SUNSET BEACH, Hawaii - Florida’s C.J. Hobgood, 29, won the ASP WQS 6-Star O’Neill World Cup of Surfing in clean 20-to-30 foot wave face heights, making Hobgood the first goofy-footer in 11 years to win at Sunset Beach.
Australia’s Michael Romelese was the last goofy-footer to win at Sunset in 1997, he also won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title the same year.
On his backhand, Hobgood, who was the 2001 ASP World Champ, charged his way to victory, gnabbing the biggest wave of the 35-minute final. Hobgood was blown away by his first place finish and the massive waves.
"It’s perfect size and really clean. There was probably one or two sets a heat that were too big," Hobgood said. "Just some macking nuts waves out there.
Hobgood avoided Sunset’s wrath and negotiated the giant walls of water beautifully, scoring an 8.5 and 6.5 rides to win the 6-Star Qualifying Series Event.
Australia’s Tom Whitaker, 29, also surfed well in the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing and finished runner-up. Whitaker was in awe of the quality of surf Sunset Beach produced.
Nicol narrowly missed qualifying for the 2009 World Tour at Sunset Beach today. The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing is the last event of the 2008 Qualifying Series (QS) season. The following QS surfers have all qualified for the 2009 World Tour (WT): Nathaniel Curran (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Gabe Kling (USA), Jihad Khodr (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS), David Weare (ZAF), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Tim Boal (FRA), Greg Emslie (ZAF), Dustin Barca (HAW), Tiago Pires (BRA), Phillip MacDonald (AUS), and Drew Courtney (AUS). Depending on Tiago Pires’ performance at the Billabong Pipeline Masters, Marlon Lipke (DEU) may qualify for the 2009 World Tour.
The third and final jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing - the Billabong Pipeline Masters, begins its holding period on Monday, December 8. The women’s Vans Triple Crown will culminate on Maui with the Billabong Pro, also starting December 8.