Today, the 17th October, is bang on twenty years since Occ won his world title at age 33, then the oldest surfer to claim it.
It happened at the Rio Marathon Surf International, Barra Beach, Rio, the second last event of the '99 season. Occ wasn't in the water when he won - Dirk Ziff would've had conniptions - but the moment passed when Flavio Padaratz knocked out Mick Campbell, the last person able to overtake Occ.
Here's a short article that appeared in 'Fluir' (note the dates are wrong), with the Aussies getting on the turps and also getting robbed that night:
Legendary Brazo journo Julio Adler wrote this about Occ's win (translated from Portuguese):
The forced labor I submit now does not allow me to watch Occy become world champion. That's right: Old Taurus was finally crowned, slow but not failing, great injurer, I could not witness “on the spot” the Australian conquest in my own backyard. I missed the brush the Padaratz family gave to both title contenders, Neco to Lowe and Teco by running over Campbell.
Surfing never owed the Padaratz family so much.
After all they have done and will do, the Padaratz brothers gave our community something we had not known for a long time: justice.
Justice to the most talented surfer of all time, the furthest, the most relaxed, the most smiling, the most annoyed, the most enthusiastic, the most self-destructive, the most good-looking, the most obnoxious, the heaviest and the lightest. Faster and slower; more sentimental, more moody.
Ladies and gentlemen, the most human surfer and therefore the best surfer of all: Mark Occhilupo!
Also, while digging around this morning I came across this news clip, also from Brazil but in 2001 where Occ gets caught up in a drug bust but claims innocence:
"The Australian said he did not know that marijuana was illegal in Brazil and was allowed to compete after the crowd protested when police tried to arrest him."
Simple mistake, ay?
Lastly, volume up:
Pissing myself. That's the way it should work - naivety and street justice. Viva Brazil!
The Occ exists in that rarified atmosphere of genuine surf heroes. MR is another.