Ross continues O’Neill run

HONOLULU — For two days running, Australian Daniel Ross has set the pace at the $125,000 O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. Ross now lays claim to the two highest heat scores of the competition, which is the second stage of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

On the back of Wednesday’s 18.77 point two-wave heat total, Ross returned yesterday, in slightly smaller 6- to 10-foot faces, to post 18.53 points. He now advances to the round of 64, where the top 32 guns of the meet enter the draw.

It has been a stellar event so far for the 24-year-old who needs an excellent result to make his dream of qualifying for the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour in 2008 a reality.

Pure power surfing was the order of the day and Ross proved he could effectively match the conditions and switch gears from Wednesday’s tube-riding to yesterday’s top-to-bottom conditions.

Catching a total of five waves during the 30-minute heat, it was his first two that dealt the blow and ended the event for South African pair Ricky Basnett and Damien Fahrenfort – a near-perfect 9.7 and an 8.83.

“I’m feeling good and I was ready to surf some heats out here,” Ross said in a release. “For the waves to turn on and for me to position myself to do well out here feels unreal. It all came together.”

Ross has had some solid mentoring from two Australians whose names are permanently etched into the World Cup trophy: brothers Jake and Paul Paterson who own three of these titles.

“I’ve just been hanging out with Jake and Paul, sitting on the beach, watching it and talking about it, trying to take in a little bit of what they say,” Ross said. “Those guys have done well here for years and whatever they say has been really helpful.”

Ross might be waving the Aussie flag high so far in this event, but it’s way too early in the game to think that local Hawaiian knowledge will take a back seat to enthusiastic, international tour surfers.

Marcus Hickman is almost the antithesis of Ross in this event; a Sunset Beach local who knows the break like the back of his hand, and whose only interest in the qualifying tour is generating enough points to simply get a start in this particular event. Being such a coveted and highly rated 6-star event, entry is limited to the top ranked surfers on the World Qualifying Series tour.

Other heat winners included Brazilians Leonardo Neves, Yuri Sodre, William Cardoso and Marcelo Trekinho; Englishman Russell Winter; and Hawai‘i’s Sean Moody.


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