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Gotcha Pro 2000







Gotcha Pro Tahiti presented by Globe (MAY 9-18)

Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) 2000 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Teahupoo, Tahiti (Tuesday, May 16, 2000). Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) today added the Gotcha Pro Tahiti title to his illustrious list of career victories. Slater took on Hawaiian Shane Dorian in the final, but out-classed his close-friend to claim his 22nd World Championship Tour (WCT) event since he started competing on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) in 1991.

Slater, 28, entered the Gotcha Pro Tahiti as a wildcard entrant, having decided to spend some time away from competition over the past two years. Nonetheless, his performance this past week at Teahupoo offered no signs of diminished talent. He surfed the infamous break with complete control, also posting the highest total heat score of the day during his semi-final against current world champion and defending event champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) (25.60 to 19.75 points).

During the 35-minute final Slater picked off the best rides and found deeper tubes,

as well as performed more critical maneuvers in the clean 3-4 ft conditions. He and Dorian both rode their first rides switch-foot (with their right legs forward, instead of left as usual), however, just as they had in the last man-on-man final they surfed against each other back in 1992 in Australia's premier junior event. All fun aside, Slater got down to business and convincingly dominated the finale (25.55 to 20.25-points).

"The wave's kind of pulsed for the final," he began saying once he'd paddled over to the media boat. "I'd noticed for my last couple of heats that the second waves of the sets were a little hollower, with a cleaner face, so with Shane having priority pretty much every time and taking the first ones, I just lucked into three really good ones. They were pretty much the best waves that came in." Later, on stage to accept his Tahitian carved trophy, Slater offered the following dedication and thanks:

"First off I would like to dedicate this to Briece (Taera), the guy who passed away surfing out here. It really hits home when a surfer anywhere in the world dies, but at a place that's so intense and everyone has thought could take a life, it's sad for it to happen. I mean, there's never a good time for it. So I'd like to say to his family my condolences and I hope there's some good in it, somewhere. We're all thinking about him here. And thanks to Teahupoo. It's a really challenging wave╔ today wasn't as challenging as it gets, but it was really fun. Thanks to all the Tahitian people."

Dorian, who finished 1999 in 11th position, was rapt with today's second placing, especially since his start to the 2000 season has been far from ideal, finishing 33rd and 17th respectively, in the first two events. His 9.80 ride against current rating's leader Sunny Garcia (Haw), however, during their round four match-up this morning, turned out to be the highest of the day, and got the ball rolling.

"The final went alright for me if I didn't have a guy that was getting 9's and 9's and 9's," joked Dorian afterward. "It just seemed like I wasn't really in rhythm. My waves would just be decent, then I'd turn around and he'd be in a sick barrel. It was just his heat. There's not much you can do when that happens.

"It's nice to be in the final and with my best friend," he continued. "So we could just cut-loose and have a good time. That's what it's all about, anyway."

Occhilupo, 33, who has also suffered a slow start to the year leading up to Tahiti, admitted he was trying a little too hard against Slater in their heat, having never beaten him before. His equal-third placing, however, is no doubt is a great confidence boost to his world title defense.

"I didn't feel too good out there, I think I was just trying too hard again," he reasoned. "So many times I have surfed against Kelly now and haven't beaten him, and it felt like that could have been a good chance. I think I was a bit over-amped, and wasn't relaxed like my other heats. I'm fully stoked though, I've got back on track."

Also finishing third was Australian Luke Hitchings, being defeated by Dorian. Hitchings, 23, who finished last year rated 26th, has now moved up into eighth position on adjusted points after today's result.

"The waves were pretty good in that heat," he said. "But I sort of got out of rhythm and fell off on a good one and Shane just took over. He totally annihilated me, but whatever, I'm stoked (laughs). It's a great result for me and I was feeling really happy with my surfing. I've just been in a good mood, so I think everything was falling into place for me."

Garcia, 30, still leads the ratings despite his fourth round loss, with 1999's world number-two Taj Burrow (Aus), holding down second place 640 points behind.

