THE RIP CURL PRO: FINAL DAY

posted by / News / April 15, 2004

Surf: Shoulder to head high, clean and inconsistent
Events held: Quarterfinals on through the big one
Nature’s call: Don’t get too pissed now, Parko
Predicted: Loud house music and alcohol pillaging at the Bells Beach Hotel in about three hours time“Revenge!” It’s not just a killer Black Flag song, it also says heaps about today here at the Rip Curl Bells, stop no. 2 on the WCT — the event that Snapper Rocks local, Joel Parkinson, has now officially burnt to the ground. It wasn’t his first Bells final, but ever since last year he’s had to live with his second-place, lower-case bell, given him by event winner and eventual world title stealer, Andy Irons. One that ever so cruelly, as he says it, has, “stared at me each day I come home and walk in my door.” So that should be noted as we examine the deep damage he’s now inflicted to his fellow tour mates after this long and emotional final day. Yes, it was emotional, that must be said, and not only for our winner, but for one very impressive loser as well. Kelly Slater’s done it again; he’s blown our minds, the collective consciousness of Australia will never be the same. Six months out of a serious knee surgery, Pat O’Connell has toppled Slates in today’s quarterfinal no.3 (gasp).It happened something like this: Pat O’ hits the sand first, walks purposefully to the water’s edge and dives in. Is he a bit steamed up? Kelly’s his good friend, but, c’mon, to only beat “the Man” even once — what kind of blood must be rushing through this mans veins? Especially after Kelly jokingly told Pat’s wife the night before that he’d be sending her man home today.Kelly comes down a few minutes later. He paddles out very cool and slow, as though enjoying the view of what Andy Irons is doing to Toby Martin in quarter two; some methodical, torturous act. That heat ends and the next one starts, with Pat snagging the first nice wave, one rewarding him 7.5 points for his fast, light, footloose slashing. Kelly slides into the next wave to dig heinous rail off the top, but wittingly, also grabs the wave right behind to semi-rip for a 6.5. Pat jams out and straight into another one for 7.0. Andy, engaged in his post-heat TV interviews, looks out to see if anything else is coming and says, “You’ve got to be extra careful about the waves you catch now.”And at this point the unthinkable happens, the ocean goes flat for 10 minutes straight. Nothing can change this. Not any amount of event commentators praying to their “powerful” wave god, Huey, not any amount of swearing that Pat later admits to have gone down in his presence. It all comes down to the last 10 seconds. He’s on the shore, waiting…3, 2, “It’s just like a heat we had here back in 95, but where he got me,” is what Pat will say…1! Kelly’s up and into a choice wave, easily worth the 8.0 he needs, and he bleeds the thing near to death — it’s probably worth a 9.25. It’s not. The judgment: his hands had not left his rails to beat the clock. Pat goes in for his interview and he’s stoked, but as he speaks Kelly walks, no runs by, his eyes full of fire, only his cheeks seem deflated, like the flesh is sucking to his face, quivering. “Ahhrrr!” he literally roars, smashing the entire front rail of his board into the stairwell as he moves past Pat on to the competitor’s area. Where he then thrusts it into the metal wall of that place, punches it, attacking it with the greatest ferocity. Andy sees the whole thing with big eyes, not saying a thing. Outside a spectator shakes his head, “That’s disgusting,” he says, “does he know how much those things cost?” Of course Kelly knows how much that heat cost. “I thought I was up with two seconds to spare,” he says nonetheless. If nothing else, at least he had Parko on his side today. Because the Coolangata {{{Corvette}}} shamefully bruised Slater’s big rival, Andy Irons, in semi one. It was right after Taj Burrow displaced Occy in quarter four, and for all to know, it was done real good. It was 9.5 that he opened up with, his fourth in that range for the event, of hypnotic carving and acceleration, to tell AI his intent. Andy made a few digs in the six and seven range, but then came the proverbial coffin. After much patience, the next set wave came and with nail-gun intensity Parkinson went to town: high-speed 50-50 float to slip ya’ back out lip-rips times two. He also ripped the inside of the wave and then that was it. The beach went absolutely mad: 10.0. Andy must have heard, too, cause almost to the moment he turned around on a lame one, raised his hand, and did a backwards flop. It was a trip, and even more, that a minute later he’s on his way in. And there’s still eight minutes to go. Had he given up?

Heading for Tahiti with his new, solidified world no. 1 lead it’s not likely, but more like what he said after the heat, “I’m stoked with this result; this tour’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Though that must not mean it doesn’t hurt to lose a race. Taj Burrow raced past Pat O’ to meet, and eventually be owned by Parko in the final, with a 9.26 crack-that-whip right out the gate. Pat did make a noble effort with his third tube of this year’s event, or any Bells in recent memory, when needing an 8.28 in the dying seconds. But unfortunately the wave gave him no inside section and only an 8.23. By this time, of course, there were already e-mails coming into the commentary, for Parko, reading things like, “On ya’ Parko, be waiting for ya’ back the Goldie for a big piss up to trash ya’ house — I’ll be waiting in ya’ pool.” All the mates knew he was destined. He’d already smacked Fanning in the quarter (oops, did I forget to mention that?), he’d already given AI his points-rated consolation prize, it would’ve been hardly fitting had he not finished the job. So he did. His first wave against TB was a 9.67 like the others and that was that. Plus, TB got hung up on his first wave, by a bit of foam, and ended up creasing his best board trying to hit it too late. Joel caught another seven something and left Taj, as he said it himself, to waste away in his own “rattled” head. And nothing came for Taj, anyway, to even make a stand. Joel was already meant to be on the stage, speechless. “I’d like to thank me dad, and my girl, Monica (whose one month from bringing him his first child); she’s so easy going, and, and…ah, just gimme,’ let me ring that Bell,” was all he said. TB looked hungry for a rematch — with everyone. And Park was all smiles. “You know, I’d told Andy in that semi, no disrespect, but I’d like to go in to save my energy; would that be alright?” was what he said, grin ear to ear, having his revenge, ringing the Bell for all to hear. “And will Andy’s conceding his loss lower his overall confidence?” this reporter asked. “Maybe,” said Parkinson, his eyebrows rising at the prospect. “After getting on a roll here last year, you can’t stay on one forever,” he finished. And he sipped his Foster’s, liking the thought. Maybe.– Hagan KelleyOfficial Rip Curl Pro Results
1st Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.13 – US$30,000
2nd Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.04 – US$16,000
Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd receives US$10,000)
SF1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 19.5 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 14.33
SF2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.2 def. Pat O’Connell (USA) 16.16
Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinal; 2nd=5th receives US$8,000)
QF1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.5 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.1
QF2: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.67 def. Toby Martin (AUS) 10.0
QF3: Pat O’Connell (USA) 14.5 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.77
QF4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.67 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 6.67
ASP Ratings After WCT#2/12
1. Andy Irons (HAW) 1,908-points
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 1,800
3. Michael Lowe (AUS) 1,680
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) 1.632
5. Taylor Knox (USA) 1,476
=6. Kelly Slater (USA); Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 1,464
8. Jake Paterson (AUS) 1,332
9. Victor Ribas (BRA) 1,212
=10. Guilherme Herdy (BRA); Paulo Moura (BRA) 1,{{{200}}}

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