Sunset Beach, Oahu, HI (Sat. Nov. 28, 2009) – Sunset Beach bounced to life right on Sunny Garcia’s cue today, delivering punchy eight-foot-plus surf for the completion of the first round of the men’s O’Neill World Cup of Surfing. With a shot at his seventh Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series title, Garcia, 39, is hoping to replicate his recent performance at Haleiwa, where he blazed out of the opening round gates and took it all the way to the quarter finals. He made solid headway today, posting the highest heat score of the opening round: 15 points out of a possible 20.
Garcia’s power was on par with that of the new swell, looking comfortable and focused in the expansive lineup that wreaked havoc with many less-seasoned competitors. Garcia caught a total of four rides during the 30-minute heat, with top scores of 9.5 and 5.5, each out of a possible 10. He looked every bit of the surfer he was 15 years ago when he won this event for the first time in 1994, then again in 2000.
Sunny Garcia O’Neill 1
Above: Garcia Carves it up for an Adoring Crowd.
(Photo Credit : © ASP/CI/CESTARI via Getty Images)
Click here for video highlights of today’s event.
Reluctant to say too much too soon, Garcia was fairly tight-lipped on today’s success: “It is what it is and I got lucky and got some good waves. I can’t really complain at the end of the day.
“It was definitely good, a little lully, but like I said, I got lucky and I got the waves. The other guys surfed just as good, but I got that one 9 in the beginning and it kind of makes all the difference in the world.”
Dane Gudauskas (CA) and Cory Lopez (FL) led the US Mainland charge today, both advancing out of the same four-man heat ahead of Luke Campbell (Australia) and Jason Shibata (HI). Dane broke his surfboard during the heat, but still made it through on backup equipment. He will draw younger brother Tanner in the next round, along with Gabe Kling (FL), and Lincoln Taylor (Australia).
“I’m just so stoked to be here,” said the younger Gudauskas, 24. “This is my favorite wave in the world, so I’m stoked to get out there, have a good first heat and make it to the next round.
“I was taking wipeouts. I broke my board and got kind of annihilated. My brother was sitting in the channel, coaxing me to go hard and had my spare [board].
“It’s a wild day. When there’s nothing there’s nothing. But when the waves come it’s pumping. It’s kind of bizarre.”
Surprise eliminations today included Tahiti’s Alain Riou, who featured in the final at Haleiwa on Monday but effectively lost all hope of reaching the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 2010 Dream Tour with his loss today. He is also now out of the running for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink title race. After reaching the final at Haleiwa, Riou was looking for at least a semi-final finish here to qualify for the Dream Tour.
Others ousted prematurely were Shaun Gossman (Australia), Hodei Collazi (EUK), Yuri Sodre (Brazil), who was nursing a dislocated toe, and Australian big-wave rider Mark Mathews.
The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing is the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink. The winner of this event will receive $20,000. The Vans Triple Crown series title, awarded to the most consistent performer across all three events, carries a $50,000 bonus.
The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing will likely continue at 8am tomorrow with the present swell forecast to fill in. For all of the LIVE action log on to www.triplecrownofsurfing.com. Find out the call for the day, each day, as soon as it’s made by Director Randy Rarick by signing up for mobile text alerts at triplecrownofsurfing.com. When competition resumes, all the action will be broadcast live on the web at triplecrownofsurfing.com, as well as on Hawaii television on Oceanic channel 250.
Making the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink possible: Reef, O’Neill, Billabong, Gidget Worldwide, Nixon, Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaiian Airlines, JN Automotive Group, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, FUEL TV, The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaiian Springs Water, Road Runner, Climb On! chemical-free skincare, and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). The Series is proud to announce that it is working with local company Tr3ees to embark upon a greener, more sustainable future.
O’NEILL WORLD CUP OF SURFING RESULTS:
O’Neill World Cup of Surfing
ROUND of 128 (1st & 2nd advance)
H1: Ola Eleogram (HI), Gavin Gillette (HI), Hizunome Bettero (BRA), Brent Dorrington (AUS)
H2: Torrey Meister (HI), Bernardo Miranda (BRA), Derek Ho (HI), Paulo Mauro (BRA)
H3: Rudy Palboom (ZAF), Kieran Horn (CA), Heat Joske (AUS), Christophe Allary (REU)
H4: Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF), Blake Wilson (AUS), Brian Toth (PRI), Kevin Sullivan (HI)
H5: Marco Giorgi (URY), Brad Ettinger (USA), Hank Gaskell (HI), Masatoshi Ohno (JPN)
H6: Shane Beschen (HI), Eric Geiselman (USA), Jack Perry (AUS), Jay Davies (AUS)
H7: Joel Centeio (HI), Neco Padaratz (BRA), Izuki Tanaka (JPN), Danny Fuller (HI)
H8: Renato Galva(BRA), Evan Valiere (HI), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Kiron Jabour (HI)
H9: Mason Ho (HI), Adam Robertson (AUS), Jesse Merle-Jones (HI), Marcio Farney (BRA)
H10: T.J. Barron (HI), Myles Padaca (HI), Andre Silva (BRA), Shaun Gossman (AUS)
H11: Dane Gudauskas (USA), Cory Lopez (USA), Luke Campbell (AUS), Jason Shibata (HI)
H12: Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Dustin Cuizon (HI), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Charlie Brown (BRA)
H13: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Ruben Gonzalez (PRT), Makuakai Rothman (HI), Hugo Savalli (REU)
H14: Nathan Carroll (HI), Nathan Hedge (AUS), Mark Matthews (AUS), Kai Barger (HAW)
H15: Sunny Garcia (HI), Granger Larsen (HI), Kamalei Alexander (HI), Alain Riou (PYF)
H16: Solomon Ortiz (HI), Dylan Melamed (HI), Jean Da Silva (BRA), Yuri Sodre (BRA)