Tavarua Island, Fiji (Tuesday, May 23, 2000).
Current world champion and defending event winner Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was today beaten in his first round heat of the Quiksilver Pro Fiji 2000. His opponent, Brazilian Guilherme Herdy, found a great last ride to score 9.25 out-of-a possible 10-points and advanced straight into round three.
Occhilupo now moves into the ‘sudden-death’ round two matches, but with conditions remaining in the 6-8 ft range, and sets still reaching 10-foot, the 33-year-old was excited about the prospect of being able to surf Cloudbreak an extra time.
Current ratings leader Sunny Garcia (Haw) furthered his world title campaign today by winning his first round heat. Having won the first two World Championship Tour (WCT) events of the year, Garcia bowed-out in the fourth round of last week’s Gotcha Pro Tahiti event, though still managed to extend his points lead. Despite almost drowning while warming up for the Quiksilver Pro Fiji 2000 yesterday, Garcia was in fine-form during his 30-minute bout against Australian Beau Emerton and local Fijian Quiksilver Pro trials’ winner Matia Wonga.
Wonga, 27, who was born near Fiji’s main airport in Nadi, has lived on Tavarua Island since he was 16. Despite proclaiming his pride at being able to represent his country in the event, he was disappointed the waves didn’t offer better tubes for him to show-off his local knowledge and barrel-riding skills.
Six-time world champion and last week’s Gotcha Pro Tahiti champion Kelly Slater (USA) picked up right where he left off in Polynesia, defeating Australian Nathan Webster and Brazilian Yuri Sodre. Slater didn’t have a great heat, but still managed to find the points he needed.
Current world number two Taj Burrow, on the other hand, surfed a great heat against fellow Aussie and two-time world champion Tom Carroll. Despite staying in the same room as Carroll, Burrow admitted how glad he was with his win, as Carroll had been provoking him in the lead-up to their match.
Carroll, 38, who was actually told he’d won the heat as he paddled in, was still enthusiastic after realizing he placed second. Having retired from the full-time competition years ago, Carroll happily accepted a wildcard position into the Quiksilver Pro Fiji, and is confident of his chances going into the next round.
The day’s highest total scorer turned out to be Ross Williams (22.65 out-of-a possible 30-points) in the very last heat against fellow Hawaiian Shawn Sutton and Australian Luke Hitchings. While Hawaiian Kalani Robb took top honors in the highest single wave category, posting the only perfect 10-point ride of the event, despite finishing second to Brazilian Peterson Rosa.
Further Information Contact
Jesse Faen, ASP Int’l. Media Director
PH/Fax Answering Service: 1-212-699-3827 ext. 4282
www.asplive.com or www.quiksilver.com