Brett Simpson shines in the Reef Hawaiian Pro

November 15, 2008 | Surfing

Brett Simpson

Huntington Beach surfer Brett Simpson, 23, notched up another memorable day at Haleiwa today, posting the highest wave score of the Reef Hawaiian Pro to date, a 9.93 out of a possible 10, during Round 3.

Simpson won his four-man heat ahead of three of the North Shore’s best surfers, including current ASP World No. 11 Fred Patacchia. The Reef Hawaiian Pro is the first jewel of the prestigious $815,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Haleiwa was reeling off righthand perfection today, prompting Simpson to compare it to Lower Trestles, only more powerful. He has tasted success here before, reaching the Final of this event back in 2006 the same year he received the NoseGuard Vans Triple Crown Rookie of the Year Award.

"This is one of my better events and the waves are super good and fit my surfing," said Simpson.

"It’s pretty high performance. It’s just like surfing Lowers just a little bit more powerful. When you get a score like that, even if you get a 5-something you’re still in the 14 total and that means guys need two 7’s, which is totally possible when the waves are this amazing. There are really good waves out there and it’s just a matter of getting them. Hopefully I’ll keep starting off with a little bang. I got one of the better ones and you can’t really ask for more."

San Clemente’s Mike Losness also advanced through Round 3 today.

The star of yesterday’s opening day of competition, Mark Occhilupo (Australia), was eliminated in Round 3 today by fellow Australian Daniel Ross (Angourie), and long-time tour rival Sunny Garcia (Hawaii).

Ross, 25, was on fire in the peeling rights and Garcia was laying down his trademark Haleiwa power gouge, but Occhilupo was unable to achieve the same degree of verticality and power on his backhand in the head-high surf.

The final scoreline showed Ross’ two-wave total at 15.67 out of 20 Garcia with 14.9 Brazil’s William Cardoso with 8.56 and Occhilupo with just one wave: a 4.17 point ride.

"It’s nice surfing against both those guys," said Ross. "Sunny and Occ are such good surfers over here. To get a heat win felt really good. I’ve got so much respect for those guys. They’re such good surfers over here and I’ve followed them for years. And, a lot of surfers that are in this contest competing have seen them in videos or watched them live.

That’s why surfing is where it is today because of Sunny and Occ. It’s a trip to be competing against them. I’ve been coming here for 15 years now and I always like surfing in the big and powerful stuff. A combination of that, training and good boards, I’ve been working on that for years in Hawaii. I just want to keep progressing.

I bombed out early in this contest last year. It was pretty disappointing and I needed a good result in the end at Sunset. Hopefully, I can get a good [result] here and back it up again with Sunset would be even better."

Hawaii’s Hank Gaskell cranked out the highest heat score of the event, an 18.80 points against Hugo Savalli (Reunion), Corey Ziems (Australia), and Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA) in his round two clash this-morning. Hank’s third round heat will take to the water on the next day of men’s competition.

Other strong heat wins were posted today by Jarrad Howse (Australia), Joel Centeio (Hawaii), and Jay Thompson (Australia).

Competition concluded just prior to the end of the third round today. Organizers expect to resume at 8am tomorrow morning with the first rounds of the women’s Reef Hawaiian Pro.

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