Dusty Payne of Lahaina became the first Maui surfer to qualify for the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour when he advanced to the semifinal heat of the $145,000 O'Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach on Oahu on Sunday.
Payne later advanced to the final of the event, the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, and finished fourth behind Australian Joel Parkinson and former world champions Sunny Garcia of Oahu and Mick Fanning of Australia.
Parkinson scored an inside barrel ride with about three minutes left in the 35-minute final to edge Garcia, 13.17 to 12.87. Payne posted a two-wave score of 2.43 while Fanning had a 10.16.
ASP / Kelly Cestari photo
Dusty Payne of Lahaina competes during the final of the O’Neill World Cup, the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, on Sunday at Sunset Beach. By advancing to the semifinals earlier in the day, Payne qualified for the ASP World Championship Tour.
Parkinson won $20,000 while Garcia took home $10,000, Fanning $5,100 and Payne $4,900.
The final was almost anticlimatic after Payne, who finished runner-up to Parkinson in last year's Triple Crown, advanced through his quarterfinal heat Sunday.
Payne was ranked 18th on the World Qualifying Series before the O'Neill, the 41st event of the WQS series and the last chance for Payne to qualify for the 2010 WCT. The top 15 WQS surfers qualify for what surfers call the ''Dream Tour.''
World Qualifying Series Final Standings
Top 15 qualify for WTC
1. Daniel Ross, Australia15,744
2. Patrick Gudauskas, California14,876
3. Jadson Andre, Brazil14,813
4. Adam Melling, Australia14,638
5. Owen Wright, Australia14,338
6. Luke Munro, Australia13,713
7. Jay Thompson, Australia13,638
8. Nathan Yeomans, California13,419
9. Dusty Payne, Maui13,194
10. Brett Simpson, California13,150
11. Matt Wilkinson, Australia12,850
12. Tanner Gudauskas, California12,569
13. Travis Logie, South Africa12,344
14. Marco Polo, Brazil12,331
t15. Blake Thornton, Australia12,325
t15. Joan Duru, France12,325
17. Bernardo Miranda, Brazil12,301
18. Drew Courtney, Australia12,256
19. Rodrigo Dornelles, Brazil12,206
20. Austin Ware, California12,075
''After I got second (in the quarterfinal), the hard part was done,'' Payne said. ''The final didn't go the way I wanted to. It did go flat, only one set came through.''
Before his quarterfinal, Payne said he told himself, '' 'Don't lose. I won't be on tour.' That was the only strategy in my mind.''
In his heat were WQS points leader Daniel Ross of Australia, Jihad Khodr of Brazil and WCT competitor Kekoa Bacalso of Oahu. Bacalso is ranked No. 18 in the world.
''When we were paddling out Kekoa told me, 'I don't care what I have to do, I'm going to get you on this tour no matter what,'' Payne said. ''He let me go on waves. I was stoked to have a Hawaiian in my heat in the biggest heat of my life.''
Ross had a two-wave score of 15.67 to defeat Payne (12.93). Bacalso (8.44) was third with Khodr (4.10) fourth.
Payne's father, Wendell, was watching his son surf the 20-foot wave faces from the beach.
''After the quarterfinal, I told him, 'You just made history that will never be erased. It's all easy now, no pressure.' ''
The ASP roots trace back to 1976, but the two-tiered WCT qualifying system was started in 1992. Multiple surfers from Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island have qualified for the WCT, but never a Maui surfer until Payne.
Payne gave tribute to three Maui surfers who died in the prime of their lives.
''I did it for all the boys on Maui who passed away; Steve Cooney, I always looked up to him a lot, Eric (Diaz), and Justin (Roberson),'' Payne said. ''I wanted to do better, prove that Maui belongs on tour.
''I want to thank my family, my mom (Lisa) and dad for their support all year, my brother (Dylan) who called after every heat, my best friend Granger Larsen, Wesley (Lar-sen), Kai (Barger), Ola (Eleogram), and Hank (Gas-kell), and all the Maui boys. I wouldn't be here today without all the boys pushing me.''
The 2,494 points he earned from the O'Neill pushed Payne up to ninth in the final WQS standings.
Next up for Payne will be the final WCT event of the year, the $350,000 Billabong Pipeline Masters, which is scheduled to start Tuesday. Payne qualified for the Pipeline event in January.