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CJ Hobgood leads yanks at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach



Taylor Knox : photo  © ASP/ CI/ Cestari via Getty Images

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CJ Hobgood leads yanks at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 April, 2009 : - - Huntington Beach -- The second of 10 stops on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour wrapped up in dramatic fashion at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and saw Floridian talent C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 29, continue to lead the charge on the American front, matching his fifth place result from the Quiksilver Pro.

The explosive tour twin utilized his impeccable backhand approach to crush his way to the Quarterfinals, defeating California Tour veteran Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, who finished ninth, and Australian Mick Campbell (Port Macquarie, AUS), 34.

“It’s a good day to be a surfer, the waves are fun, it has been pumping the last few days,” Hobgood said. “I could be here all day saying all these good things about Taylor (Knox), I really admire his surfing. I knew I just had to catch the better waves than him."

The East Coaster drew eventual event winner and current ASP World Tour ratings leader Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, AUS), 27, which was a Quarterfinals rematch from the Quiksilver Pro, and was eliminated from competition. The back-to-back fifth place results donated by Hobgood find him in fifth on the ASP Dream Tour ratings.

'You have to look at it as a whole, my Quarterfinal here will probably be against Joel as well,” Hobgood said. “There is an opportunity to jump ahead and we will see how it goes, it is a long year."

Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, put his familiarity of right-hand point-breaks to good use when he worked his way through to a ninth place finish by defeating French rookie Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 25, in Round 2. The Santa Barbara native eventually fell to 2007 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (Tweed Heads, AUS), 27, in Round 3.

“It’s actually really fun, you want to go out there and surf,” Martinez said. “It is standing up a bit so that you get a good opportunity to hit it on your backhand."  With several days off in between competition Martinez capitalized on his downtime in Torquay to check out the unique Australian scenery.

“I’ve been loving it,” Martinez said. “We went to the Twelve Apostles and checked that out. There have been a lot of lay days but it has gone by pretty quick.”   The upset of the event was issued when defending event champion and reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 37, was defeated by young Australian wildcard Owen Wright (Culburra, AUS), 19. Slater earned a 17th place finish at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

“It was reminiscent of a heat I had out here against Sunny Garcia in 2000,” Slater said. “I needed to come out of a second barrel to get through the heat and fell. Sunny went on to win the event and the World Title. Which is pretty dooming I suppose. I didn’t see too much of Owen (Wright) surfing in the heat, but he did one big turn in front of me and I’ll have to watch the video later.”

Other American ASP World Tour campaigners Tim Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, Orange County native Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA), 30, and Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL), 29, also finished equal 17th overall.

The next stop on the ASP Dream Tour will be the Billabong Pro Teahupoo from May 9-20, 2009. 

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