Rip Curl Pro Zarautz kicks off in excellent conditions
The ASP World Qualifying Series 5-Star event, got underway in excellent waves today in the Basque Country with some clean two to three foot (0.5 to 1 meter) waves giving Round 1 competitors a great start to the last of six major ASP WQS events in a row.
It was a 24-heat marathon day for the kick-off after a day-off due to flat conditions and all competitors were hungry for some high performance battles. Pedro Henrique (BRA) was first to set the pace destroying the long righthanders to finish with an 18.27 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) ahead of Joao Guedes (PRT).
Fellow Brazilian Leonardo Neves (BRA), current No. 28 on the ASP World Tour, surfed in Heat 7 today and lost no time to get the dust off his board after spending days trying to arrange his visa issues to attend the Dream Tour event in California. Neves came up with an 18.10 point heat result (out of a possible 20) to secure his spot in Round 2. He was still disappointed not to be in California with the ASP Top 45 but will try and secure a big result.
Usual European top campaigners were in good form as well and Tahitian Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) led the crew with power surfing and vertical moves, posting an excellent 17.60 tally (out of a possible 20) to secure a ticket for the best seeded surfers' round. Teriinatoofa, who pulled out of the tour a couple of years, has made his intentions clear and will be back full time on the ASP World Qualifying Series next year.
Medi Veminardi (REU), a wildcard in the event, and Pablo Gutierrez (ESP), respectively ASP European Junior No. 2 and former ASP European No. 2, pleased their sponsor getting through their respective Round 1 battles with some promissing performances.
Gutierrez, a former full time touring ASP WQS campaigner who won Stop No. 4 of the ASP WQS European Series in July in Portugal, ended up winning with a 14.60 point total and will surf against Adam Melling (AUS) in Heat 21 tomorrow. Gutierrez, a renowned Spanish surfer, looked confident and solid on his feet during the 25-minute decider.
Former ASP Top 45 member Russell Winter (GBR), ASP World Junior No. 2 Tonino Benson (HAW), locals Txaber Trojaola (EUK) and Asier Munian (EUK) were among those advancing today and will have chance against current ASP WQS leaders when Round 2 commences tomorrow Thursday at 8 AM.
Rebecca Woods (AUS), 23, won the ASP WQS 4-Star event in Rio yesterday and will look to continue the momentum today. Event No. 4 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, is set to play a pivotal part in the race for the Women’s 2008 World Title as well as the requalification campaigns for the 2009 Dream Tour.
The world’s best surfers took to the skies at the Boost Mobile Pro today. World No. 2 Joel Parkinson (AUS) and ASP World Tour rookies Dane Reynolds (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) are one step closer to vying for a Boost Mobile Pro title courtesy of the airs they boosted today.
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