27 June, 2013 27 June, 2013

Parko Wins Oakley Pro Bali, Fanning Takes Ratings Lead


If you polled thousands of surf fans ahead of the Oakley Pro Bali, two names that may not have been rated highly as potential winners were finalists Joel Parkinson and Michel Bourez. That’s because the event was hyped-up to be the hi-performance holy grail that the tour was frothing for after the barrels of Cloudbreak. And although both proved their worth by making the final, they’ll be the first to admit to not owning the bag of tricks boasted by favourites like John John Florence, Jordy Smith, Josh Kerr, Taj Burrow and of course Kelly Slater. They’d perhaps have received even less votes following the high-flying early round action, when John John blasted the biggest air ever seen in competition.

Yet, as the rounds rolled by Michel and Parko started to gather momentum, with Parko peaking in his Round 5 match-up with early event favourite John John Florence – when the reigning champ grabbed a perfect 20 heat score and never looked back.

Parko in deep and racking up the scores.

Parko in deep and racking up the scores.

Joel’s opponents in his quarter final and semi final match-ups crumbled under pressure as the reigning world champ eased his way into the final to face ‘the Spartan’. Josh Kerr managed only one wave in the semi’s for a total heat score of 5.33, while Taj Burrow sat too deep and couldn’t find his way out of a barrel that could have made his quarter final against Joel a contest. Taj finished with a heat score of 3.13pts.

On the other end of the draw Michel took out new World Tour ratings leader Mick Fanning with some deep tubes and his patented power hacks, then snagged a buzzer beater to trump rookie Nat Young – who’s moved himself into 6th spot on the World Tour rankings, putting himself in a position to not only challenge for a world title in his debut season, but easily ahead in the race for the ‘Rookie of the Year’ crown.

Nat Young's backhand has been serving him well on the 2013 Dream Tour.

Nat Young’s backhand has been serving him well on the 2013 Dream Tour.

The final ended up being a bit of an anti-climax as the waves deteriorated to an inconsistent, mushy bowl, and it was Michel who grabbed the early initiative by scoring a pair of pocket sixes. Michel would hang on to the lead till the dying moments when Joel stroked into a medium-sized runner that allowed just enough room to get the score needed to take the win, after slowly chipping away at Michel’s early lead.

Parko’s win – his first final since the opening event at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – moves Joel back into title contention in third spot, just as the tour gets ready to head over to Teahupo’o for the always-anticipated Billabong Pro Tahiti. Despite an early round loss Jordy still clings on to a Top 5 spot on the rankings, while Mick Fanning grabbed the ratings lead from Kelly Slater.

The current ASP World Tour Top 5 are as follows:

1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 31,400 points
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 30,950
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 26,700
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 25,200
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 24,900

For Heats on Demand, all the results and highlights from the final day, check out www.oakleyprobali.com

Official press release below.


Joel Parkinson Wins the Oakley Pro Bali, Fanning New ASP WCT No. 1

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, your 2013 Oakley Pro Bali Champion.

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, your 2013 Oakley Pro Bali Champion.

KERAMAS, Bali/Indonesia (Thursday, June 27, 2013) – Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, has won the inaugural Oakley Pro Bali over Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, via an impressive come-from-behind effort in four-to-six foot (2 metre) waves at the iconic Balinese righthander of Keramas.

Stop No. 5 of 10 on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Oakley Pro Bali hosted a historic high-performance showdown including perfect heats and next level progression from the world’s best surfers, culminating with Parkinson’s hard-fought victory over Bourez in the Final.

Parkinson was quick to adapt to the changing conditions on the final day of action, besting fellow countrymen Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, and Josh Kerr (AUS), 29, en route to the Final. The natural-footer got off to a slow start on his road to victory, but an impressive series of fully-committed forehand combinations on a steep righthand wall would see the reigning ASP World Champion surpass the Tahitian in the final minutes for the win.

