CJ Hobgood Snatches the 2008 Billabong Pro Mundaka Title
Australian Joel Parkinson Forced into Second
MUNDAKA, Basque Country/Spain (Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008): Former ASP World Surfing Champion C.J. HOBGOOD (USA) defeated JOEL PARKINSON (Gold Coast, AUS) in three-foot (one metre) barrelling waves at the Billabong Pro Mundaka to claim his first ASP World Tour victory in four years today.
It was a classic déjà vu, affair of the last final the paired shared in 2004 in Japan where Hobgood garnered a last minute win over Parkinson in the dying seconds of the heat.
Despite opening the final with a near-perfect 9.93 tube ride, Hobgood, 29, was trailing Parkinson by 5.90 points with 15 seconds to go in the 35-minute match-up.
Parkinson, 27, looked set to claim his first victory in over two years but a tactical error saw him take the first wave of the last approaching set of the final only to find it lacked scoring potential, the error handed a small barrel to Hobgood for an 8.57 and the prestigious Billabong Pro Mundaka Title.
Hobgood moves to ASP World No. 6 with the result today. Parkinson moves to ASP World No. 3. The final was Hobgood's second this season – he lost to Slater in Fiji – and Parkinson's first.
Despite having an amazingly consistent year, Parkinson was unable to claim the victory that has eluded him for over two years.
Like many of the top-seeded surfers, Parkinson entered the event disenchanted with the season given nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater's supremacy. Parkinson's interest piqued as he found himself at the pointy end of the Billabong Pro Mundaka draw.
Despite the loss, Parkinson was gracious in defeat – giving credit to Hobgood for his impressive surfing throughout the event.
Parkinson defeated Adrian Buchan (AUS) in the semifinals in a fashion similar to his elimination by Hobgood in the final. Twenty-six year old BUCHAN (Avoca, AUS) had PARKINSON on the back foot for the first half of the match-up. The stylish natural footer then charged back into contention with two high scoring rides to lock in his first final berth for 2008. Buchan won the last ASP World Tour event in France, and with his 3rd place result today, jumps to World No. 7. He was rated 14th before the European tour leg.
Sydney's LUKE STEDMAN failed to find his earlier event form in the second semi final left requiring a two wave scoring combination to HOBGOOD on the siren. Previous to his semifinal finish, Stedman hadn't advanced beyond Round 4 in a 2008 ASP World Tour event. His 3rd place finish equals his career best result .
Stedman rounds out the Top 10 with a World No. 10 rating post the Billabong Pro Mundaka. He will look to maintain the momentum heading to Brazil and France – the last two events of the season.
Mundaka, one of the world's best left hand breaks, redeemed itself over the 2008 Billabong Pro Mundaka turning on epic conditions for three days of competition The at-times fickle river-mouth churned out enough four to five foot waves to host the ASP men's world tour event.
In what turned out to be a major week for surfing, American sensation KELLY SLATER (Florida, USA) won a record ninth ASP World Title after securing a round four berth at the Billabong Pro Mundaka – the ninth event of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour.
Despite entering his 14th year on tour already the owner of most every accolade in professional surfing, 2008 has been a banner year for Slater. Five wins in the first eight events of the year.
For more details visit www.aspworldtour.com and www.billabongpro.com.
Billabong Pro Mundaka Final Results:
Final: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 18.50 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.83
Billabong Pro Mundaka Semifinal Heat Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.80 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.50
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.66 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 6.70
Billabong Pro Mundaka Quarterfinal Heat Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.34 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 6.17
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.83 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 7.40
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.34 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 8.10
Heat 4: Luke Stedman (AUS) 13.16 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.24
ASP World Tour Top 10 after Stop No. 9 of 11 – the Billabong Pro Mundaka
Kelly Slater (USA) 8042 points
Taj Burrow (AUS) 6324 points
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 6180 points
Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5990 points
Adriano de Souza (BRA) 5748 points
C.J. Hobgood (USA) 5760 points
Adrian Buchan (AUS) 5730 points
Mick Fanning (AUS) 5310 points
Bobby Martinez (USA) 5282 points
Luke Stedman (AUS) 4696 points