Shea Lopez loves his little brother Cory. But sometimes he likes to “turn the screw,” as he puts it.
“Sibling rivalry? Yeah, I suppose it’s there sometimes,” Shea Lopez said. “Of course I want to see my brother do good. But if we had to surf against each other, I would do my best to beat him. But if he beat me, I would be right there cheering him on.”
The two brothers, who live in San Clemente, won their heats Thursday to advance to the third round of the Op Pro in Huntington Beach. Both had close heats: Shea defeated Australia’s Michael Rommelse, 21.65 to 21.25, and Cory beat Armando Daltro of Brazil, 20.60 to 20.35.
They’ve surfed against each other only twice in their professional careers and Shea, 24, likes to point out that he won both times.
Cory, 21, grimaces when the Shea-vs.-Cory record is mentioned. However, he echoed many of his big brother’s sentiments.
“I have a lot of respect for my brother,” Cory said. “But I would love to beat him if we surfed against each other. I would expect him to try to beat me.”
After two years on the World Championship Tour, Cory is ranked eighth. His best finish this season was second place in Japan.
Shea, ranked 11th, has been on the WCT for four years. His best 1998 finish was third in Australia.
Today, in the third round, Cory will face Shane Bevan of Australia, and Shea will be up against another Australian, Beau Emerton.
“We watch each other when we compete and we cheer each other on,” said Cory. “I mean, we are brothers.”
The duel between Orange County surfers Shane Beschen of San Clemente and Jeff Deffenbaugh of Huntington Beach was no contest. Using moves that resembled skateboard maneuvers, Beschen won, 21.10 to 18.15.
The loss was a tough one for Deffenbaugh, a wild-card entry.
“I felt I had an average heat out there,” Deffenbaugh said. “I feel great and I felt I was ready for my heat. But it came down to wave selection and getting into a rhythm. And I never quite could.”
Kelly Slater proved too strong for upstart Asher Nolan as the defending world champion snuffed out any hopes the Florida teenager had to advance.
Nolan, 19, who earned a wild-card berth after advancing from the trials to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open last week, couldn’t maintain momentum. Slater took control of the heat and utilized the priority buoy to keep Nolan off-balance.
“This was the first time I ever competed using a priority buoy,” Nolan said. “I just asked someone what I should do. Kelly was great though. He wished me luck.”
Former world champion Derek Ho, who was supposed to surf last week’s U.S. Open but decided not to compete, had a strong heat to defeat Brazil’s Peterson Rosa.
“I have a lot of friends and relatives here in Huntington Beach, so I love this event. But there was no way I was going to compete in the U.S. Open in the first round. I didn’t expect to be put in the rounds with the top surfers, but the first round? It would have been insane for me to come here and go through that,” Ho said.
Ho will be facing Beschen today. Tom Curren of Laguna Niguel, who won his heat Wednesday, will facetop-ranked surfer Danny Wills of Australia. Pat O’Connell, who also won his heat on Wednesday, will surf against Rob Machado of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
In the second round of women’s surfing, which features first-round losers: Tita Tavares of Brazil more than made up for her scoreless heat Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals. Tavares, who won last week’s U.S. Open in the women’s division, defeated Trudy Todd of Australia.
Lisa Andersen, the defending women’s world champion, said she is done for the season, and will most likely have to requalify for the WCT next year. Andersen, who has a herniated disc in her back, said she will spend the next few months recuperating at home in Florida. “If I can’t give 100%, then I don’t want to compete,” she said. “But it really hurts to sit here and watch everybody else surfing. I just want to surf again.” However, despite the prospects of having to requalify again, Andersen said she has no intention of retiring and vows to return.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
* What: Op Pro
* When: Today-Sunday
* Where: South side of the Huntington Beach Pier, Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street
* Today’s schedule: 7-10:20 a.m.--men’s surfing Round 3, heats 1-8; 10:20 a.m.-noon--women’s surfing quarterfinals, heats 1-4; noon-3:20 p.m.--men’s surfing Round 3, heats 9-16.
* Admission: Free
* Parking: Paid parking in lots by the pier and in the downtown area.
* Information: (888) 672-6737, Ext. 224
* Web site: https://www.surflink.com
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