SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA (September 13, 2006) – Local California surfers Chris Ward (USA) and Tim Reyes (USA) staked a serious claim for the winners trophy at the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley today.
Both surfers, who put on indifferent performances yesterday, returned to the spotlight in round two after digging deep to find their best form when they overcame their foes Pancho Sullivan (HAW) and now retired Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour legend Rob Machado (USA).
Ward, who surfs at Trestles, California (the location of the event) on a regular basis, showed that his local knowledge will carry him to the fore as his wave selection in the 30 minute encounter against Sullivan was spot on.
While Sullivan struggled to find a swell that would enable him to gain the big scores required, Ward was in tune snatching a wave that initially looked dubious but walled up and allowed him to notch up one of the biggest scores of the day.
Executing some huge vertical re-entries followed by an even bigger aerial manoeuvre where he traveled for at least one meter (three feet) above the wave, Ward had his throng of local supporters punching the air in appreciation.
"I knew it was going to be difficult,” said Ward. “Pancho’s a solid surfer and a really good competitor. I just didn’t want to hold back so I let loose with all I had and tried to have fun. I tried my best to stick all my turns. The waves are really good so how could you not have fun? It’s perfect out there."
He also acknowledged the crowd support and his confidence while surfing at his home break.
"I’m on my home turf here,” said Ward. “I enjoy surfing this wave because I know it and because it’s a high-performance wave like Jeffreys Bay [located in South Africa, the previous stop on the tour]. You can do everything out there from off-the-lips to airs to cutbacks. You can just go on and on."
Ward struggled somewhat last year after succumbing to an ankle injury and just recently he injured his knee. He is eager to return to fitness and lock down a good result.
"I’m just going to be surfing a lot,” said Ward. “I want to build strength in my leg. I’m riding the bike a lot and getting my endurance up. Hopefully I can get a good result here and get back on track."
Reyes, who hails from Huntington Beach just 30 minutes drive north of Trestles, displayed that he has the goods to go all the way in the event after he held off a strong charge from Machado.
Machado, who with Kelly Slater (USA) was an icon of the sport in the ’90s and early 2000s is now in retirement but was coaxed to come back to the tour for the one-off show as a wildcard.
Reyes was in no way intimidated by Machado’s status as he unleashed some scintillating rounded carves in the pocket to score the highest total of the day – 16.34 out of 20.
"You can never doubt Rob,” said Reyes. “He is a legend… an amazing surfer. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve had videos of him. He won the US Open at Huntington recently and I’m sure he wanted to come here and do really well but so did I obviously!”
Reyes, like Ward is battling injury as he is having serious difficulty moving due to aggressive muscle tension.
"Last night, I was walking around and felt some tension on my hip,” said Reyes. “And by the time I got to the car I couldn’t actually lift my leg. Overnight, it seized up even worse and I couldn’t even walk down here. Luckily, the chiropractors worked on it and massaged it and I was able to hobble into the water and win the heat."
While Reyes dominated, the heat was still a close affair with Machado hanging in contention right up to the final hooter. Reyes was glad when it was all over.
"I would say that’s the hardest round two heat I’ve ever had,” said Reyes. “I don’t want to ever have one like that again. I had the last priority in the last couple of minutes and there was one last wave that got me over the line. To advance against Rob is an amazing victory for me, especially because both of us tried to be the best we could be out here today."
Also progressing through to round three today was rookie Adrian Buchan (AUS).
Buchan, who due to injury, has missed every event so far this year, was eager to make an impression and he couldn’t do more for his reputation than beat a red hot Bruce Irons (HAW).
The youngster, as expected, couldn’t believe his good fortune.
"I'm really stoked,” said Buchan. “Just really happy to beat Bruce [Irons] this morning. He's one of the guys I've looked up to since I was a grommet. It's good to get a win."
Buchan now has the formidable task of surfing against Slater in round three but rather than being scared he’s looking forward to the challenge.
"I've had a few heats with Kelly when I was younger,” said Buchan. “You want to be able to come up against the best guys and surf well - that's what the ASP World Tour is about!"
Flying the flag for Brazil today was veteran Peterson Rosa who claimed a win over fellow countryman Paulo Moura.
While Moura looked dangerous at times, Rosa oozed consistency and came up trumps with two solid rides late in the heat.
“It's very hard out there because the waves are inconsistent,” said Rosa. “It was a very close heat and it's very hard to compete against a close friend. I'm happy I made it through."
Rosa employed a vigorous training regime in between events and the benefits are obvious. He is also desperate to get a good result in order to keep his tour hopes alive.
“I come here everyday every morning to train and to practice,” said Rosa. “My boards feel very good to me. I need to do well. I'm 33rd right now and I need a good result."
South African Greg Emslie was another to impress today as he showed some career best form to take down Yuri Sodre (BRA).
The likeable South African is enjoying surfing more than ever, and it shows.
"I’m just feeling loose and not too nervous,” said Emslie. “I just feel like going out there and surfing. The waves are so much fun.
"I'm feeling good and I think the important thing is to go out there and to be pretty calm and relaxed with your surfing. It's such a rippable wave. As we go through the rounds I think the performances are going to go through the roof again."
Forecasts indicate that the swell may back off slightly overnight but will build again later in the week.
Round three will kick off tomorrow at 8am sharp with some great match-ups on the cards.
The day will begin with Mick Fanning (AUS) versus Marcelo Nunes (BRA) with 16 heats making up the program.
Head to www.aspworldtour.com or www.boostmobilepro.com for all the heat-by-heat rundowns, audio downloads, video highlights and transcriptions of athlete quotes.
Round Two Results: (1st advances to Round Three; 2nd finishes equal 33rd):
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.00 def Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.00
Heat 2: Taylor Knox (USA) def Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Heat 3: Tim Reyes (USA) 16.34 def. Rob Machado (USA) 15.00
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.57 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 10.50
Heat 5: Toby Martin (AUS) 11.87 def. CJ Hobgood (USA) 10.5
Heat 6: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 14.50 def Yuri Sodre (BRA) 12.43
Heat 7: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 14.74 def Pedro Henrique (BRA) 14.10
Heat 8: Jarrad Howse (AUS) 15.60 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 11.33
Heat 9: Trent Munro (AUS) 15.50 def. David Weare (ZAF) 7.06
Heat 10: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 16.27 def. Mikael Picon (FRA) 12.50
Heat 11: Luke Stedman (AUS) 14.84 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 14.33
Heat 12: Victor Ribas (BRA) 13.27 def. Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 12.77
Heat 13: Chris Ward (USA) 16.16 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 12.10
Heat 14: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 14.50 def. Paulo Moura (BRA) 13.84
Heat 15: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.40 def. Jake Paterson (AUS) 13.84
Heat 16: Troy Brooks (AUS) 13.00 def. Mick Lowe (AUS) 9.34
Round Three Heat Draw: (1st advances to Round Four; 2nd finishes equal 17th)
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Marcelo Nunes (BRA)
Heat 2: Daniel Wills (AUS) vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS)
Heat 3: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Jarrad Howse (AUS)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Peterson Rosa (BRA)
Heat 6: Tim Reyes (USA) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 7: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) vs. Trent Munro (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 9: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Toby Martin (AUS)
Heat 10: Greg Emslie (ZAF) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 11: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Chris Ward (USA)
Heat 12: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 14: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) vs. Frederick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 15: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Victor Ribas (BRA)
Heat 16: Phillip Macdonald (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)