Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, November 20, 2001


Andy Irons, of Hawaii, fails an attempted aerial on a
15-foot wave at the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa,
on the North Shore of Oahu, yesterday. Irons surfed
three times yesterday, winning his quarterfinal heat.

Huge waves
boss at Haleiwa

Star-Bulletin staff

After surviving multiple horrific wipeouts, four broken surfboards and a near-death experience, a quarter final defeat at the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro was the last of Australian Kieren Perrow's worries.

Perrow surfed through three rounds of competition yesterday in waves that continued to build to a height of 18 feet before the tournament was forced to shut down for the day.

After opening with a brilliant ride of 8.67 points out of 10, Perrow battled to progress through the heat after breaking a surfboard.

Perrow had to swim through the break at Alii Beach Park in Haleiwa, pick up a new board, run the beach and paddle back out. Another ride was enough to assure him of a win and a berth in the fourth round, but it didn't happen before snapping a second surfboard during a wipeout.

In the fourth round, a third board was broken en-route to a heat win that took him to the quarterfinals.

But it was in the quarter finals that the ocean finally defeated the Australian. Caught out of position for much of the heat, awash in a sea of whitewater and mountainous swells, Perrow was caught by a huge set of close-out waves as his three opponents managed to scratch their way to the channel. A fourth surfboard was broken and when Perrow finally resurfaced, he was picked up by the rescue team and given a ride to shore.

"I was pinned to the bottom (of the ocean). That's never happened to me before," said Perrow. "I couldn't get myself up and I started to swallow water. I thought I was going to die. It was really scary."

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing executive director Randy Rarick carefully monitored the building swell throughout the day and made the call to halt competition at the end of the fourth quarterfinal heat -- Perrow's heat.

The semifinals and final will be held today.

Florida surfer Damien Hobgood was one of the standouts on the day, fearlessly working his way through the rounds and earning himself a semifinal berth. A near-perfect 9.4-point ride in round four was his best of the day, earned after taking off on one of the bigger waves, dropping out of sight in the trough, and re-emerging with a series of vertical maneuvers.

Hawaii's Andy Irons and Myles Padaca, Florida's Cory Lopez, Australia's Richard Lovett, Jake Paterson, Mick Fanning and Steve Clements all progressed through to the semis.

"It's massive out there. Twenty foot for sure," Paterson said. "It's really good if you can get a good one, but it's hard work finding them. The best waves are coming from really deep within the lineup but you're risking your life to catch them."

Defending world champion Sunny Garcia lost in the quarterfinals, and local favorites Fred Patacchia and Pancho Sullivan were also eliminated.

From Haleiwa, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will migrate along the North Shore to Sunset Beach for the season-ending World Championship Tour event - the Rip Curl Cup - November 26 to December 7.

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