THE GARDEN ISLAND
First went Andy Irons, and now Bruce.
Australia’s Joel Parkinson beat Bruce Irons yesterday in Round 4 of the Quiksilver Pro in Australia with a score of 19.10. Irons posted a 7.83.
Parkinson had Irons in need of a two-wave combination by the closing minutes of the 30-minute heat with two near-perfect scores. But an interference penalty on Irons in the dying moments of the heat meant he was only left counting his single top ride against Parkinson’s two excellent scores.
Kaua‘i-born Pancho Sullivan finished 17th after losing to Irons in Round 3, and former world champ Andy Irons, along with North Shore surfer Fred Patacchia, placed last, or 33rd after being eliminated in Round 2.
This pulled Irons out of championship contention. He finished ninth overall. Parkinson, however, then lost out to fellow Aussie Bede Durbidge in the quarterfinal.
Surfers in the semis are Durbidge, current world No. 1 Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Taj Burrow. Slater is the only American left in the otherwise Aussi-filled semi-final round.
A champion will be crowned today. With a solid swell pulsing along the Snapper Rocks bank, event organizers are looking to run right through to the finals, starting at 7 a.m.
In surf yesterday, despite their epic early-round appearances, Australia’s wildcards Jake Paterson and Julian Wilson were no match for Slater and Fanning in Round 3.
Slater, a rare Round 2 entity, was relegated to the early elimination round by Wilson on Day One of the Quiksilver Pro. Posting a near-perfect 19.87 out of 20.00 in clean four-foot conditions at Snapper Rocks, the eight-time Foster’s ASP World Champ left Wilson defenseless.
Slater earned the first perfect 10.00 ride of the 2007 Foster’s ASP World Tour season by performing nearly every radical maneuver known to man midway through his heat. Drawing on deep tube rides, full-rail carves and innovative aerials, the reigning world champ pulled everything out of his bag of tricks to amass the flawless score.
Paterson meanwhile,was no match for Fanning in what might be the final Foster’s ASP World Tour heat for Paterson’s illustrious career.
Fanning, who won the Quik-silver Pro in 2005, posted an 18.07 to Paterson’s 12.93.
Fanning and friends chaired the now-retired Paterson out of the ocean after their heat.
“Just to surf out there with Jake in his last event, after the tens of years he’s been on tour, it was pretty special for me,” Fanning said. “Ever since I’ve been on tour he’s been there to help me out. I’m just stoked I got to share that last heat with him.”
Parkinson overcame Brazilian rookie Leonardo Neves in the first heat of the day, but the 2002 Quiksilver Pro champion was admittedly rattled afterward.
Burrow barely scraped through his heat against injury alternate Trent Munro. Needing a solid score with time ticking down, Burrow pulled out all the stops on his final wave to net a 7.50 out of a possible 10.
First-year Foster’s ASP World Tour member Kai Otton claimed a major scalp in last year’s Rookie of the Year Bobby Martinez.
“I was trying to have some fun and I didn’t know what to expect,” Otton said. “I was even a little confused out there with the priority and didn’t know where to sit at the end, but I’m just rolling with it and hopefully keep rolling. Bobby is an amazing surfer, I got lucky, hopefully I can keep it rolling.”
Other rookies who advanced were Josh Kerr and Ben Dunn. Kerr, who is often considered a purely aerial surfer, showed he has some big turns in his repertoire as well, eliminating last year’s ASP World No. 8 Tom Whitaker.