Australia's Paterson rides surf at Sunset to victory
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Australia's Jake Paterson showed that the sunset of his surfing career may still be a few years away after his performance yesterday at Sunset Beach.
Paterson won the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing for the second time in three years. The final day of the four-day contest was completed in clean 4- to 6-foot waves.
"Every event in Hawai'i has prestige attached to it, so it's amazing to win any one of them," said Paterson, 32. "And I'm getting old, so it's amazing, really, that I could get another one."
The O'Neill World Cup is the second of three events in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Paterson also won the World Cup at Sunset Beach in 2003. In both his wins, the surfer nicknamed "The Snake" slithered past Kaua'i's Andy Irons.
Moments after yesterday's win, Paterson sneaked behind a dejected Irons and unleashed a sinister giggle. "Ha, ha, ha, got you again," Paterson said, invoking a laugh from Irons.
"We have a nice, friendly rivalry, I guess you could say," Irons said. "But he did get me."
Paterson caught just two waves during the 35-minute final heat, but both resulted in good scores. His first wave received an 8.17, and his second got an 8.93 for a total of 17.1.
On both waves, he unleashed a series of bottom-to-top carves along the open section.
Irons dominated his quarterfinal and semifinal heats, but came up just short in the final. His two best waves received scores of 8.73 and 7.0 for a total of 15.73.
"I think I used up all my luck in the quarters and semis," Irons said.
Irons needed a score of 8.38 in the final 17 minutes to catch Paterson, but the waves nearly disappeared at the end of the heat. What's more, Paterson said he shadowed Irons in those final 17 minutes.
"I wasn't going to give him an inch at the end," Paterson said.
In any case, Irons said he would be pleased if the overall Triple Crown picture turns out like it did in 2003. After losing to Paterson at Sunset Beach two years ago, Irons went on to win the final event at the Banzai Pipeline to win the Triple Crown championship.
"I'd take that again in a heartbeat," Irons said.
Paterson said he was relaxed throughout yesterday's heats after visiting with his surfing friends from Tahiti on Monday.
He joined them in mourning the death of Tahiti surfer Malik Joyeux. Joyeux, 25, died in a surfing accident at the Banzai Pipeline on Friday.
"It's about the bigger picture, you know?" Paterson said. "It just didn't feel right, worrying about how we were going to do in this contest and our rating points and all that. After visiting with the Tahiti guys and thinking about Malik, I realized how lucky I was just to be surfing.
"I dedicate this win to him, for sure."
Paterson received $15,000 for the victory. Irons got $8,000.
Australian Bede Durbidge made a final in Hawai'i for the first time and placed third.
California's Pat O'Connell placed fourth in what he said may be the final contest of his career.
"I think this is the last Triple Crown I'll ever do, so it means a lot to do well," said O'Connell, 35.
Pancho Sullivan of Sunset Beach was eliminated in the quarterfinals but is still in the lead in the overall Triple Crown ratings. Paterson is second, followed by Australian Mick Fanning and Irons.
The Triple Crown title goes to the best overall performer in the three North Shore events.
The final event, the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters, will run on the four best days between tomorrow and Dec. 20.
The World Cup was also the final event on the 2005 World Qualifying Series. The top performers on the WQS get invited to compete on the 2006 World Championship Tour.
Sullivan and Kaua'i's Roy Powers did well enough on the 2005 WQS to earn a spot on the 2006 WCT.
1, Jake Paterson (Australia), $15,000. 2, Andy Irons (Hawai'i), $8,000. 3, Bede Durbidge (Australia), $6,000. 4, Pat O'Connell (California), $4,000. 5 (tie), Jarrad Howse (Australia) and Kieren Perrow (Australia), $3,000. 7 (tie), Luke Stedman (Australia) and Yuri Sodre (Brazil), $2,600. 9 (tie), Sunny Garcia (Hawai'i), Jay Thompson (Australia), Trent Munro (Australia), Tim Reyes (California), $2,300. 13 (tie), Pancho Sullivan (Hawai'i), Beau Mitchell (Australia), Mick Fanning (Australia), Nathan Carroll (Hawai'i), $1,900.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.