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Waves Overwhelm O’Neill World Cup of Surfing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pisco23   
Tuesday, 04 December 2007


December 4th, 2007 | Men's O'neill World Cup


Honolulu - (December 3, 2007) - Waiting for surf is a common theme at world class surfing events these days, but it’s only in Hawaii that you find an event waiting for waves to drop. Such is the case at the 33rd annual O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach - the second stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Mother Nature turned the ocean loose today and the result was one of the most challenging days in the history of competition here. Wave face heights reached their Sunset maximum of 25 feet and surfers were set adrift in an undefined lineup. The majority of waves ridden were caught in the channel - an area usually devoid of waves and reserved for paddling back out.

 

The final eight heats of the round of 64 were completed before competition was halted at midday. The brunt of the swell is still hours away - expected to peak around midnight. The National Weather Service has advised all beachfront residents to secure their properties and be prepared for invading surf. When competition shut down for the day, the beach was sealed off - entry to the water officially prohibited by the lifeguards.

While the Hawaiian Water Patrol did an excellent job of guarding lives, there was nothing they could do about livelihoods, as pro surfers battled to keep their requalification hopes on track. As the final ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) competition of 2007, this event is critical for a number of surfers who are on the knife-edge of requalifying for next year’s elite World Championship Tour (WCT).

North Shore local TJ Barron, 21, is one of those faced with climbing “Everest” if he is to realize his WCT dream in 2007, needing to win this event to qualify. He reached the safety of “Base Camp” today when he eliminated defending O’Neill World Cup champion Joel Parkinson (Aust) and advanced to the round of 32 surfers. It didn’t matter that it was the lowest scoring heat of the day, it was all about staying alive and keeping hopes alive.

“”It’s all about survival,” said TJ after his heat. “That was one of the hardest heats I’ve ever had. I’m glad I didn’t break a board and didn’t get held a under too long. I was really scared a few times and I got my board blown out of my hands, lost a lot of breath. But you’ve got to try to hold on to your board and make sure it brings you back up.

“I got a little scared, but it was more because time was running out and I was getting tired. I was just hoping I could catch a wave and not black out.”

On knocking out Joel Parkinson: “I’ve just been lucky. Me and Joel had the same heats in Hale’iwa and Sunset. I beat him at the Hale’iwa event and I didn’t think I would beat him again.”

Australian pair Daniel Ross and Dayan Neve also maintained their grip on the dream, Ross moving forward with another win and Neve advancing behind Barron to move forward. These two surfers need to reach the semi-finals to qualify for the 2008 WCT.

“This morning when [the head judge] made the call to run I was excited to surf in waves like this because it doesn’t look that hard from the beach,” said Ross. “But it’s a lot harder than it looks. Once you’re out there it’s a different story, and it’s good that I don’t have to surf another heat today because it’s all over the place and it’s leaving too many things to chance.”

But just because surfers were given an afternoon’s reprieve, doesn’t mean the job is going to be any easier in the final rounds to come. The deadline for this event is this Thursday, and official surf forecaster Surfline.com is calling for slightly smaller, yet still solid surf, as well as the possibility of adverse winds.

The remaining field of 32 surfers consists of 15 Australians, six Hawaii surfers, three Brazilians, three Californians, one Floridian, one Portuguese surfer, one Spaniard, one Frenchman, and one South African. In the past 32 years of this event, Australians have emerged the most victorious with 15 wins. Hawaiians are close with 14 wins, and England, Brazil and South Africa fill in the remaining three years.

All of the action of this year’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing can be experienced live via the internet at: www.triplecrownofsurfing.com powered by surfspot.com.Additionally, surfline.com will be offering original daily content, and Surfing Magazine will provide a daily blog.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 )
 
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