Sunset Beach, HAWAII – (Tuesday, December 6, 2005) – Australia’s Jake Paterson has won his second O’Neill World Cup of Surfing title at Sunset Beach, overcoming world champion Andy Irons, Australian Bede Durbidge (Gold Coast), and retiring California pro Pat O’Connell (Laguna) in the 35-minute, four-man final. Paterson, 32, was also victorious here in 2003. He won $15,000 today. His older brother, Paul, also has his name on the Sunset trophy for his victory in 1996. Irons earned $8,000, Durbidge $6,000, and O’Connell $4,000. It was the second victory for West Australia in as many weeks – the women’s division of the O’Neill was won by Melanie Redman-Carr.
In what fast became a two-man battle for victory, Paterson and Irons engaged in a furious exchange of waves, each pushing the other to more critical, on-edge turns Both dominated the larger of the five- to six-foot waves on offer, which came as welcome relief on the heels of yesterday’s 15-foot mayhem. Paterson only rode the mandatory two rides, but shut the door with scores of 8.17 and 8.93 respectively, for a total of 17.1 points. Irons did his best to reply with scores of 8.73 and 7.0, but was chasing a score of 8.38 for the final 10 minutes of the heat. His final tally was 15.73 points.
“I got into a rhythm,” said Paterson. “I’ve put a lot of time in out here. Yesterday was survival, today was sitting around and making sure you caught waves, because you could easily get caught with nothing. Every situation you’ve got to try to read the right way and I obviously got out bed on the right side today.
“Me and Andy have had a lot of head-to-head (heats). He got second the last time I won here too. He was going for the world title then and I kind of put a bit of a spanner in his works. But he’s such a tough competitor. I wouldn’t give him an inch because I know he can get eights and nines at the drop of a hat.”
Paterson now sits at second on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series ratings, which carries a $10,000 winner-takes-all bonus for the top performer over the three events. He will be looking for a strong finish at Pipeline to shoot for the Triple Crown title.
“Pipe’s a pretty tough wave to get your head around, but I’m in there with a chance. I’m stoked.”
For Irons, having lost the 2005 world title battle to Kelly Slater in Brazil, it’s all about the prestigious Vans Triple Crown title now.
“I’m stoked to get a good result here after a bad result at Haleiwa,” said Irons. “I’ve still got a shot at the Triple Crown (title) going into Pipe, so that’s all I really wanted to have. That’s the big picture. Hopefully Pipe gets good.”
Durbidge, 22, had two above-average rides of 6.5 and 5.6 for a total of 12.10. His best was a clean tube-ride off the point.
“it was really tough out there and Jake got the good start,” said Durbidge. “Whenever you get a good start everyone’s playing catch-up. He was in the driver’s seat all the way.”
Durbidge was ecstatic with today’s result, but it doesn’t help him to requalify for the 2006 World Championship Tour, as he is too far down on the World Qualifying Series ratings.
“I couldn’t really requalify on the WQS, but I can on the WCT, at the Pipe comp next week, so I’ve got to really do well next week. But this is my first final over here so I’m stoked.”
O’Connell, 35, was completely satisfied to finally make his first final ever at Sunset Beach, in the last event of his career. He got a look-in on the final battle around the midway point of the heat with a great combination of carving top-turns that earned 7.33 points, but fell out of the game with a less than desired second score of 4.17, for a total of 11.50.
“The final totally stepped up,” said O’Connell. “Everybody got great rides. The waves did get really good. I’ve made the semi-finals a couple of times before and funnily enough I’ve always lost on the last wave, so this time I won (the semi-final) on the last wave. I think I’ve had it coming – I’ve been there so many times.”
As for his career: “I’m done. To be honest I only did a couple of events this year. I think this is probably the last Triple Crown I’ll ever do, so it means a lot to do well. This little spot is sort of my salvation. I surf here a lot. It’s more open face, it takes a little bit more brains, so it means a lot to make a final here.”
Equal fifth today, placing third in their respective semi-final clashes, were Jarrad Howse (Australia), and Kieren Perrow. Equal ninth with fourth place semi-final finishes were Luke Stedman (Australia) and Yuri Sodre (Brazil).
Despite his quarter final loss today, Pancho Sullivan (Hawaii, 3988 points) still leads the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series ratings ahead of Paterson (Australia, 3850), Mick Fanning (Australia, 3603), and Andy Irons (Hawaii, 3355). Sunny Garcia (Hawaii, 2901) is seventh on the standings.
Garcia placed third and Pancho fourth in the first quarter final this-morning. Sullivan now has his work cut out for him as he is the only one of these four surfers who needs to qualify for the Pipeline Masters through the preceding trials event. Fanning, Monteiro and Garcia are all seeded directly into the main event, as they are World Championship Top 44 rated surfers.
The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing was the final stop on the Association of Surfing Professionals 2005 World Qualifying Series Tour. After today’s competition, Mikael Picon and Jarrad Howse have officially qualified as newcomers to the 2006 World Championship Tour, joining Pancho Sullivan. Picon lost out earlier in this event, but Howse was impressive here with a 5th place overall, sealing him a coveted Top 44 spot for next year. The results at the next event – a WCT competition, will affect the final Top 44 order for 2006.
The third and final stop on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series is the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters. The holding period for the event commences on Thursday, December 8, through December 20. Competition will be held on the best four days of waves.
For live coverage and a complete list of results: www.triplecrownofsurfing.com
For up-to-the-minute surf forecasting: www.surfline.com .
Surfline is the official surf forecaster for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is made possible through the support of Op, Roxy, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Billabong, Surfing, Oahu’s Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Hawaiian Airlines, G-Shock, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Fox Sports Net and Road Runner High Speed Online.