The planet’s premier high-performance point break to host the decider in the unparalleled competitive rivalry between two of surfing’s greatest icons.
Friday 3rd July (Jeffreys Bay – South Africa) THE rivalry between Australian wunderkind Mark Occhilupo and California soul champion Tom Curren produced the most exciting competitive clashes in the history of surfing. For the first decade of surfing’s ASP pro circuit Occy and Tommy dominated the world stage with their dueling performances.
In a major coup for surf fans world wide, this year at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay spectators can watch a LIVE webcast of these two superstars as they re-ignite their intense rivalry in the world’s best right hand point wave, going head to head for the first time in over two decades.
Each has won eight of their 16 previous encounters and the Clash of the Icons will provide yet another chapter in their 26 year rivalry.
During the 1980’s no rivalry was more heralded than the Tom Curren/Mark Occhilupo challenge. Whenever the two surfers came up against each other in heats, sparks flew, temperatures rose and onlookers gathered to witness unmatched and historic wave-riding duels.
“I saw Occy before he became a household name, when he was first breaking out, it was at Jeffreys,” said Curren. “He had so much energy, just pushing every turn with so much speed and power.”
“I watched his footage over and over and seeing him for the first time I remember thinking his anticipation going into every turn was something great; something amazing.”
Occy – amped, animated, and outspoken – was a young Aussie mischief-maker and a powerhouse hell-competitor beloved by everyone. Curren – enigmatic, humble, and deceptively understated – was a precise but devastatingly savage contest opponent idolized globally.
“I first saw Tom surf when I was really young in Cronulla, it was at Wanda Beach,” said Occhilupo. “He was staying at Jim Banks’ house, I walked over the hill to the beach after school and it was like solid 6-8ft and he was the only one out.”
“I think he won the Beaurepaires that year and the first time I saw him he was at his peak, he was just ruling.”
No matter where the event was held or who else was in it – there were always two camps, the Occy troop and the Curren crew. It was goofy vs. natural, radical power gouges vs. the sublime style-master, Australia vs. America.
“Tom was already schooling guys when I came on tour and he was in some serious form, no one could touch him,” said Occhilupo. “I couldn’t get close to Tom, I had to scratch and work to get to that level.”
Their most memorable clashes were the Rip Curl Bells Pro semi that clinched Tommy’s first World Title in 1985/86 and the two Op Pro Finals in front of 100,000 people at Huntington Beach won by Occy later that year.
“I beat him at the OP Pro in Huntington twice in a row and the rivalry probably started there and then went to Bells and various heats around the world tour,” said Occhilupo. “There were literally thousands of people on the pier and they were all shouting for Tom, I had to come out and upset the motion.”
“I only remember being in the zone,” said Curren. “Occy was pulling out every trick, he had that little extra.”
“Both of us were pushing as hard as we could, but he won that one with a wave at the end, I just remember it was very tense and very tiring as well.”
Curren went on to win 353 heats, 33 events and three World Titles while Occy won 380 heats, 12 events and one World Title. Both featured in spectacular comebacks – Tom returning from a two year hiatus to clinch his third crown from the trials in 1990 while Occy’s well documented rise to the 1999 crown after a decade in the wilderness is one of the greatest feats in sporting history.
Both have been singled out for their amazing wave riding at J-Bay – Occy winning the inaugural version of the event in 1984 with a performance that redefined backhand surfing and going on to become one of the South African surfing Mecca’s favourite sons. Curren’s Rincon inspired lines provides a unique insight on how to ride the legendary walls of Supertubes.
The pair have never met in a heat together at the fabled point. The 2009 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay provides the opportunity for their most exciting match-up ever – a visual feast of Occy’s massive backhand blasts and Curren’s inventive flawlessness which earned them their reputations at J-Bay.
“All bets are off in J-Bay,” said Occhilupo. “I don’t know what he has been up to, Tom has always been the mysto man but I’m pretty anxious and I am really anticipating the showdown quite a lot. I have been training with Parko and training a lot on my own, so I’m going to be prepared for this.”
“If I am going to go toe to toe with Occy then it has to be a really big heat for me, for Occy, for both of us,” said Curren. “When it comes down to it you just have to dig a little deeper….and hope that you have something there.”
“Anywhere Occy paddles out he has a good chance of winning – against anybody, so for me…it’s about training, I think if I train hard I can beat him in this event.”
Stay tuned to billabongpro.com from July 9-19 to witness one of surfing’s most historic duels ever at the planet’s premier high performance point break.
