Australia’s Jack Freestone suffered a critical defeat in Round 2 of the Vans World Cup of Surfing in Hawaii today, that may dash his hopes of qualifying for the 2015 ASP World Tour. He wasn’t the only one to slip up in the double- to triple-overhead surf on offer at Sunset Beach today; Brazilians Jesse Mendes and Willian Cardoso also fell.
Their collective fate now rests with a handful of surfers who remain in the event and have the ability to overtake them in this event to qualify. Among those looking to reach at least Round 4 to improve their chances of qualification are Joan Duru (FRA); Charles Martin (GLP); Ricardo Christie (NZL); and Dusty Payne (HAW). They each advance today.
The two youngest competitors of the Vans World Cup – 16-year-olds Leo Fioravanti, of Italy, and Hawaii’s Seth Moniz, emerged as the top standouts today. Fioravanti bolted out of the gates in Heat 3 with an incredible combination of scores – 9.07 and 7.1, for a total of 16.17 that remains the top heat score of the event so far. Leo has the potential to qualify if he can reach the semi-finals or final of this event. The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the final Qualifying Series event of the year and with its Prime rating carries vital points.
“I just tried to stay wide and (the others) were kind of getting caught really deep,” said Fioravanti. “I got two waves, one with about four turns and that was pretty much my heat after ten minutes. It would mean the world to me and to Italy for me to qualify. There’s never really been a surfer from Italy that’s gone this far. I hope I can keep going. I have so much support from back home, so that’s good. Hopefully we keep getting some good waves and luck will go my way.”
Hawaii’s Dusty Payne, winner of the first stage of the Vans Triple Crown at Haleiwa two weeks ago, maintained his solid form today. Payne is looking to finish in at least 13th place here to qualify. His uphill battle will really intensify tomorrow when he faces World No.1 Gabriel Medina, Dane Gudauskas (USA), and Connor O’Leary (AUS).
“I’ve had so much time out of the water, so any day I’m surfing is a good day,” said Payne. “I’m not even going to start thinking about qualification or a Triple Crown title, as great as it would be. I’m just really enjoying being in these events in great waves.”
Former ASP world champion Joel Parkinson (AUS), was scheduled to enter the event in Round 3 Heat 1tomorrow morning, but is now out after sustaining a suspected shoulder/back injury while free-surfing at Backdoor Pipe today. Parkinson was pressed into the reef by two large waves and is headed to hospital for injury assessment. He was still talking and mobile, but in considerable pain. As Parkinson entered the ambulance, he stated: “I’m out of Sunset but I will be back for Pipe!” Yadin Nichol (AUS) will take his place in this event.
Among the highest rated surfers to join the event in Round 3 tomorrow are: Michel Bourez (PYF); Josh Kerr (AUS); Bede Durbidge (AUS); Jordy Smith (ZAF); and Medina. Organizers anticipate a continuation of solid surf tomorrow that will see competition get underway at8am. The Vans World Cup of Surfing is the second of three events that comprise the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series.