Official Results of the Gotcha Pro Tahiti Final Day

1st K Slater (USA) US$15,000

2nd S Dorian (Haw) US$8,000

3rd L Hitchings (Aus); M Occhilupo (Aus) US$4,000

5th C Hayes (Haw); L Egan (Aus); M Campbell (Aus); C Lopez (USA) US$3,000

9th Y Sodre (Brz); N Hedge (Aus); B Bourgeois (USA); S Garcia (Haw); G Herdy (Brz); CJ Hobgood (USA); B Emerton (Aus); F Padaratz (Brz) US$2,300

Further Information Contact

Jesse Faen, ASP Int'l. Media Director: In Tahiti # (68)-9-574-786 jesse@aspworldtour.com PH/Fax Service: 1-212-699-3827 ext. 4282

Or visit us live at: www.asplive.com

Complimentary digital images available to all newspapers, websites, and magazines. Contact Pierre Tostee / ASP World Tour Photographer: pierre@tostee.com


Gotcha Pro Tahiti presented by Globe (MAY 9-18)

Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) 2000 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Teahupoo, Tahiti (Monday, May 15, 2000). Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) posted the highest total heat score of round three today, defeating world number-two Taj Burrow (Aus), 26.25 to 22.05-points. The 28-year-old, who is competing in the Gotcha Pro Tahiti event as a wildcard surfer, dominated his 30-minute heat against Burrow from start-to-finish, picking off the superior set-waves.

Slater, who had not surfed for a few days due to the poor conditions, showed no signs of being un-prepared, surfing the Tahitian waves like he was a local. He ll now meet Brazilian Guilherme Herdy in round four.

"With that (bad) weather over the past few days I hadn't surfed, so I mainly just wanted to get a few waves and get warmed up," Slater explained afterward. "There wasn't a lot of waves, so I figured I better concentrate on the good ones. Taj got one and then I got one behind him which was better, and that happened a couple of times. It was kind of luck of the waves out there, really. There's usually two waves in the sets, sometimes the first one's the good one, sometimes the second ones are. It just so happened in that heat the second ones were and I got them."

Current rating's leader Sunny Garcia (Haw) also continued his roll today, eliminating local Tahitian hero Vetea Poto David in a close-tussle. Garcia, who has won both World Championship Tour (WCT) events of the 2000 season prior to the Gotcha Pro Tahiti this week, admitted his strong desire to beat David, as well as the pressure he s feeling leading the ratings.

"I wanted to beat Poto pretty bad," said the Hawaiian. "He got off to a good start and got a couple of good waves. Toward the end I got a couple and it put me in the lead, and luckily for me he didn't get what he needed on his last wave.

"Leading the ratings right now is pretty nerve-wracking, so I m just happy to get a good result better than a 17th. It s pretty hard, so I m happy making the equal-ninth round, and tomorrow I think I'll have (Shane) Dorian (Haw), so it should be a good heat."

Defending Gotcha Pro Tahiti champion and current world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was another survivor today. Up against trial s event winner and the in-form surfer leading into the third-round, Hawaiian Andy Irons, Occhilupo never gave an inch to his opponent, who had come straight from hospital to contest the heat.

Suffering from a Staph. (blood poisoning) infection, similarly to Great Britain s Russell Winter, who was forced to withdraw from the event yesterday, Irons put on a courageous performance, but was unable to get the upper-hand, losing 21.65 to 14.55-points.

"I was nervous," admitted Occhilupo after the heat. "Andy s been the in-form surfer of the event. Even though the waves have dropped off, he s still one of the best out there, as he proved the other day when it was big. Unfortunately he got sick with Staph. and has been in hospital, so he just came out for the heat. Even though he said he felt fine, I think he might have been a bit weak, as you would be, so I was a bit lucky in that heat. It wasn t as tough as it could have been."

On the topic of defending his event title, Occy said the following about his chances:

"I think they re good, I feel really good. The swell s dropped off, as it did last year at the end, also. I m familiar with Teahupoo when it s a bit smaller cause last year it was a bit like it was today. I don t know what it s going to be like tomorrow, but I ve got good boards and feel good. You never know, so I ll take it heat by heat."

Australian Beau Emerton posted the highest single wave score of the day, with an excellent 9.8 ride, defeating fellow Aussie Glyndyn Ringrose along the way. Emerton now meets Occhilupo in the fourth round.

