PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii - Maui's Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, has just requalified for the 2011 ASP World Tour in a memorable comeback over two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, in their Round 3 bout.
Payne’s chances at a position on the 2011 ASP Dream Tour appeared to be dwindling quickly, as the young Hawaiian was in need of a combination of two scores to the tune of 17.94 out of 20 to overtake Fanning. Payne clawed his way back in to the heat, netting an amazing 9-point ride with approximately 10 minutes remaining. The talented natural-footer was still in need of another 9-point ride, and managed to lock in to a bombing backdoor barrel with only seconds remaining in the heat to net the day’s highest single-wave score of a 9.87 to overtake Fanning and simultaneously requalify for next year’s ASP World Tour.
“Mick (Fanning) is not a guy you want to draw anywhere in the world,” Payne said. “I knew whoever I had was going to be tough and that I just had to make it through the heat. I was out there thinking ‘this is how you’re going to lose, you’re going to get comboed at your own spot?’ Then I got that 9. Then with 20 seconds left there was another one. I got so weak because I knew I had to catch that wave and make it. I was filled with emotions and thought I was off tour, then I saw that last one and knew it was a 9.”
The progressive natural-footer was also quick to acknowledge the challenges he faced as an ASP World Tour rookie this year and is elated to return to the elite ranks for 2011.
“I didn’t make very many heats this year,” Payne said. “I was struggling all along. I just needed to find my rhythm and hopefully this is it. I can just take from what I do here and move on. It’s a grueling year, you miss your friends and family, but I can’t wait to do it again next year.”
Watch Payne’s campaign at the Billabong Pipe Masters!