Billabong Pico Alto

Hawaii's Makua Rothman Triumphs in Peru

DATE: Thursday, July 3, 2014
Conditions: 20 ft. swell. 25-40ft faces
Heat totals are out of a possible 30 points.

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Round 1:


Heat 1: Miguel Tudela (PER) 21.99, Makua Rothman (HAW) 17.54, Greg Long (USA) 16.51, Ken Collins (USA) 13.66, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.16, Alejo Loret de Mola (PER) 0.00

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The swell at Pico Alto had reached 20 feet, with huge waves rolling in to kick off the competition. Local up-and-comer Miguel Tudela, 19, got an early jump on his more seasoned opponents, taking off on a monster face in the opening minutes and managing some solid backhand turns on his second wave for a 7.83.

With 15 minutes remaining, all six surfers had gotten on the board with Makua Rothman taking over second place with two mid-range scores for a 17.54. With under two minutes remaining Tudela took off again, improving to a total heat score of 21.99, and surpassing his competitors.

In the top three slots, Tudela, Rothman and former BWWT champion Greg Long advance to the Semifinals.

"It was really bumpy and there were three more waves you needed to go down to make it happen," Tudela said. "It's the first time I'm surfing like this and it's weird but I have a little more of an advantage than anyone."

Heat 2: Rafael Velarde (PER) 21.73, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 18.51, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.49, Sebastian de Romana (PER) 11.66, Ramon Navarro (CHL) 8.34, Will Skudin (USA) 6.34

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Following an exciting opener, Heat 2 saw a wave-starved affair, with reigning BWWT Champ Grant 'Twiggy' Baker logging the only ride, a 3.83, throughout the majority of the heat.

With no opportunity throughout the heat, event organizers extended the bout, resulting in an immediate exchange from each charger at the 45-minute mark. Jamie Sterling got the best of the sets, posting a 7.17 for a critical drop on a massive set.

Baker backed up his small opener with a 5.00 to maintain the lead, but, with just a few minutes remaining, Peruvian local Rafael Velarde took off on a bomb, earning an 8.33 to surpass Baker for the lead. Sterling also backed up the ride on the exchange, bumping the South African to third.

"It feels good to make it through that first heat. I'm super nervous, defending a world title sounds ridiculous just hearing myself hear it," Baker said. "There are some big waves out there so I got my head set. There's no time to think about so it's just about catching a couple waves and trying to make them."

Heat 3: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 20.67, Nic Lamb (USA) 14.33, Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00, Tyler Fox (USA) 9.16, Ryan Augenstein (USA) 0.00, Tamil Martino (PER) 0.00

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The beach crowd continued to roar as yet another Peruvian wasted no time setting the bar for Heat 3. Gabriel Villaran managed bottom-to-top maneuvers on back-to-back waves to build his two-wave total to a 20.67. Villaran shared his second wave with Nic Lamb, who took on the bumpy face with precision to tack on a midrange 6.00 to his two-wave total, which put him in second place at the midway point.

With slim opportunities to score in the final 20 minutes, Villaran, Lamb, and Ben Wilkinson advance to the Semifinals. Wilkinson caught a single wave but with that score doubled he survives the cutoff.

Heat 4: Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.56, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 17.46, Shawn Dollar (USA) 16.87, Grant Washburn (USA) 16.16, Kodiak Semsch (EUK) 12.33, Adur Letamendia (EUK) 11.34

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American Anthony Tashnick got off to a quick start in the final heat of Round 1, locking in a 5.00 while his fellow competitors waited for waves.

A flurry of bombs lit up Pico Alto shortly after, with each big wave warrior locking in their respective rides. Defending event champion Carlos Burle came out on top, snatching a 7.33 for a critical drop while a quick backup ride saw the Brazilian leapfrog the American for the lead.

Dominance continued between both Burle and Tashnick throughout the heat, with both advancing alongside Shawn Dollar to the Semifinals.

Semifinals:


Heat 1: Makua Rothman (HAW) 18.99, Greg Long (USA) 13.00, Grant Baker (ZAF) 12.84, Miguel Tudela (PER) 9.13, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 6.73, Rafael Velarde (PER), 5.86

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Grant Baker and Makua Rothman took turns dropping in big at the start of the heat, but Greg Long quickly got into the act as a set came through. He secured a 13.00, moving him ahead of Baker for the second place spot behind Rothman, whose big maneuvers on a bumpy ride earned him a two-wave total of 18.99 at the halfway point.

Miguel Tudela stumbled, but found his footing enough to tally 9.13 for two waves by midway. Still, it wasn't enough to pull him out of fourth place, a surprising spot after his stellar start to the day.

The latter half of Heat 1, saw the sea slow down, leaving Rothman, Long, and Baker leading the pack to the very end and heading for the Final.

Heat 2: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 23.76, Shawn Dollar (USA) 21.87, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 21.44, Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.57, Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 19.21, Nic Lamb (USA) 17.03

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Sets rolled in with massive output for the second Semifinals heat. By the midway point, each surfer had found a wide-open face to work with, riding a total of nine waves between them. Defending event champion Carlos Burle won the opening exchange. Only riding one wave, his 7.00, if doubled, would score him the highest heat total. Nic Lamb and Shawn Dollar followed suit, remaining above the cutoff by jumping on two waves apiece.

After a brief lull in the action, Dollar was up and riding again, earning a 7.40 for his third wave, which allowed him to overtake the lead.

After a long wait, Gabriel Villaran--the sole Peruvian left in the event--found a giant wave, managing a huge carve on the lip, a moment of cover, and a pair of cutbacks for the highest score of the day: An excellent 9.63. The ride took him from fifth to first place. Anthony Tashnick posted an excellent 8.97 for a late, second effort, advancing him into the Final with Dollar and Villaran.

Final:


Makua Rothman (HAW) 27.33, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 22.00, Shawn Dollar (USA) 20.26, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 16.80, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.00, Greg Long (USA) 7.00

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The Final got off to a quiet start, with almost nine minutes going by without a wave. But once Pico Alto started pumping, it was Makua Rothman who dominated, leading the pack with a pair of performances that totaled 19.17. Nearly halfway through, he pulled out style, too, impressing with seemingly casual laybacks on a big-wave board. Anthony Tashnick and Shawn Dollar sat in second and third, respectively, after keeping busy in the opening exchanges.

With just over 20 minutes left in the hour-long Final, Dollar had moved to the lead--but not for long. Rothman, who became a father for the first time just three days prior, dropped into a wave that walled up and looked nearly unrideable. But he tipped over the edge and held on across the steep face, earning a crowd-pleasing 9.40. Looking utterly comfortable in the heavy surf, the score helped Rothman again surge ahead to sit at the top with a total of 25.47.

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker, the defending ASP BWWT Champion, didn't catch a wave until the final 10 minutes, when he made what was arguably the biggest wave of the day. But the bomb closed in and chased him into the wash for a hold-down.

Rothman's performance was unparalleled. The 2014 Billabong Pico Alto is his first ASP BWWT title ever and he triumphed with style.