Hobgood steals the show at Massive Sunset Beach
C.J. Hobgood claimed his first major event victory in Hawaii in the classic Sunset Beach surf, making him the first goofy-footer to win the prestigious event in 11 years.
The ASP WQS acts as a gateway for the series’ top 15 competitors to qualify for the esteemed ASP World Tour. This year’s World Cup offered a chance to qualifiers on the cusp of qualification for the 2009 ASP Dream Tour to make a final push towards qualification.
Hobgood, the only goofy-footer to make the Final, stole the show in a hard-fought battle for the prestigious Sunset Beach title against current ASP World Tour No. 16 Tom Whitaker (Sydney, AUS), 29, local sunset surfer Marcus Hickman (Sunset Beach, HAW), 29, and South African prodigy Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), 20. Hogbood posted a heat total of 15.00 out of a possible 20 point score in the impressive twenty-to-thirty foot (7-10 metre) Sunset Surf to take home the win.
"It’s perfect size and really clean,” CJ Hobgood said. “There were probably one or two sets a heat that were too big. There were just some macking nuts waves out there. That just shows you what Sunset can do. You just roll the dice, go out and sometimes Mother Nature is good to you and other times it just beats you down. There are four guys out there, but you never really see your competitors the whole time. It’s man versus nature out there and that’s what makes Sunset so challenging and appealing."
Hobgood expressed the significance of claiming the O’Neill World Cup victory, as the win came as a shock to the veteran competitor. Hobgood is now ranked second on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, placing him in excellent contention to claim the highly sought after title with a strong finish at the last event of the series, the Billabong Pipeline Masters.
"My usual experience out at Sunset is just getting worked pretty much,” Hobgood said. “This ranks up there with my World Tour wins and everything else because I never totally pictured myself winning this contest so it ranks that much higher.”
Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 22, was one ASP WQS campaigner on the bubble of qualifying for next year’s ASP World Tour. Gudauskas put on an amazing performance throughout the event, boasting one of the event’s top scores, but unfortunately the explosive Californian fell just shy of the result needed to find himself on next year’s ASP Dream Tour.
Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 24, who won this year’s ASP WQS, and Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 28, who finished fourth overall, are the two North American surfers who have qualified for the 2009 ASP Dream Tour via the ASP WQS.
Water, waves and wind: Check out our surfing videos. We have collected tons of free surf videos and clips for you!
The Billabong Pro Maui begins its waiting period and the event will serve as last opportunity for surfers trying to requalify for the 2009 Dream Tour as well as the deciding bout in the hunt for the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title.
Three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW) has won the Pipeline Masters four out of the last six years and will be chasing event title No. 5 when the Pipeline Masters Dec. 8 till 20, 2008 waiting period opens tomorrow.