O'NEILL WORLD CUP OF SURFING
Collazo sets pace at Sunset Beach
As near-perfect big waves continued to roll in for the second straight day at the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, more than a handful of competitors were able to deliver superlative scores yesterday to match the conditions.
Leading the charge with a perfect 10 wave score for a deep and successful barrel ride was Hodei Collazo of Spain. The Basque Country surfer notched the only unblemished mark so far in the contest with only 8 seconds remaining in his first-round heat to win it with 13.17 total points for his top two waves and advance to the World Cup's next day of competition.
Two more days will be needed to complete the contest, a 6-star-prime World Qualifying Series finale. Besides closing out the WQS, the World Cup also serves as the second jewel in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, a series of three major contests on Oahu's North Shore that awards its own championship title to the best overall performer in the series in addition to the individual contest titles.
"I couldn't find any good ones in the beginning, and I broke my leash," said Collazo, who was forced to borrow a board after he lost his. "My friend gave me his board; I never tried it (before). (But) I needed a good one and I saw the wave, so I went for the barrel. I made it and I was so stoked."
Similarly fueled by the quality large waves with faces up to 15 feet and rewarded with at least one 9-plus score were: Hawaii's Sunny Garcia (9.67), and Luke Munro (9.80), Daniel Ross (9.50 and 9.27), Nic Muscroft (9.50) and Jake Paterson (9.17), who are all from Australia.
Garcia and Paterson are former two-time winners of the World Cup.
"This is the kind of conditions I dream about for surfing a contest," said Garcia, also the record six-time former Triple Crown overall champion. "The wave is just so good, it's like (being) an artist with a blank canvas that can paint whatever they want."
Garcia also had a 7.33 to tally 17.00 total points for his top two waves and win his first-rounder. Paterson's 9.17 and both of Ross's 9-plus marks came during the same round, with both also winning their heats. Ross's 18.77 two-wave total is the best overall heat score of the event so far.
After the first round was done, six of 16 heats in the second were run, with Munro and Muscroft logging their near-perfect marks on the way to winning their second-rounders and already securing a spot in the third round.
"I feel pretty good, and it's amazing out there," said Muscroft, adding that Sunset is likely his favorite Hawaii wave since its big, open faces are similar to what he finds on a large day back home in Bells Beach. "I'm kinda used to this; it's good for me."
Besides Garcia, other Hawaii surfers competing yesterday and advancing were: Makua Rothman, Flynn Novak, Dustin Barca, Daniel Jones, Nathan Carroll, Marcus Hickman, Sean Moody and Kekoa Bacalso.
Among the notable eliminations, Pupukea's Pancho Sullivan and Sunset Beach's John John Florence -- at 15, the youngest in the event -- both placed third in their second-rounders in bowing out.
Surfers such as defending Triple Crown overall champ Andy Irons (Kauai), new world champ Mick Fanning (Australia) and defending World Cup winner Joel Parkinson (Australia) have yet to surf at Sunset after being seeded directly into the third round.
With the waves forecast to grow larger today, competition is likely to resume with either the third day of the World Cup or the final day of the women's second jewel -- the Roxy Pro -- also being held at Sunset Beach.