Mark Occhilupo vs. Tom Curren
Total of 16 heats
Mark Occhilupo – 8 wins
1983, Semis, Marui World Surfing Pro, Herbara Beach, Japan
1983, Round 1, Beaurepaires Open, Cronulla, AUS
1984, Round 3, OP America Series, Jensen Bch, Florida
1984, Round 2, Gunston 500, Durban South Africa
1984, Round 2, Tutti Frutti Lacanau Pro, Lacanau, France
1985, Final, Op Pro HB, California, USA
1986, Semis, Op Pro HB, California, USA
1986, Final, BHP Steel International, Newcastle, AUS
Tom Curren – 8 wins
1984, Semis, Stubbies Surf Classic, Burleigh Heads, AUS
1985, Semis, BHP Steel International, Newcastle, AUS
1985, Semis, Billabong Pro, Sunset/Waimea, HAW
1985, Semis, Stubbies Surf Classic, Burleigh Heads, AUS
1985, Semis, Rip Curl Subaru Easter Classic, Bells, AUS
1986, Semis, Marui Japan Open, Habushi-Ura, Niijima, Japan
1987, Final, Stubbies US Pro, Oceanside, USA
1988, Semis, Marui Japan Open, Habushi-Ura, Niijima, Japan
Mark Occhilupo – June 16, 1966
Total of 685 heats, 380 wins, 55% winning
22 finals, 12 wins, 55% winning
Tom Curren – July 3, 1964
Total of 506 heats, 353 wins, 70% winning
45 finals, 33 wins, 73% winning
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Heading into the business end of the Billabong Pro.
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay
Stop No. 5 of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour
Supertubes, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
July 10–20, 2008
See highlights videos on RealSurf.tv
JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa — Kelly Slater (USA), professional
surfing’s most decorated athlete, showed no signs of slowing
down in Jeffreys Bay today. The eight-time ASP World Champion and
current ratings leader blitzed in both his Round 3 and Round 4
Billabong Pro clashes.
Slater defeated Travis Logie 19.14 to 12.06 in Heat 8 of Round 3 before
beating Tom Whitaker 18.03 to 10.67 in the last heat of the day.
“The waves just came in in that heat,” Slater said.
“Tom had a few good ones, but I ended up getting the one big
long one with a lot of sections on it. I think I got about eight turns
in and then got that little tube at the end. Sometimes you just will
your way into certain things and believe it’s going to happen
and it does.”
Slater will now meet current World No. 4 Adriano de Souza in
Kelly Slater throws some spray en route to the quarterfinals.
“Adriano gets it done,” Slater said.
“He’s learned a lot over the past couple of years
and he’s been impressive out here. He’s been really
fast and throwing a lot of spray, and doing a lot of turns, so
I’m definitely not going to underestimate him.”
Slater’s closest competition, Joel Parkinson (AUS), relished
a narrow victory over fellow Australian Kai Otton in the first heat of
“Kai needed an 8.2, he got an 8.1 and he lost by
.1,” Parkinson said. “A win is a win. I think I was
kind of lucky in a way, but it’s a good result for me. My
goal was to lift a little; I felt like I had another notch in me and
going into tomorrow everyone is going to be surfing really
Parkinson is currently rated World No. 2. With Slater still in
Billabong Pro contention Parkinson knows he has to keep the pace. He
will face World No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) in Quarterfinal 1.
“You can’t really slack off at any point now
because Kelly has got such a lead,” Parkinson said.
“I pretty much have to win all my heats so I’ll try
that. I can’t really do anything about what he does, but
hopefully come some point toward the end of the yea, I’m
still there with a chance.”
Defending Champion Taj Burrow (AUS) beat South African Royden Bryson in
Round 3 and has yet to surf Round 4 – only heats one through
four of that round were run today. Burrow will meet another South
African in Jordy Smith in Heat 7 of Round 4.
“Jordy is a tough heat for sure,” Burrow said.
“He’s gotten better and better and he’s
got the local crowd behind him and he knows this wave so it will be
Burrow beat Smith in the semifinals of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay
in 2006 when Smith was surfing the event as a wildcard. As the sole
South African remaining in the event, both Smith and the local crowd
will be looking for revenge.
“I lost to Taj a couple of years ago, so hopefully we get the
waves and we’ll see what happens,” Smith said.
“I’d love to get him back but Taj is surfing
really, really well.”
France’s Jeremy Flores will meet three-time ASP World
Champion Andy Irons (HAW) in the last heat of Round 4. Both surfers
escaped elimination by advancing out of Round 3 today.
“Andy is one of my favorite surfers and I’ve looked
up to him since I was a little kid so having a heat with him is a
pleasure,” Flores said. “If I win I’ll be
so happy, if I lose it will be kind of normal so I just have to do my
Twenty heats of competition were run in the four to six foot (two
metre) conditions on offer today. Only 11 heats of the Billabong Pro
The first heat in the water when Round 4 resumes will be Heat 5
featuring reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning and Hawaiian Bruce
Irons. A former winner at JBay, Fanning seems unfazed by his current
7th place rating and is instead concentrating on the second half of
“I’m surfing good,” Fanning said.
