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05.04.04 - SURFING ROYALTY RETURNS TO BELLS - Tom Curren returns to the fold.
- After marrying his sweetheart Mae, Occy heads back to work.

- A knee injury has Shane Beschen on the sidelines until Tahiti.
- Chasing swell wherever it be.
- Pushy lineups become mechanised mania as big swell continues on the Gold Coast.


06.04.04 - TWO HAPPY BRASILEIROS - Neco and Raoni arrive in bells on a high.
Ex sarge, Rip Curl Pro Bells, Tuesday April 6th, 2004.

THOUGH there some disappointed faces around amongst the crew at Bells when the new dawn revealed the swell had dropped markedly overnight to just a couple of feet, there were two smiles that were resolutely unfading this morning. Still beaming from their 1-2 conquest in the Salomon Masters 6* WQS event in Margaret River on Sunday, Brasileiros Neco Padaratz and Raoni Monteiro arrived in the Bells carpark direct from Melbourne airport in a rented wagon as full of good cheer as it was with luggage and board bags. Posing with their trophies, the small and sluggish line-up down behind them, the pair weren’t in the least perplexed that the first day of the waiting period for the Rip Curl Pro would pass as a lay day.
Neco Padaratz & Raoni Monteiro“Neco got all the waves in the final – the nines, the eights, the sevens…all of them!” grinned WCT rookie Raoni. “The waves over there were just unbelievable,” bubbled Neco over the top, “every day was just big perfect and peeling both ways. Heats weren’t over until the hooter sounded because the waves just kept coming. There were eight and nine point rides everywhere. I needed a 6.5 at the end of round of 32 heat, and got a 9.5 in the last seconds. The waves just kept on coming!”
“It was filth,” testified ASP Head Judge Perry Hatchett, who arrived from Perth with his panel in Bells last night. “We often see two or three days of swell during the ‘Masters event, but six days straight was just unbelievable. Every time we’d think it was dropping because there’d only been six or eight foot sets for a while, a ten-foot set would charge through and clean everyone up”, he chuckled.
It was Neco who did all the cleaning up in the final, by which time the swell had dropped substantially, and the wind was up. It was mainly a rights affair, and Neco had a pair of scores in the nine point range before ten minutes of the final had passed, after putting the last two moves of each ride up over almost bare reef in typical do-or-die fashion. He left fellow finalists Raoni, Greg Emslie and Jake Paterson totally in his wake. Needing only a small score, Raoni bounded from fourth to second in the last 30 seconds, but it was all about Neco, his three rivals comboed by ridiculous margins. With characteristic passion, Neco’s acceptance speech thanked everyone from the crowd to the contest staff, upholding them all as being part of the heart and spirit of surfing. As reigning ASP WQS champion for 2003, Neco continues on this season as a declared WQS warrior. He will travel much of this year’s tour with young Raoni, whose heralded inclusion in the WCT ranks will only bolster and intensify the patriotic fever and Latin passion of the Brasileiro WCT crew. They are all hunting a year of achievement.