Official Results of the Gotcha Pro Tahiti Round Three

Heat 1: Y Sodre (Brz) def. P Rosa (Brz)

Heat 2: C Hayes (Haw) def. N Webster (Aus)

Heat 3: L Hitchings (Aus) def. R Rocha (Brz)

Heat 4: N Hedge (Aus) def. J Paterson (Aus)

Heat 5: B Bourgeois (USA) def. S Beschen (USA)

Heat 6: L Egan (Aus) def. T Knox (USA)

Heat 7: S Dorian (Haw) def. G Emslie (SAfr)

Heat 8: S Garcia (Haw) def. V David (Tahiti)

Heat 9: K Slater (USA) def. T Burrow (Aus)

Heat 10: G Herdy (Brz) def. S Sutton (Haw)

Heat 11: M Campbell (Aus) def. F Gouveia (Brz)

Heat 12: CJ Hobgood (Aus) def. M Lowe (Aus)

Heat 13: M Occhilupo (Aus) def. A Irons (Haw)

Heat 14: B Emerton (Aus) def. G Ringrose (Aus)

Heat 15: F Padaratz (Brz) def. K Malloy (USA)

Heat 16: C Lopez (USA) def. R Lovett (Aus)

Further Information Contact

Jesse Faen, ASP Int'l. Media Director: In Tahiti # (68)-9-574-786 jesse@aspworldtour.com PH/Fax Service: 1-212-699-3827 ext. 4282

Complimentary digital images available to all newspapers, websites, and magazines. Contact Pierre Tostee / ASP World Tour Photographer: pierre@tostee.com

an ASP speciality event.


Gotcha Pro Tahiti presented by Globe (MAY 9-18)

Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) 2000 World Championship Tour (WCT)

Teahupoo, Tahiti (Sunday, May 14, 2000). Hawaiian Sunny Garcia advanced through his sudden-death' round two heat this morning in 8-10 ft deadly conditions at Teahupoo, after two days of the Gotcha Pro Tahiti being postponed. Garcia, like most of the top seeds in round two, advanced in the dangerous surf, and are hoping the swell settles down a bit for the coming rounds of competition.

The current ratings leader held off a tough opponent in Australian Shane Wehner, securing his win with better wave selection. Garcia has won the previous two events on this year's World Championship Tour (WCT), adding further momentum to his campaign for an elusive world title. He will have to beat local Tahitian hero Vetea Poto' David, though, if he wishes to gain any further ground on his closest rivals.

"The conditions are challenging and there were some big bombs right when the heat started and Shane and I got cleaned up," explained the 30-year-old Garcia. "Shane actually tried to dip (duck under with his surfboard) that wave and he got sucked over the falls. That kind of made for a spooky heat. I had to just try and catch the smaller ones and make the heat. Luckily for me Shane didn't have three waves. I got one good one, and the other two were kind of funky. Right now it's kind of hard because it's still kind of messy and you can't really take any old wave, you've got to be really picky.

"I'm definitely happy to get through that one," he added. "Especially as the swell is expected to go down."

Current world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) also progressed today, narrowly defeating fellow Aussie and WCT newcomer Toby Martin. Occhilupo will now face trial's winner Andy Irons (Haw), in a match sure to be one of the events most eagerly anticipated. Irons, who won his first heat and did not have to compete today, is reported to be suffering from a minor form of blood infection, but should be fine by the time he takes on Occhilupo.

"At the start of the day a really big set came through and cleaned up Sunny and Shane, so I was kind of sketching thinking another wave like that might come through during our heat," said Occhilupo. "I kind of stayed a little too far outside waiting for that set, because if you get cleaned up it could be over for your heat and the competition. I got a couple of OK rides, but nothing spectacular and the wind even became a little side-shore. It's heavy out there and I mainly just played it really safe, and it got me through the heat.

"I've got a lot of work to do now as I'll be back up against the wildcard," he admitted, knowing he would face Irons in round three. "I've been thinking negative at times, wondering if I should just take a 33rd as it would help my averages and the wildcards are so hard. But that's not a wave to think, you've got to be in it to win it. I know I've got a lot of work to do, but I'm really going to try my best to beat the wildcard. It'll be a big win if I can."

Brazilian surfers Fabio Gouveia and Victor Ribas put on the best performance of the day, with both surfers catching great rides and racking up high scores. Gouveia, in fact, posted the best of the day, to earn his first perfect 10-point ride of his illustrious 12-year career.

"I was a bit disappointed because I had to surf with Victor," Fabio reasoned. "We don't feel good when we have to surf against each other. Everybody feels the same, but I haven't made any heats this year, so I had to do well in that one. And today is Mother's Day, so I had to win that one and call my mother and wife, and mother-in-law to tell them I made it. Victor got a 9-point ride at the beginning and I knew it was easier for him on his forehand. We both waited for a while, then I got one at the end╔ my first 10-point ride in 12-years on tour. Now I can retire in style (laughs), I'm so stoked."

Australian Luke Egan posted the highest total heat score of the day, finishing 25.75 ahead of South African Paul Canning's total of 11.30-points.