“I’ve just had one bad result this year, so
that’s a good base for me for the rest of the tour and I
really enjoy the second half of the year.”
Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.33 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 8.56
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.44 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 15.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.33 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 5.84
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.03 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.67
Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.87 def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 7.63
Heat 2: Roy Powers (HAW) 12.34 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 11.33
Heat 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.00 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 12.00
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.00 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 11.50
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.83 def. Mick Campbell (AUS) 5.40
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.00 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 10.67
Heat 7: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.47 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.17
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.14 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.06
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.50 def. Ben Bourgeois (USA) 11.16
Heat 10: Bruce Irons (HAW) 9.50 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 8.33
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.20 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 6.50
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.50
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.34 def. Royden Bryson (ZAF) 11.16
Heat 14: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.17 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 8.73
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) 10.50 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.66
Heat 16: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.00 def. Chris Ward (USA) 12.07
Round 4 Match-ups:
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 8: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Irons out of the fire and into Round 3. Parko makes it out alive too.
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JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa — There was no shortage of standout surfing
in Round 1 of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, but it was ASP World Tour
veteran Taylor Knox (USA) who stole the show in perfect four
to six foot (one to two metre) waves in South Africa today.
Knox posted near perfect 9.90 and a 9.80 wave scores for a combined
total of 19.70 out of 20.00 points to take out World No. 2 Joel
Parkinson and replacement surfer Nic Muscroft (AUS). Muscroft is
surfing in place of an injured Aritz Aranburu (EUK).
“It’s really enjoyable to be in a heat like that, it was
unreal.” Knox said. “It was exciting, because Parko
got the first wave and I could see that it was such a good wave and I
knew that once it went by me it would barrel. Right then I saw a big
one out the back and just thought, I’m going to get barreled.”
Knox utilized his entire repertoire while posting the highest heat
total of his 15 year, 474 heat ASP World Tour career. In addition to
his 9.90 and 9.80 Knox had a 9.00 in his scoreline to spare.
“I’ve had 10s before but I don’t think
that I have ever backed it up with a 9.70 so I’d say that
this was probably the highest scoring heat I’ve ever
surfed,” Knox said.
stands in good running for the Nixon highest heat total award after
posting a 19.70 in Round 1.
Parkinson scored a perfect 10 in his heat against Knox, and backed it
up with an 8.00 but still came up short. The World No. 2 will meet 1984
Jeffreys Bay Champion Mark Occhilupo (AUS), who earned a wildcard into
the event via the VonZipper Trials, in Heat 1 of Round 2.
Eight-time ASP World Champion and ASP ratings leader Kelly Slater (USA)
beat Occhilupo and Dayyan Neve (AUS) in Round 1.
“It’s nice to have a heat with Occy, especially out
here,” Slater said. “There’s always a chance that
he could get another wildcard, but every event he’s in, we’re all
thinking it might be his last and this is the place that he has really
shined over the years.”
Slater has really shined in 2008. Having claimed three of four events
this season, he is well and truly poised to campaign for a ninth ASP
World Title and is enjoying every minute of it.
is chasing a 9th World Title and a 4th 2008 ASP World Tour event win,
he is on track with a Round 1 win.
“I’ve been having a lot of fun,” Slater said.
“The tour has been a lot of fun and the contests have been
fun. I wasn’t planning on doing all of the contests this year. I wasn’t
planning on going to Bells and then I won Bells, so it made Tahiti and
Fiji pretty hard to pass up. It’s been a miracle year for me so far,
everything is falling into the right places at the right
Slater has won at Jeffreys Bay a record three times and stands to
increase his lead if he can take out the event a fourth time. Still,
Slater’s closest contenders are in form as well.
“JBay has been a great place for me competitively,”
Slater said. “But if I were to win I know one of those guys
close by me would be in second and another would be in third, so it
wouldn’t be a huge amount of ground made up, still stranger things have
happened. Last year in Trestles most of the best guys lost early on and
I made some ground. I could also blow it here and a whole bunch of guys
could catch up, so it’s still really open. Everyone gets on a hot
streak for a little while, so you can’t count anyone out at this
World No. 5 Taj Burrow (AUS) won his heat after opening up with a 9.93,
the second highest wave score of the day, for a deep barrel ride.
“I was pretty high up the top and I know that Tommy was
sniffing around for the same wave, but I got onto it out the back and
knew I needed to go as fast as I could,” Burrow said.
“By the time I got to the sweet spot it was pretty round so I
just went straight through it a couple of times, it was fun!”
