Vaughn Harris lives to fight out the repecharge final
posted on 26th March 2004
Sean Holmes from South Africa and Brazilian Flavio ‘Teco’ Padaratz qualified for Sunday’s grand final in the premier men’s open surfing division of the 2004 ISA World Surfing Games in Salinas, Ecuador, when they finished first and second respectively in the qualifying stream final today.
In surf that became increasingly inconsistent as the tide rolled in, the final four undefeated surfers paddled each other around the point and into the next bay in order to gain the advantage of having the inside position on the few overhead waves. After five minutes of no rides Holmes moved into the mid-break and stroked into a head-high wave that he carved up with vertical bottom turns, crisp bounces off the lip and tight arced cutbacks to earn a solid 8.0 points to applause from the crowded beach.
Padaratz answered back with a similar wave that he took apart in his own style and the scene was set as those two went head to head while Sasha Stocker (Aus) and Gabriel Villaran (Peru) stayed out at the back, each catching one big wave with the Peruvian scoring over nine points for a radical series of manoeuvres that put him within four points of second place and a berth in the grand final.
With less than minute to go and Holmes in the lead, Padaratz showed all his professional experience when he tactically kept Villaran off the first wave of a solid set and then manoeuvred the Peruvian too deep inside for the second wave, which the Peruvian caught but only received half a point for when he could not get around the first section.
Villaran and Stocker, who only rode one wave in the 20 minutes, now drop into the repecharge stream where they have a second chance to reach the grand final when they take on the top two from the repecharge round 9 heat which features Javier Swayne (Peru) and Mark Richardson (Aus) who eliminated David Reardon-Smith (Aus) in the first repecharge semi.
The second repecharge semi produced inspired surfing from Hira Teriinatoofa (Tah) and Frankie Oberholzer (SAfr) who put an end to the challenge of Felix Dixon (New Zealand). The Tahitian successfully completed a huge aerial on one of his rides and was rewarded with 9.17 points out of a possible 10 while Oberholzer’s busy style and ‘go for broke’ manoeuvres paid off with a couple of eight point scores.
The qualifiers stream finals in the other four disciplines were also decided today with South African team captain Jason Ribbink and Antoine Delpero (France) reaching Sunday’s grand final in the longboard event and defending two-time event champion Marcelo Freitas (Brz) and Patrick Laux (Tah) dropping into the repecharge stream for the first time.
World #7 Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) moved straight into the women’s surfing grand final with a comfortable victory over a determined Sheridan Shields (Aus) leaving an unlucky Andrea Lopes (Brz) just short despite several high class rides and Emmanuelle Joly trailing in fourth place.
The women’s repecharge semis saw Anali Gomez (Peru), Julia Christian (USA), event record point scorer Jessi Miley-Dyer (Aus) and Tasha Mentasti (SAfr) reach the last four of that stream and still in with chance of reaching the grand final if they can get through two more heats.
In the men’s bodyboarding Alvaro Padron (Spain) and defending event champ Nicolas Capdeville (Fra) guaranteed themselves a podium finish on Sunday by finishing one-two in the qualifiers final while Andrew Lester (Aus) and Vaughn Harris (SAfr) live to fight again in the repecharge final early on Sunday morning.
Defending champion Neymara Carvalho (Brz) reached the women’s bodyboarding grand final for the second successive year along with Kira Llewellyn (Aus) as they relegated 2002 runner-up Heloise Bourroux (France) and Marina Taylor (Spain) to a battle against the top two from the repecharge last four for a shot at the title.
Australia tightened its grip at the top of the provisional team standings despite losing Mark Richardson in the prestige men’s surfing division, bringing their total casualties to only two. Second placed South Africa also have two men out and also lost their women’s bodyboarder and then today Sacha Moller in the women’s surfing.
Brazil and fourth placed Peru lost nobody today and are within 200 points of each other while fifth placed France is almost 4 000 points further back, fighting off the challenges of Tahiti and Venezuela, with Spain a little further off the pace in eighth.
Costa Rica with everyone now eliminated, Argentina, who still have title chances in the women’s surfing and longboarding, the UK with their women’s bodyboarder and host nation Ecuador who still have their longboarder in contention, are locked in a battle for the last two spots in the top 10.
Saturday’s action comprises repecharge rounds in all five individual disciplines until only two remain to contest the repecharge finals against today’s two losers from the qualifier finals on Sunday morning. The two one hour semi-finals in the ISA Trophee tag team event will be staged over the low tide, starting at 1pm, with the seeding pitting South Africa against France, Spain and the host nation while Australia take on Brazil, ISA Trophee champions New Zealand and Tahiti.
The top two teams in each semi will meet in the final on Sunday.
NB Further releases from various teams and images from the 2004 ISA WSG are available on www.surfersvillage.com
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