Flores and Picon convinced in hawaiian showdown
Europeans of the ASP World Qualifying Series are currently competing on the other side of the planet in the warm waters of the Hawaiian archipelago and the second to last event of the year promises to be crucial for many of our top soldiers.
Jeremy Flores (Capbreton/New Caledonia, FRA), 20, last year's ASP Rookie of the Year and current ratings' No. 10, hit once again with his unquestionable talent in the Hang Loose Pro to secure his best result to date with a runner-up finish in Brazil’s consistent beachbreaks.
Flores, who suffered an ankle injury for a couple of months in the second half of the year, got back to his excellent level to fly the French and European flags and easily secure his spot for next year's Dream Tour. The Reunion Island born surfer will soon paddle out at Haleiwa in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Reef Hawaiian Pro for an intense encounter with potential ASP World tour qualifiers Dustin Barca (HAW) and Adam Melling (AUS). Flores, who reached the semifinals of the event in 2007, will have nothing to lose when his heat hits the water and will be looking to repeat his 2007 performance at least.
Miky Picon (Capbreton, FRA), 29, who is not attending the Reef Hawaiian Pro, is the other French and European man of the moment after his equal 3rd in Brazil at the beginning of the month, the best result of his career that has virtually requalified him for next year's Dream Tour.
If the ASP World Tour brought great success upon Europeans, 22-year-old longboarding French phenomenon Antoine Delpero (Anglet, FRA) became the best French and European longboarder ever while leaders Flores and Picon were celebrating their respective results in Brazil. Delpero finished No. 2 in the world after a second consecutive runner-up finish at the ASP World Longboard Tour Pro, final stop of the 2008 race that saw veteran and former ASP World longboard Champion Bonga Perkins (HAW) claim his title back. Delpero, who defeated Perkins in the Quarterfinals of the first event in France last May, missed his maiden world title by 12 points only on the overall ratings but still brings home the best performance in European longboarding history, promissing for next year's championship.
Apart from the elite tours, ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) male and female European surfers are already facing different fates and some of them still in contention for a possible 2009 ASP World Tour inception will soon be fixed on their destiny.
With recently crowned ASP European champion and current ratings' No. 5 Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA) already guranteed to join fellow Europeans Flores, Picon and ASP World Tour rookie Pires who will requalify via his WQS No. 6 position whatever happens in the last Dream Tour event, two other men could increase the number of surfers from the Old Continent among next year’s surfing elite.
Marlon Lipke (Lagos, DEU), 23, currently No. 9 on the international ratings, will surf in both upcoming events at Haleiwa and Sunset but already has a good chance of climbing in next year's ASP World Tour and become the first German ever to compete among surfing's greatest nations in 2009. Lipke, who has had a fantastic year with several excellent results including an equal 3rd at the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Rip Curl Pro Hossegor, is not seriously threatened at this stage and should soon be confirmed for next year's ASP Top 45 contingent.
Regarding female surfing, both French favorites Pauline Ado (Hendaye, FRA) and Lee-Ann Curren (Anglet, FRA) lost in the Reef Hawaiian Pro last weekend and no European representative will surf on next year's ASP Women’s World Tour. Ado, 18, a former ISA World Junior Champion and mutliple ASP European Junior champion, managed to secure big results in 2008 including a runner-up finish at Durban in South Africa, and finishes her season ranked No. 18 despite attending six events only in 2008. Curren, 19, who was on her first year as a full-time WQS touring competitor, ends up her maiden year with a promissing rating, No. 20 so far, and should be one to count with in 2009. The last European woman who surfed among the ASP Top 17 is Caroline Sarran (Anglet, FRA) in 2007.
ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) Europeans' Rating:
No. 5, Tim Boal (FRA)
No. 6, Tiago Pires (PRT)
No. 9, Marlon Lipke (DE)
No. 17, Michel Bourez (PYF)
No. 41, Joan Duru (FRA)
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