Solid Scores in Tough Conditions at Yakult HB Pro and Gidget PLA Pro

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) Yakult HB Pro and Gidget PLA Pro competitors battled south wind and uncharacteristic rain on the opening day of the men’s ASP 1-Star and women’s ASP 2-Star event today.

The event was held at South Huntington Beach Pier, and despite the tough conditions, managed to post impressive scores.

All ASP LQS competitors are eligible for a berth on to the prestigious ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT) by finishing within the top two on the regional series. Once qualified, each surfer competes at the highest level of competitive longboard talent in an attempt to claim the title of ASP World Longboard Champion.

Phil Rajzman (Rio de Janeiro, BRA), 26, blasted impressive scores despite the tough conditions at Huntington Beach Pier brought on by the early south wind. The 2007 ASP World Longboard Champion easily achieved the day’s highest single wave score of a near-perfect 9.50 out of 10 en route to posting the day’s highest heat total of 18.17 out of 20 while advancing into the Round of 32.

"The conditions are really hard, but I’ve been training here the last three days and my boards are working really well,” Rajzman said. "I generally like more powerful waves, but I was able to find a couple of good ones in that heat.”

With the first of two ASP World Longboard Tour stops just a month away in Japan, the Brazilian talent is out to sharpen his competitive skills here in Huntington Beach before the premier international event takes place.

“It’s good to surf in a contest before I head to Japan,” Rajzman said. "I'm hoping to get there a few days before the event to warm up and am really looking forward to it."

Cori Schumacher (Cardiff, CA), 32, who is also a former ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion and the defending ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion, dominated her opening heat today by taking advantage of the improved afternoon conditions on offer in the women’s heats. Schumacher dropped a solid 9.17 out of 10 single wave score to help her cause.

"I surfed this morning and it was horrible, so I was expecting it to be bumpy and inconsistent, but it cleaned up during our heat," Schumacher said. "These really solid peaks kept coming in and I was just trying to get out there as fast as I could because it was a dream. It’s more fun than it looks out there."

Schumacher is currently on top of the women’s ASP LQS ratings and is out to take advantage of the improved schedule on offer for the 2009 season.

Bianca Valenti (Dana Point, CA), 23, issued the upset of the day when she ousted 2007 ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion Jen Smith (San Diego, CA), 23, on the way to her Semifinals berth.

"It was hard to find waves that linked up out there, but luckily that last left I got went all the way in," Valenti said. “There’s a big gap between the inside and the outside, but it cleaned up a bit, so I’m happy.”

Valenti won the ASP LQS event at Ninth Street in Huntington and is out to post another impressive result at the Pier.

“I was happy to have won the event here in Huntington and hopefully I can just keep the momentum going,” Valenti said.

Kolohe Andino’s combined heat totals of 16.50 and 15.40, both out of 20, saw him advance into the Round of 32 where he will face the event’s top seeds.  Copyright: Brent Hilleman
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