Storm and big scores on day 3 of Rip Curl Pro Zarautz
The level rose with many of the best surfers getting their start in the event and several high scores and progressive maneuvers were posted by top seeds all day, all countries having a representative making his way through to Round 3.
Tim Boal (FRA), 25, surfed in the second heat of the day and lost no time to keep his good roll going securing a promissing 14.27 point tally (out of a possible 20) to advance through to Round 3. Boal, who came up with a combination of classic vertical re-entries and "new-school" reverse airs, seemed confident and ready to keep his 2009 ASP World Tour hopes alive.
"It was not an easy heat because it is always a bit stressing to surf early in the morning," Boal said. "I had a warm-up surf before so felt good and I chose the righthanders which gave me some better scoring potential."
Boal, who came to Zarautz rated No. 5 on the international ratings and No. 2 on the ASP WQS European Series, has had several excellent results since his runner-up finish at the US Open of Surfing including a 5th in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Rip Curl Pro Hossegor and is chasing another big result to virtually qualify for next year’s Dream Tour.
"I’ve had some good results but it is still a long way to the end of the year," Boal said. "I have to better a 1100 point result to get above the 11000 point range that should be solid enough for a possible ASP World Tour qualification. I have been travelling for eight weeks so I am pretty tired but another good one could help for sure."
The European contingent saw other Top 10 campaigner Marlon Lipke (DEU), last year's runner-up in Zarautz and current European ratings’ leader, find his way out of the tricky wind blown conditions while Michel Bourez (PYF) was securing a convincing victory for his start in the event.
The Brazilian green and yellow flag flew high again on Day 3 with both Leonardo Neves and 18-year-old rising star Wiggoly Dantas confirming their intentions to get some points in Zarautz. Dantas, who opened his 2008 European campaign with his maiden ASP WQS 5-Star win in the Rip Curl Pro Boardmasters, has become one of surfing’s feared giant killers.
"I had some good results this summer and I am enjoying myself competing around Europe," Dantas said. "I felt good during the heat and I just let go to post some big moves and it went the right way for me. Just having fun."
Dantas will meet top seeds Lipke, Blake Thornton (USA) and Nathan Hedge (AUS) in Heat 6 of Round 3 and the 19.13 points he posted today are a serious confidence boost.
Nathan Hedge (AUS), a former ASP Top 45 surfer on a requalification campaign, avoided an early exit placing second to local surprise Norman Landa (EUK), both men advancing. Landa, who has been surfing on the ASP European tour since he was a junior, was in excellent form and posted a 15.94 point result to advance.
"I am pretty stoked to win ahead of Nathan (Hedge)," Landa said. "It is great to surf well at home and I was relaxed so I surfed well. I chose the righthand peak and went for the medium size ones but they were offering longer rides."
The testing weather conditions forced organisers to put the event on hold after Heat 17 and all competitors will meet at 9 AM tomorrow Friday for Day 4 of competition. The Rip Curl Pro Zarautz runs until Sunday, September 14 and local hero and defending champion Aritz Aranburu (EUK) will surf in the seventh heat tomorrow.
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.
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