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SURFING : Falconer Holds Off Fellow Australian for Title


It was the final from Down Under with Australians Neridah Falconer and Layne Beachley facing off for the women's championship at the U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach.

In blown-out, choppy conditions, Falconer started Saturday's final with three big waves to gain the lead. That forced Beachley to paddle madly to catch any wave that might narrow the gap.

Though Beachley caught some waves, it was apparent she would not be able to match the results of Falconer, who scored 8.0, 7.50, 7.0 and 6.93.

Beachley reached the final by upsetting world champion Lisa Andersen in the semifinals. In that heat, Andersen could not get into a rhythm and was unable to score higher than 6.50.

Falconer was awarded a victory over Tricia Gill, who tied Falconer in a quarterfinal heat.

Gill, from Carlsbad, was prematurely called the winner by the announcers after the heat, which ended with both surfers scoring 22.23. But after the scores were recounted, Falconer was declared the winner.

In the fourth round of men's surfing, second-ranked Sunny Garcia was upset by fellow Hawaiian Kaipo Jaquias.

Joel Tudor of San Diego continued his dominance on the longboard, winning in the finals with a score of 32.84, 10 points ahead of Ted Robinson of Manhattan Beach.

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