HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, February 1, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America and ASP Hawaii have officially decided to combine their ratings in the Pro Junior and Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) divisions for the 2009 season.
The ASP regional Pro Junior Series act as qualifier for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships the following year, with each region sending its top seeds to Narrabeen, Australia in an attempt to earn the title of ASP World Junior Champion. The ASP LQS allows aspiring professional longboarders the chance to qualify for the ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT), which crowns a World Longboard Champion each year.
The ASP North America Pro Junior Series currently has eight events scheduled in the men’s division and one for women for the 2009 season which allows all regional competitors the chance to qualify for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships the following year by finishing within the top five on the ratings in the men’s division and top two for the women. ASP Hawaii tentatively has two events for men and one for women, so the merge allows Hawaiian surfers the chance to compete in more events throughout their season, broadening their campaign towards a berth at the coveted event in Australia, while allowing mainland American surfers the chance to add points to their ratings by competing in Hawaii.
“There have always been a long list of Hawaiians that have wanted to compete in Pro Junior and Longboard events in North America, but we have only had a few spots available in the past,” ASP North America Executive Manager Meg Bernardo said. “Merging the ratings into one system allows an unlimited number of Hawaiian surfers to compete in more events based on their overall rating.”
In previous years, North American and Hawaiian surfers have been allowed to compete in each other’s respective regions, but the significant ratings points needed by surfers to qualify for the ASP World Junior Championships and ASP World Longboard Tour are not awarded when a surfer competes out of their region. The merge between Hawaii and North America increases each surfer’s ability to garner those points while competing in either region’s events.
“Most of the top Hawaiian juniors have been travelling to the mainland to compete in the ASP North America series junior events as they have only two in Hawaii,” ASP WQS manager Al Hunt said. “Unfortunately this did not help them in qualification for the World Juniors, just experience. Opening it up to a combined rating gives the Hawaiians a real series of events to contest for qualification, experience and also opens up the Hawaii junior events to the mainland guys who I'm sure would love to compete in Hawaii.”
Both Hawaii and North America will still separately send their top five surfers to represent their region at the ASP World Junior Championships, the ratings merge solely allows more opportunity for mainland and Hawaiian surfers to broaden their competitive prospects to earn ratings points for each of their regions.
“ASP Hawaii is pleased to be joining ranks with ASP North America,” ASP Hawaii Regional Office Manager Faith Wenzl said. “Our regional competitors, including Junior and Longboard members, will surely benefit from an increased pool of events and sponsors. Hawaii and Mainland surfers have long enjoyed a friendly rivalry and this latest effort will drive performance higher again.”
The first event on the 2009 ASP North America Pro Junior campaign will be the ASP Grade-2 Ezekiel Pro Junior pres. by Jack’s Surfboards at Huntington Beach Pier from March 25-29, 2009, while the ASP LQS will host its season opener with the PLA 1-Star from March 13-15, 2009 at ninth Street in Huntington Beach.
To check out the full 2009 ASP Pro Junior and ASP Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) schedule log on to www.aspworldtour.com
For additional regional information log on to www.aspnorthamerica.org