San Clemente, Calif. – Kauaian Sunny Garcia (2000 world champion) survived a dramatic climax to his heat with former world #3 Victor Ribas (Brz) Friday to stay alive in the Boost Mobile Pro at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California.
Despite falling numerous times and hearing his opponent post good scores, the Hawaiian punished his last wave needing an 8.66 to win. Tense moments passed as the judges deliberated, and when they announced a heat tying score of 8.65 points, a visibly frustrated Garcia was ready to snap. Fortunately for him and those around, a best single wave count saw him advance.
“I just kept falling. Even on the good wave I had in the middle,” said Garcia. “I sat there with a couple of minutes to go and prayed God would send me a wave. Everything seemed to come together, but I wasn’t sure if I got the score I needed. It came down to a tiebreak and I was fortunate enough to get the nod. If I had lost I would have been in tears, as I can’t afford to lose any heats. I’ve had three bad events already this year, and I want to still be in world title contention going into Hawaii, especially with Pipe and Sunset counting this year.”
1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) put aside an ankle injury to stop the expected charge of wildcard Kauaian Bruce Irons (Haw).
Irons couldn’t muster the required 7.71 to advance.
“Bruce is obviously one of the best out here, so I’m feeling more confident,” said Occhilupo. “Now I’m pleased to have a couple days off to rest my ankle.”
Current world #4 Joel Parkinson (Aus) raised the bar in the contest. Parkinson topped Neco Padaratz (Brz) with the highest score of the day – an 8.75 – and then secured the best of the tournament for a near-perfect 9.5. Combined, his total of 18.25 points surpassed any other so far, and he also secured the Oakley Over-The-Top Bonus for a fraction of his exceptional ride.
Mick Fanning posted an 8.5 and then 9.0 for the second highest total of the day with 17.5 points. Phil MacDonald upset Australian Taj Burrow in a highly entertaining bout. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) posted a crucial victory for himself over current world #10 Kalani Robb (Haw). The
Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) then pulled a clincher from his bag of tricks against an in-form Lee Winkler (Aus) in the day’s final heat.
Round three heats will not take place today, but rather recommence on Sunday the 7th at Lower Trestles, when a fresh swell is expected to greet those remaining contestants.
Kauaian bouts: Andy Irons will face Shane Beschen, and Sunny Garcia will be up against Fabio Gouveia.