Jake Paterson sent spray off the lip at Sunset Beach yesterday.
Snake snatches World Cup victory
Paterson leaves Irons in second place, but both trail Sullivan in the Triple Crown hunt
HAWAII supposedly doesn't have any snakes. But a certain one comes each winter and thrives in the big surf on Oahu's North Shore and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Jake "The Snake" Paterson of Australia won the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing, the second jewel in the 23rd annual men's Triple Crown, at Sunset Beach yesterday.
It was the second World Cup victory in the last three years (he also won in 2003) for the 32-year-old from Yallingup, who increased his career Triple Crown event win total to three (he also won the 1998 Pipeline Masters).
"I just got in a rhythm," said Paterson of his day, the famed surf break and his continued success at the World Cup. He picked up $15,000 with the win. "I spend a lot of time out here with my lineups, put a lot of time in. ... Every situation, you have to try to deal with it the right way."
Paterson dealt well on Monday, when he managed to survive and advance out of his sixth-round heat before officials pulled the plug early on what was supposed to be the fourth and final day of World Cup competition because the surf had grown too big and unruly.
aAnd he was ready again yesterday in the much smaller, but cleaner 8- to 12-foot-face waves, advancing through the quarterfinals and semis to take on 2004 World Cup winner Andy Irons of Kauai, Australia's Bede Durbidge and California's Pat O'Connell in the final.
Paterson caught only two waves in the 35-minute decider -- both coming before the midpoint -- but he received excellent scores for both (8.17 and 8.93) and ended up winning with a two-wave high of 17.10 (out of 20 maximum) points.
Durbidge (12.10) and O'Connell (11.50) surfed well in spots during the final, and finished in third and fourth, respectively.
But the battle was really between Paterson and Irons. The three-time world and two-time overall Triple Crown champion from Hanalei tallied 15.73 points for a narrow runner-up finish -- his second such result to Paterson at the last three World Cups, sandwiching the 2004 win.
"Me and Andy have had heaps of head-to-heads over our careers," Paterson said. "He got second the last time I won here, too. He's such a tough competitor, and I wasn't giving him an inch (of lineup position) at the end, too, because I know he can get eights and nines at the drop of a hat. I just stayed focused and it worked out."
On his final wave, Paterson posted a heat-best 8.93 after executing two huge off-the-top carves and a floating re-entry on a 12-foot wave to add to his first score and take the lead he wouldn't relinquish.
Irons immediately scored an 8.73 with similarly powerful maneuvers on the wave right behind, but fell on both of his subsequent rides to finish the final. However, Irons did post the highest single-wave score (9.33) and overall heat score (18.00) earlier during the World Cup's last day.
"I'm stoked to get a good result, especially after getting a bad one (at the first jewel) at Haleiwa," Irons, 27, said. "I still have a shot at the Triple Crown (championship) going into Pipe, and that's all I really wanted. Second is still a good result, and I'll take it. The Triple Crown is the big picture."
With his victory, Paterson moved into the No. 2 spot in the overall Triple Crown standings with only the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters at the Banzai Pipeline (waiting period begins tomorrow and runs through Dec. 20) left in the prestigious three-event series and the professional surfing season. He has not won an overall series championship yet.
Pupukea's Pancho Sullivan -- winner of the first jewel last month -- remains at No. 1, with Mick Fanning of Australia in third and Irons in fourth. Defending and record six-time Triple Crown champ Sunny Garcia of Sunset Beach is seventh, after he and Sullivan went down in the same loaded quarterfinal that Irons and Australia's Jarrad Howse advanced out of.
The World Cup was the final contest for the World Qualifying Series, which provides opportunities to qualify for the elite World Championship Tour. Newcomers to the 2006 WCT include Sullivan, Howse and Kauai's Roy Powers.
Also yesterday, California's Brett Simpson was named Nose Guard Triple Crown Rookie of the Year.