Sunset Beach, Oahu – Current ratings #2 Luke Egan (Aus) kept his world title aspirations alive in the Rip Curl Cup on Monday.
The $250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) marks the second leg of the 20th Anniversary Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and will very likely host the crowning of the 2002 ASP world champion on its final day of competition.
Following second round heats yesterday, the third was completed in the afternoon, with only 16 surfers now remaining in the upcoming quarterfinals.
Egan, who dominated the day’s opening heat in tricky conditions, put world title pressure aside to carve his way past fellow countryman Beau Emerton, while Rip Curl Cup Trials winner Pancho Sullivan (Haw) and recently injured Dean Morrison (Aus) were eliminated.
The 32 year old then entered his third round heat this afternoon as the only contender left to challenge Andy Irons’ (Haw) ratings lead. Against good friend Taylor Knox (USA), wildcard Bruce Irons and Emerton again, the goofy foot continued his backhand charge and ultimately found the scores he needed for another win and further chance at the 2002 crown.
Irons, who had earlier watched two other contenders bomb out of the Rip Curl Cup and lose their world title hope, was again on hand to witness Egan’s win.
After placing runner-up to Shane Powell (Aus) in their match with fellow Hawaiians and 2000 world champion Sunny Garcia, as well as defending Rip Curl Cup winner Myles Padaca, the 24 year old anxiously observed his nearest rival progress. Nonetheless, the superb 9.1 tube he secured this afternoon guaranteed his place on the all-important final day, where a maiden world crown will be his if Egan finishes lower than third, or he places higher.
“I was really frustrated,” said Irons, of the start of his third round match. “I kept catching closeouts, but I was lucky that wave lined up correctly on the reef and I was in position for the barrel.