THE 2003 BILLABONG PRO TEAHUPO’O: DAY SEVEN

posted by / News / May 12, 2003

Surf: 5 to 7 feet with a slight side wind
Events held: Men’s Round 2
Nature’s call: Take a seat, punk
Predicted: Bigger and badder“Go Occ!” came in a roar from the channel.Time was sparse when legend, Mark Occhilupo, spun around, calmly, for a sweet wedge. Digging his stumpy arms into a paddle came the cue for the clock to stand still. Few in sport have a capability for spurring such moments — and Occ is one with a timeless propensity for the very best of them. Needing an 8.18, he was obviously looking to thread this one deep.Young firebrand, Danilo Costa, was responsible. In one of the day’s more wave-rich heats, he’d managed to skillfully rack up 16.00 points, consisting of two deep slides worth 8.5 and 7.5, respectively. On top of that–he’s Brazilian. And what does that mean? Well, quite a lot if you’re an Australian cheering for a national sporting hero.

You see, Brazilians are not the tour’s most respected minority. It could be the way they can claim any ride; a confidence that drives other intently confident people up the wall. Something that {{{CJ}}} Hobgood calls “ulterior motives.” “They don’t claim waves because they’re stoked — they claim looking for extra points. They do it all the time, and it works,” he said one night concerning Neco Padaratz use of such tactics to snag a recent WQS win. Now with that little look into Occy’s possible psyche, let’s get back to his wave. The paddle was full of proud charisma. With nearly 40 years worth of practice he drove into the wave with all of it. Not that he’s surfed his entire life, but rather, the best of his dry-land persona is shown there. Bigger things like marriage seem to come through when he stands to ride a wave, and this was no exception.He drove off his inside rail long and hard. The wave’s line was straight as he held a single pump down into its spiraling corridor. While the lip fell, his eyes grew in adapting to the wave’s inner steaming mist. Hands began to rise when the surety of the ride was known. “Woooo!” Hog and big Louie and the rest of the mad Aussie crew went wild.If there were ever an 8.18, this would be it. Or at least that’s what everyone thought. Besides, this was Occy. The bustling, boat-exhaust-reeking channel went deathly quiet. What was his score? He had to get the score.”Your last score, Occ–7.47–it’s not enough,” came in what seemed an eternity from the judge’s scaffold rigged up inside the reef.

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