World number-two Taj Burrow (Aus), who also moves into round three after eliminating Brazilian Rodrigo Dornelles (a replacement for injured American surfer Pat O'Connell), summed up the feelings of most competitors today, by stating:

"I'm glad that's over and done with. It looks so much heavier when you're out there. It was gnarly."

Great Britain's only representative in the WCT, Russell Winter, was forced to withdraw from competition today after a serious blood infection placed him in a critical condition two days ago. After scratching his ankle-bone during his first round heat, Winter's leg became inflamed and the on-site doctors had to arrange for his transportation to Taravoa's hospital (approx. 20-minutes from Teahupoo). Once there, he underwent blood tests and is currently awaiting a flight to Australia for more tests.

"I just fell off the other day on the first wave of my heat and scrapped my foot on the bottom," explained Winter. "It was only a small scratch, but right near the ankle-bone. Then it just started to swell up and give me the worst pain I've ever had."

Upcoming Gotcha Pro Tahiti Round Three Heats

Heat 1: P. Rosa (Brz) vs. Y. Sodre (Brz)
Heat 2: N. Webster (Aus) vs. C. Hayes (Haw)
Heat 3: L. Hitchings (Aus) vs. R. Rocha (Brz)
Heat 4: J. Paterson (Aus) vs. N. Hedge (Aus)
Heat 5: S. Beschen (USA) vs. B. Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 6: L. Egan (Aus) vs. T. Knox (USA)
Heat 7: G. Emslie (SAfr) vs. S. Dorian (Haw)
Heat 8: S. Garcia (Haw) vs. V. David (Tahiti)
Heat 9: T. Burrow (Aus) vs. K. Slater (USA)
Heat 10: G. Herdy (Brz) vs. S. Sutton (Haw)
Heat 11: M. Campbell (Aus) vs. F. Gouveia (Brz)
Heat 12: M. Lowe (Aus) vs. CJ Hobgood (USA)
Heat 13: M. Occhilupo (Aus) vs. A. Irons (Haw)
Heat 14: B. Emerton (Aus) vs. G. Ringrose (Aus)
Heat 15: F. Padaratz (Brz) vs. K. Malloy (USA)
Heat 16: C. Lopez (USA) vs. R. Lovett (Aus)

Further Information Contact

Jesse Faen, ASP Int'l. Media Director: In Tahiti # (68)-9-574-786 jesse@aspworldtour.com PH/Fax Service: 1-212-699-3827 ext. 4282

Complimentary digital images available to all newspapers, websites, and magazines. Contact Pierre Tostee / ASP World Tour Photographer: pierre@tostee.com


Teahupoo, Tahiti (Tuesday, May 9, 2000). Current world champion and defending Gotcha Pro Tahiti champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was convincingly beaten today in the first round by trials winner Andy Irons, as the young Hawaiian continued his blistering form. Both Occhilupo and fellow Australian Shane Powell were no match for Irons, who not only posted the highest score of the day with a perfect 10-point ride, but also left his opponents needing a combination of rides, after earning the highest total heat score of the day, finishing with 26.55 out of a possible 30-points. Occhilupo, who has suffered a poor string of results this year, actually hurt his back at the beginning of the heat today, but wasn't blaming this on his performance in the two-metre, sometimes inconsistent conditions. Instead, he gave credit to Irons, who is looking like a strong favorite at this point of the event.

"I knew Andy was the one in form, which is obviously is," stated Occhilupo, who'll now have to compete in round two, unlike Irons who progresses straight to the third. "I started out alright, but then I was just kind of behind the eight ball with Andy having two really high scoring waves, then he got a third good one which he got 10 (a perfect score) for. I paddled for a wave, but it wasn't the right one. I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings."

Irons, who failed to re-qualify for this year's World Championship Tour (WCT) despite being acknowledged as one of the world's best surfers, finds himself back in a WCT after a sensational showing throughout yesterday's trials event. "Yesterday was lot bigger and it was a lot gnarlier," said the 21-year-old. "Today is a little smaller and almost fun compared to yesterday. I'm just stoked to be back in the WCT and surf another contest. I don't have a thing to worry about, there's no pressure on me. I just want to have fun and go for it."

