
HEAT 5: Adam Melling (AUS) 16.20 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 7.74
HEAT 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.80 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.33
HEAT 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.13 def. Brian Toth (PRI) 10.63
HEAT 8: CJ Hobgood (USA) 17.60 def. Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 12.84


Check the
Live Coverage

Check Slideshows Days 1 to 4 | Day 5


www.aspworldtour.com
www.telstradrugawarepro.com


Previous reports:
# 1 :
Telstra Drug Aware Pro returns to Margaret River
# 2 : It's that time again: Telstra Drug Aware Pro launches
# 3 : Girls kick-off Day One at the Telstra Drug Aware Pro
# 4 : Kelly Slater & past champs into R.48 at Drug Aware Pro

# 5 : Slater dominates Margaret River R:2 in Pumping Surf
# 6 : Women's finalists determined at Margaret River...


THE EVENT IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY
Telstra, Drug Aware, Eventscorp, Healthway Department of Sport & Recreation, Health Insurance Fund of Australia, Mambo, Air Asia, Surfing Western Australia, Association of Surfing Professionals, Lexus of Perth, MargaretRiver.com, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Nine, WIN, Tracks, CINEads, Movie Masters, The Wire Magazine, South West Times Magazine, 92.9

 

 



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Source: ASP Australasia

Author: Will Hayden-Smith

Tags: ASP, Prime, Telstra Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River

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