One down, two to go.
The 2013 Triple Crown of Surfing is now focused on its second jewel as competitors have headed to Sunset Beach for the Vans World Cup of Surfing, which got underway Tuesday. Less than 48 hours had passed since a champion was determined at the series opening Reef Hawaiian Pro, which had an extended waiting period and concluded Sunday, setting a few surfers in good position for the prestigious Triple Crown title.
When we last checked in on Saturday, the 128-man field had been narrowed to just 16 competitors. Four quarterfinal heats began a highly anticipated slate on Sunday, a day that would ultimately see Tahitian powerhouse Michel Bourez win his second career Reef Hawaiian Pro and grab the early Triple Crown lead.
Despite all the Hawaii surfers who made deep runs in the field, only Haleiwa local Freddy Patacchia made the final heat. Freddy P surfed a great final that would have taken the title more often than not, but Bourez was able to eke out the better scores on their respective waves. Bourez topped out with a 9.40 ride that he backed up with a 7.77, totaling 17.17 for the heat. Patacchia had one wave in the excellent range, scoring a 9.23, but his 7.10 second score wasn’t enough to creep ahead.
France’s Jeremy Flores took third place on a 13.93 total and Australia’s Dion Atkinson came in fourth with a 9.73 finish.
Bourez took home $40,000 for the victory, as well as the 6,500 Triple Crown points. Patacchia scored $20,000 and 5,200 points. Flores won $12,000 and 4,450 points while Atkinson took $10,000 and 4,000 points.
The defending Reef Hawaiian Pro and Triple Crown champion, Sebastian Zietz of Kilauea, entered Sunday still in the mix and looking for back-to-back titles. Unfortunately, his quarterfinal heat didn’t yield him the proper opportunities to get it done. Heat winner Adriano de Souza (12.96) and runner-up Atkinson (12.43) found the best scores and Zietz (8.70) was eliminated along with Hodei Collazo (8.27).
Zietz takes an Equal 9th place finish for his efforts and $5,250 in cash, along with 2,400 points.
Kauai’s other surfer still standing was Evan Valiere, who had to begin his event way back in the Round of 128. Making it all the way to the final 16, Valiere came up short in his bid to reach the semifinal round. In the last quarterfinal heat, Valiere finished fourth (9.87) behind eventual champion Bourez (16.67), Australia’s Josh Kerr (14.34) and American Nate Yeomans (12.87). The result for Valiere earned him an Equal 13th place sum of $4,750 and 2,200 points.
The start of the Vans World Cup of Surfing on Tuesday was not as kind to Valiere and he saw his event end after just one heat. His third place in the Round of 128 meant an early exit, as did a fourth place for Sunny Garcia, who was unable to get anything going in the four-to-six foot waves at Sunset Beach.
A few of the early advancers were Kauai’s Gavin Gillette and Kaimana Jaquias. Gillette took fourth place a few weeks back during the Hawaiian Island Creations Pro at the same wave, so he could be eyeing another deep run this week. He advanced in second place along with heat winner Cooper Chapman of Australia.
Jaquias, who made it to the Round of 32 at the HIC Pro, also took second place Tuesday, moving on with American heat winner Chris Ward.
Other Hawaii surfers who advanced Tuesday to the Round of 96 were Ian Walsh, Makai McNamara, Makuakai Rothman, Hank Gaskell, Ian Gentil, Kalani David, Josh Moniz and Seth Moniz. A number of additional surfers were on tap to get their opening heats underway after press time, including Kauai representatives Alex Smith, Koa Smith and Dylan Goodale, and Hawaii surfers Torrey Meister, Isaiah Moniz, Ezekiel Lau, Marcus Hickman, Eala Stewart, Olamana Eleogram, Kevin Sullivan, Kai Barger, Gregg Nakamura, Kylen Yamakawa and Joel Centeio.
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