Current ratings leader Sunny Garcia (Haw), who arrived in Tahiti after posting an unbelievable run of great results, including the first two WCT events of the season, both held in Australia, wasn't so lucky today. Garcia, 30, lead his heat up until the final 30-seconds, when local Tahitian hero Vetea 'Poto' David snuck into a smaller inside wave to score the points he needed. Garcia will now have to surf in the sudden-death second round. "There wasn't too many waves coming in and at the end Poto needed a 6.11 and paddled for a little 1-2ft wave," reasoned Garcia, who was not at all impressed by the judge's decision. "I didn't think he was going to get a 6 on it, let alone a 7, so I lost in the last 30-seconds. I don't care what angle the judges are looking from, a 2ft wave is a 2ft wave. That's the way it is though, I can't win everything (laughs). David, who was a member of the WCT for a number of years, retired to enjoy the waves and life he has on offer at home, a decision evident in the way he surfs Teahupoo. Despite its treacherous nature, Poto handles the spot completely at ease, using his intrinsic knowledge to good use today.

. Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) was another big winner today, defeating fellow American Tim Curran and Australia's world number two Taj Burrow in their meet. Slater, who accepted a wildcard position into this event and progressed through the trials yesterday to make the main event, is competing at Teahupoo for the first time. "It's definitely competitive out there," Slater reasoned after his win. "I finally got a good night's sleep and got some food (last night). Coming off 36hrs of traveling to get here, I was just trying to get some energy and the motivation back. Yesterday was a good warm up and I feel better."

Brazil's Neco Padaratz was not feeling so good today, however, as he had serious brush with death. Up against Shane Beschen (USA) and Shawn Sutton (Haw) in the first heat of the day, Padaratz found himself partly stuck in the reef's cavernous floor, and was lucky to escape with his life. Following the incident with local Tahitian surfer Briece Taera, who tragically died surfing the infamous spot only one week ago as he warmed up for the trials event he was set to contest yesterday, the reality of this spot's intensity is all the more real. Padaratz, who mainly suffered mental distress due to the incident, was in complete shock once the jet-ski operator who had helped free him from the reef brought him to the safety of shore and the attention of the event's medical staff. "I was stuck in a cave and couldn't move," explained Padaratz with an oxygen mask still covering his mouth. "It was heavy, I was trying to breath but the waves kept going over my head. I thought I was going to die and never see my wife and child again.... I was saying to myself, 'Please God, don't let me die here.'" Dr Leyland Dao reassured Padaratz he would be fine, but the experience has left a marked scare on his confidence, as well as snuck into the minds of other competitors.

A decision will be made tomorrow morning by 6:30am (local Tahitian time) as to the day's schedule. Official Results of the Gotcha Pro Tahiti, held May 9th

Heat 1: 1st S. Beschen (USA), 2nd N. Padaratz (Brz), 3rd S. Sutton (Haw)

Heat 2: 1st S. Dorian (Haw), 2nd D. Hardman (Aus), 3rd T. Martin (Aus)

Heat 3: 1st K. Malloy (USA), 2nd G. Emslie (SAfr), 3rd M. Campbell (Aus)

Heat 4: 1st C. Hayes (Haw), 2nd F. Padaratz (Brz), 3rd G Herdy (Brz)

Heat 5: 1st B. Emerton (Aus), 2nd V Ribas (Brz), 3rd R Dornelles (Brz)

Heat 6: 1st N. Webster (Aus) 2nd S. Wehner (Aus), 3rd L. Hitchings (Aus)

Heat 7: 1st N. Hedge (Aus), 2nd J. Paterson (Aus), 3rd R. Machado (USA)

Heat 8: 1st V. David (Tah), 2nd S. Garcia (Haw), 3rd A. Daltro (Brz)

Heat 9: 1st K. Slater (USA), 2nd T. Curran (USA), 3rd T. Burrow (Aus)

Heat 10: 1st A. Irons (Haw), 2nd M. Occhilupo (Aus), 3rd S. Powell (Aus)

Heat 11: 1st G. Ringrose (Aus), 2nd L. Egan (Aus), 3rd F. Gouveia (Brz)

Heat 12: 1st R. Rocha (Brz), 2nd D. Hobgood (USA), 3rd T. Prestage (Aus)

Heat 13: 1st Y. Sodre (Brz), 2nd M. Lowe (Aus), 3rd R. Williams (Haw)

Heat 14: 1st C. Lopez (USA), 2nd R. Lovett (Aus), 3rd B. Bourgeois (USA)

Heat 15: 1st CJ Hobgood (USA), 2nd P. Canning (SAfr), 3rd S. Lopez (USA)

Heat 16: 1st P. Rosa (Brz), 2nd T. Knox (USA), 3rd R. Winter (GB)

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