“That was amazing,” Parkinson said. “That was the coolest experience coming up the sand. It wasn’t the greatest of the finals and I knew it wasn’t over. I figured if I got the best wave towards the end figured I’d have a chance. Michel (Bourez) ripped and was probably the most in form surfer of the event. I dropped off my four fin back to my three fin and just didn’t get a good pump in that one good barrel and was hoping it didn’t lose me the final. From then on I knew I had to go to do turns.”

The Oakley Pro Bali marks Parkinson’s first ASP WCT victory of the season, vaulting the stylish Australian to No. 3 on the rankings and within striking distance of the 2013 ASP World Title.

“This gives me heaps of motivation moving forward,”Parkinson said. “I’ve had two bad results and I knew I could change it around, but I’m glad I did it now rather than later. This win is so special because the event had such a good vibe around the event and such good energy about it. This was huge. The event lived up to they hype because guys were going absolutely crazy. It was one of the best events I’ve been involved in.”

Michel Bourez attacked the flawless righthanders of Keramas with incredible power, besting two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 32, and dangerous rookie Nat Young (USA), 22, on his way to the Final. Bourez would hold the lead throughout the majority of the Final, but was unable to block Parkinson’s late-heat charge, taking both a runner-up finish and the best ASP WCT result of his career.

“It’s really good just to make the final and it was my first final ever,” Bourez said. “This event has been great for everyone with barrels everyday. The culture and people of Bali are amazing and I’m just happy to put Tahiti on the podium. I feel confident going in to Tahiti and want to go there relaxed and do my thing.”

Nat Young (USA), 22, ASP WCT Rookie, continued to impress in Bali, threading excellent barrels and igniting deadly backhand turns at Keramas en route to a Semifinals finish. The Santa Cruz native was on the way to his second Final appearance of the season, but was stopped short by a rampaging Michel Bourez, finishing equal 3rd overall.

“I felt like I surfed alright,” Young said. “I broke my really good board the heat before that and had to switch over to a different one. I got a couple of good waves and watched Michel take off on that wave with 20 seconds left. There was nothing I could do. It would have been nice to make the final, but I’m stoked to get 3rd and I’m stoked for Michel.”

Josh Kerr (AUS), 29, was deadly at the Oakley Pro Bali, reveling in the technical barrels and Balinese walls of Keramas. Kerr looked fit for a final following an incredible Quarterfinals victory over former ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, but was unable to find a rhythm in his Semifinals match up against Parkinson, finishing equal 3rd. The result marks Kerr’s best result of the season.

“It would have been nice to go one better and make the Final, but a third place is a good result,” Kerr said. “This is my best result of the season and hopefully I can carry this momentum on to Tahiti and go one better there.”

With an equal 5th place finish at the Oakley Pro Bali, two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 32, has overtaken then rankings leader Kelly Slater (USA), 41, for the frontrunner position for the 2013 ASP World Title. While Fanning has been incredibly consistent throughout the season, he hopes to ramp up his performances through the back half of the year in an attempt to take a third crown.

“I’m happy with the result,” Fanning said. “It felt like I didn’t get waves, but things fired pretty well for me overall. I had an opportunity with Michel and was just a little too deep, but I’ve got to be happy with myself for holding strong when times were slow and it was a great event. It’s just fired me up more for the next events. It would have been good to get some more points, but it’s still a result. I’ve got five out of five now and just go for it towards back half of the year. I’ve got two throwaways, but I don’t have a big lead because the other guys got wins and now it’s about putting it together.”

Highlights from the Oakley Pro Bali are available via www.oakleyprobali.com

The next stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour will be the Billabong Pro Teahupoo from August 15 – 26, 2013.

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com

1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.86
2 – Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.67

SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 5.33
SF 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.50 def. Nat Young (USA) 14.97

QF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.17 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 3.13
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.44 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.83
QF 3: Nat Young (USA) 17.03 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.57
QF 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.27 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.50

ASP WCT TOP 5 (After Oakley Pro Bali):
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 31,400 points
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 30,950
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 26,700
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 25,200
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 24,900

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