High seas and high dramas today at the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing, at Sunset Beach in Hawaii. Although the ASP press releases (when they eventually come out) will tell you it was 20 foot, it looked more like a solid 12-15ft of washing machine madness by the time the last heat was run, with strong winds and car sized lumps of chop hacking into the conditions. Early on, with lighter winds in play, Sunset looked big and picture perfect. It was a great day for the Aussies, making up 15 of the 32 remaining surfers coming into the final rounds, expected to be run tomorrow. Joel Parkinson, Kai Otton, Adrian Buchan, Tom Whitaker and Josh Kerr all stood up to be counted in the monstrous surf and posted solid heat wins.
On the qualifying front Chris Davidson, Josh Kerr and Nic Muscroft had already booked their spots on the ’09 World Tour before anyone paddled out this morning, and Phil MacDonald joined them, progressing through his heat. Aussies still in the event and in contention for qualification are Drew Courtney (who should be fine unless a backmarker salvages a miracle win), Yadin Nicol (who needs to get through a couple more heats to be there abouts) and Dion Atkinson (who needs a miracle win). Bowing out of the race for ’09 was six time Triple Crown (that’s 18 Crowns by ASL’s reckoning) champ Sunny Garcia, who staged a remarkable comeback to fall desperately short on the second last day of qualifying for the year.
Stay tuned tomorrow as ASL hits the stand to bring you the play by play from what promises to be the final day at Sunset, and good luck to Aussie QS warriors!