Europeans suffer big losses in Massive Sunset Beach

It was a tough day for all O'Neill World Cup of Surfing competitors at Sunset Beach today and Round 4 of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime event was completed in 15 to 20 foot (5 to 7 meter) waves.

Miky Picon.  Copyright: ASP Cestari / Covered ImagesEric Rebiere (FRA), 29, a former ASP World Tour member, was the only one of seven European surfers to tame the massive sets coming in at the world famous location of Sunset Beach to advance through to Round 5 of the final event of the year. Rebiere, who eliminated fellow Frenchman and current ASP World Tour No. 10 Jeremy Flores (FRA) as well as Irish charger Glenn Hall (IRE), found two solid waves to secure his Round 5 ticket ahead of Phillip MacDonald (AUS).

"It is big out there and I usually like it when it is like that," Rebiere said. "I hurt my back four days ago and I haven't been able to surf apart from my heats so I am pretty stoked to make it through."

While current ASP World Tour Europeans Flores, Miky Picon (FRA) and Tiago Pires (PRT) all bowed out today, pressure was upon German surfer Marlon Lipke (DEU) who had to get through his heat to keep any 2009 Dream Tour hope alive. Unfortunately, the German ripper was not able to find a good enough back-up ride and was eliminated by Hawaiian Hank Gaskell (HAW) and former ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood (USA) in Round 4.

Lipke, who drops back to No. 16 after today, now depends on a few other surfers' results to still have a chance to make it to the 2009 ASP Top 45 and several scenarios can happen.

If Patrick Gudauskas (USA) gets an equal 13th at Sunset Beach, Lipke will move back one spot in the ratings. If Yadin Nicol (AUS) places 4th or better or Dion Atkinson (AUS) finishes runner-up, the German surfer will move back as well. However, if Lipke remains No. 16 after Sunset Beach, a big result from fellow European Tiago Pires at the Billabong Pipeline Masters could give the Portuguese surfer a double qualification ticket leaving one more spot for the WQS campaigners sitting on the bubble.

The surf is supposed to remain as big in the next couple of days and Eric Rebiere will be at ease in the solid waves. He will surf in Heat 7 of Round 5 against Hawaiian chargers Ian Walsh (HAW) and Kamalei Alexander (HAW) and Kirk Flintoff (AUS).

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Marlon Lipke.  Copyright: Aquashot / ASPEurope.com
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Stephanie Gilmore.  Copyright: ASP Kirstin / Covered Images
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