After a short wait for tides to improve throughout the morning, the
famous location of Mundaka set a perfect stage on which the best
surfers in the world could put down some stellar performances in round
three of the Billabong Pro.
MUNDAKA TURNS ON FOR BILLABONG PRO ROUND THREE
MUNDAKA, Basque Country, Northern Spain (Monday, October 9, 2006) – After a short wait for tides to improve throughout the morning, the famous location of Mundaka set a perfect stage on which the best surfers in the world could put down some stellar performances in round three of the Billabong Pro.
Like the previous day, the morning was slow due to an enormous high tide but as the water began to exit the river the legendary bank came to life serving up one to 1.5 metre (three to five foot) waves that would run as far as the length of a football field.
The standard of the opening heats was nothing short of spectacular with the biggest names in the sport dominating over their foes.
And continuing on from where they left off in the opening round, Mick Fanning (AUS) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) did no harm to their Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour title hopes by again locking in some of the top scores of the day.
Parkinson in particular indicated he is in unstoppable form coming home with a combined heat total of 19.70 out of a possible 20 to knock out Jarrad Howse (AUS).
Threading some amazingly long barrels then mixing it with some huge floaters, the extra-relaxed naturalfooter from Australia’s Gold Coast has really begun to gain momentum.
And as far as heats go he believed it doesn’t get much better than what was served up today with his total score coming in as the second highest of the 2006 Foster’ ASP Men’s World Tour season.
“Score wise the heat was amazing,” said Parkinson. “But wave wise, I’ve never surfed a heat that good. I’ve had some good surf before, but that was just ridiculous. Every set that came through was three or four waves and every one was a potential 10 point ride if you wanted to commit to it.”
Parkinson likened the heat to being more a free surf than a competitive situation such was the amount of wave riding time he had.
“Once I realised the waves turned on I just thought, whatever, I may as well not even have a contest singlet on,” said Parkinson. “We were just going wave for wave. I felt really good out there. Jarrad (Howse) got a couple of good ones, he didn’t make a couple, but he said he got one ridiculous one. We were just chatting out there the whole time. It was one of those heats I’m probably going to tell my grandkids about.”
Hot on his heels again was his good friend Fanning, who posted an 18.00 in total to hold off a very strong challenge from a determined Toby Martin (AUS).
Fanning forced Martin onto the back foot from the outset but right throughout the heat Martin kept knocking on the door.
The challenge was obvious motivation for Fanning who lifted a gear to land some massive aerials to pull take the win.
“Everything is starting to feel pretty good now,” said Fanning. “We had a pretty big break there, I think I surfed my heat a week ago, so I’ve just been hanging out waiting for it. But I’m just stoked to get back in the water and have another heat.”
Looking at the upcoming draw, and if the two continue to go from strength to strength they are slated for a quarterfinal matchup.
And since the two are both still in the running to snatch the world crown from ratings leader and seven-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) both will be eager to take each other down.
“Everything is going good,” said Fanning. “But it’s just unfortunate that if we keep getting through we will meet each other in the quarters. If we were on the opposite sides of the draw it would be good, we could hopefully make another final together. But that’s just the way it goes and we have to keep going and hopefully keep making those finals.”
Coming in with the third highest score of the day was fellow Aussie Tom Whitaker.
And given his stunning form there is every chance that the Sydneysider could prove to be a dark horse.
In defeating Chris Ward (USA), Whitaker locked in a 9.50 for a solid wave where he launched an amazing all out backhand assault.
“It was tricky. It was the perfect wave to go absolutely ballistic on,” said Whitaker. “But the first couple of sections I knew I could do some pretty nice floaters and get some points and then rip in after that. I took it easy at the start and tried to flare up. I just wanted to get a good score and not try and go mad.”
In his best year to date Whitaker is eager to make an impact in the Billabong Pro Mundaka.
“This year I really thought about being relaxed out there,” said Whitaker. “It’s about making the right decisions and trying not to make it too complicated. It’s an easy thing to learn… you get a couple of waves in your heat and do your best on them and the result comes.”
Possibly the biggest upset of the day came from pint-sized Brazilian Victor Ribas when he sent 2001 world champion CJ Hobgood packing back to the USA.
“I decided to catch as many waves as possible,” said Ribas. “I just tried to do a couple of turns and build a score. Finally I got my back up wave and I got through the heat. The heat was pretty hard, we left a couple of waves and we were running out of time. I missed one very good barrel, which would have been my best wave. But at least I got through to the next round.”
Pancho Sullivan (HAW) was another to seriously impress as he eliminated Tim Reyes (USA) in round three heat five.
With a powerhouse display he drove up into the lip, throwing spray everywhere on numerous occasions much to the delight of the massive crowd. It certainly didn’t seem like he was holding back which is what he claimed afterwards.
“I had to tone it down and surf a little bit conservatively because my board felt like it was spinning a bit,” said Sullivan. “I was just hoping to post a couple of solid scores and then go for broke. It just felt like that little bit of chop was creating a little bit of slide and the wave is so fast down the line you can’t afford to let the fins go. I just tried to pick waves that looked like they had a decent pace to them and build on my scores.”
Sullivan also indicated that to due to the dramatically extreme tides and the influence they have on the wave you have to be prepared for everything.
“Two weeks ago during the event in France we drove down here and surfed the place when it was overhead,” said Sullivan. “I saw so many 15 to 20 second barrels that day, it just blew my mind. But actually being here for the event and seeing it day in and day out it really is a test. You constantly have to be ready for any conditions.”
Forecasters www.surfline.com have indicated that there will be more decent waves for tomorrow although like today there will be a delay in proceedings while waiting for the tide.
With that in mind the call has been made to check conditions at 9am in the morning.
Round three heat results: (1st to round four 2nd receives 17th placing and 410 ratings points)
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 19.70 def. Jarrad Howse (Aus) 8.27
Heat 2: Bruce Irons (Haw) 13.84 def. Luke Stedman (Aus) 7.66
Heat 3: Victor Ribas (Bra) 11.27 def. CJ Hobgood (Aus) 10.84
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.00 def. Toby Martin (Aus) 15.00
Heat 5: Pancho Sullivan (Haw) 15.10 def. Tim Reyes (USA) 13.34
Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 17.27 def. Chris Ward (USA) 13.67
Heat 7: Cory Lopez (USA) 12.17 def Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.34
Remaining round three heats:
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs Hodei Collazo (EUK)
Heat 9: Andy Irons (HAW) vs Yuri Sodre (BRA)
Heat 10: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) vs Trent Munro (AUS)
Heat 11: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs Peterson Rosa (BRA)
Heat 12: Phil MacDonald (AUS) vs Jake Paterson (AUS)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 14: Greg Emslie (ZAF) vs Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 15: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs Michael Lowe (AUS)