THE 2003 QUIKSILVER FIJI PRO: DAY SEVEN

posted by / News / May 31, 2003

SURF: Three-to-five feet with stiff side-offshores
EVENTS HELD: Round Two Heats 6-16
NATURE’S CALL: I’ll huff, and I’ll puff…
FORECAST: A tad more swell with winds continuing
Victor Ribas was green. Not his contest jersey, but his face. “I eat a big breakfast back at the Sheraton,” he said later. “I spend three hours on the ferry, one coming over here, then two more before the contest start.” Just prior to his Round Two heat in the Quiksilver Pro Fiji, after rocking back and forth and up and down all morning thanks to nearly gale-force winds lashing out across the South Pacific, his morning feast came to the fore. The tiny Brazilian tour vet made his way down to the bathroom on the ferry’s lower deck and puked his guts out. Afterwards, he paddled into the inhospitable lineup at Cloudbreak and proceeded to demolish fellow countryman Neco Padaratz. “I feel my legs weak,” continued Victor. “Lucky I get through.”Such was the feeling all the way around after trudging through eleven heats following a four-day lapse in competition due to small surf. It was no walk in the park, but everyone was genuinely happy to get back to work.The day offered a couple mild surprises but no stunning upsets as most of the top seeds had already progressed to Round Three. The most notable loss was Shane Dorian falling to Australian Chris Davidson. Davo was fast and loose in tagging his first win of the season. Dorian, who plans to retire at the end of this year, was simply left waiting for a saving wave that never came.

From a spectator’s view, there was really only one moment that made the hours of being flogged by wind worthwhile. Nathan Hedge, who has already survived a gash to the face and his birthday party this week, bulldozed his way through a legitimate pipe to garner the event’s high score to date, a 9.5, which he backed up with another eight-pointer. His ultra low center of gravity clearly didn’t hurt, as many a lightfooter was held up, if only for a split second, but enough to spoil a ride. “It was just a little cover-up, not bad for today,” Hog said of his barrel. But he was right; the standard had dipped so low in the eight previous heats that his performance only seemed supernatural. According to SURFING photographer Pete Frieden, “I only took two photos all day, and there were both of Hedgy’s wave.”Considering the norm at this premier lefthander in the middle of the ocean, the conditions were about as difficult as they could be. “That wind gets under your board,” raved Pat O’Connell, “and you just go ‘zoom,’ cartwheeling down the reef. I sat out there for fifteen minutes, then it happened to me two waves in a row.”The pitching aboard the boats in the channel made viewing equally adventurous. “Last year, I didn’t give out any Dramamine,” admitted doctor on call Ken Iwaoka, “but today I must have given out three or four.”If the situation was hard on the surfers and observers, it was doubly difficult for the water patrol. Six hours on a jet ski isn’t easy on a perfect day, but with a hellish wind it’s pure punishment. “I’m glad dey called it off,” proclaimed Hawaiian patrolman and longtime North Shore lifeguard Terry Ahue of the decision to stop at the end of Round Two. “I was going, ‘Four more hours of dis?’ I was gonna get hypothermia.” As soon as he pulled up at Tavarua, Ahue and his comrades had only one thing on their mind — some much-needed relief in the hot tub. “Soon as I pull up, people going, ‘Gimme a ride out to Cloudbreak.’ I’m going, ‘Don’t piss me off.’”– Jason BorteRound Two Results
Heat Six: 1. Shea Lopez 14.33; 2. Luke Stedman 10.63
Heat Seven: 1. Cory Lopez 12.40; 2. Tom Whitaker 8.50
Heat {{{Eight}}}: 1. Chris Davidson 13.97; 2. Shane Dorian 10.87
Heat Nine: 1. Daniel Wills 13.83; 2. Toby Martin 12.37
Heat Ten: 1. Victor Ribas 13.03; 2. Neco Padaratz 6.00
Heat Eleven: 1. Pat O’Connell 12.67; 2. Fabio Gouveia 10.17
Heat Twelve: 1. Taylor Knox 12.20; 2. Nathan Webster 11.94
Heat Thirteen: 1. Darren O’Rafferty 13.67; 2. Luke Hitchings 12.26
Heat Fourteen: 1. Nathan Hedge 17.67; 2. Armando Daltro 10.13
Heat Fifteen: 1. Shane Powell; 2. Danilo Costa (withdrew due to injury)
Heat Sixteen: 1. Flavio Padaratz 15.83; 2. Phillip MacDonald 6.40
[For more info, go to www.aspworldtour.com.]

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