Burrow is the defending champion having beat Slater in the Billabong
Pro final in Jeffreys Bay last year. He was also runner-up to the ASP
World Title last year and is eager to make another run in 2008.
“I feel like I can defend my title.” Burrow said.
“It’s definitely on my mind because if we want to make a jump
on Kelly it’s a now or never kind of thing. This is an event I know I
can do it in so that’s my plan. Everyone is fired up and surfing so
well – it’s going to be awesome for the spectators but pretty
hard for us!”
Reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) put on a signature
performance to take out Dane Reynolds (USA) and Hawaiian wildcard
Granger Larsen in his Round 1 heat today.
“It was good fun; really nice waves,” Fanning said.
“I’m just stoked to start the contest off with a big bang
after last year which was pretty sad. When there are waves like this
everyone is on their game. These are the Top 45 surfers in the world
and everyone rips – so put them on an open canvas like this
and watch them go.”
Fanning has dropped to 7th on the ratings but is enjoying a reprieve
from the pressure that goes along with chasing a title. He is
concentrating on his game, not Slater’s.
“I’m just worried about myself,” Fanning said.
“I had a topsy turvy start to the year, but now everything is
feeling good so I’m just going to try to concentrate on myself and get
the result I need.”
Souza (Bra) won his Round 1 clash over Jordy Smith and Travis Logie.
Brazil’s Adriano de Souza, who sits 4th on the ratings,
continued his roll to take out South Africans Jordy Smith and Travis
“I can’t believe I won that heat,” de Souza said.
“To have two South African guys in my heat was really hard,
they know this spot well. I was sitting out back waiting for the bomb
and I got it and got a 9.00 which gave me the confidence to win the
heat and beat Jordy. I’ve been on tour for two years, so I have more
experience and I think that is how I won the heat.”
World No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) beat South African Ricky Basnett and
Damien Hobgood (USA) and is poised to live up to his potential at JBay.
“People always say I’m a good shot at the title here and I
think I am too,” Durbidge said. “Hopefully this
year I can live up to it.”
Round 1 saw
the Irons brothers in a matchup for 1st and 2nd, Bruce took this one
Bruce Irons (HAW) scored a last minute victory to send his brother Andy
and Australia’s Dan Ross to Round 2.
“I thought I lost,” Bruce said “I walked
home and gave my brother my jersey to turn in. Then Joel (Parkinson)
came over and told me I won on the last exchange. I didn’t think I got
it, but it’s cool, I get to move on. I’m hoping to get a little more
adjusted to the cold water though, I couldn’t feel my feet.”
Andy Irons will meet wildcard Granger Larsen in Heat 2 of Round 2 which
could run tomorrow.
Fellow Hawaiian Pancho Sullivan missed Round 1 citing travel challenges
but will compete in the event if he can make it to South Africa before
his Round 2 heat.
Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Roy Powers (HAW) 13.00, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.67, Tiago Pires
Heat 2: Jay Thompson (AUS) 10.57, Ben Bourgeois (USA) 10.50, Bobby
Martinez (USA) 9.70
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.67, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.54, Travis
Logie (ZAF) 11.44
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.93, Ben Dunn (AUS) 12.06, Jihad Khodr
Heat 5: Bruce Irons (HAW) 12.07, Andy Irons (HAW) 11.80, Daniel Ross
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.00, Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 12.83, Damien
Hobgood (USA) 12.76
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 19.70, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.66, Nic
Muscroft (AUS) 14.77
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.66, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.66, Mark
Occhilupo (AUS) 8.77
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.87, Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.06, Granger
Larsen (HAW) 10.06
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.86, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 15.50, Tom
Whitaker (AUS) 10.10
Heat 11: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 16.00, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.00, Chris
Ward (USA) 9.00
Heat 12: Daniel Wills (AUS) 14.50, Luke Stedman (AUS) 12.53, Mikael
Picon (FRA) 10.67
Heat 13: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 13.44, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.04, Neco
Padaratz (BRA) 10.77
Heat 14: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 16.27, Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.50, Tim
Reyes (USA) 11.36
Heat 15: Dean Morrison (AUS) 14.33, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 12.24, Luke
Munro (AUS) 8.60
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.50, Michael Campbell (AUS) 8.17, Pancho
Sullivan (HAW) NS
Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 2: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Granger Larsen (HAW)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Rudy (jnr) Palmboom (ZAF)
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 6: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 8: Tim Reyes (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) vs. Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 10: Dayyan Neve (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 11: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 12: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 13: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 14: Ben Dunn (AUS) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 15: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 16: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Mikael Picon (FRA)
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay
Stop No. 5 of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour
Supertubes, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
July 10–20, 2008
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