RIP CURL PRO / HOSSEGOR, FRANCE
Rip Curl Super Series WQS (August 22-28)
Best Conditions Of The European Summer For Day 3 Of Rip Curl Super Series
7pm Wednesday, August 24: Day 3 of the first ever Rip Curl Super Series was held today in the best conditions of this year’s European summer. Clean 5-6ft waves and offshore winds held up for the majority of the day at the spot of Les Bourdaines, Seignosse, allowing contest officials to run through 20 round two heats.
The contest began at 9.30am this morning, with 96 competitors still remaining in the US$150,000 event. After over eight hours of competition, the Super Series has all but decided the final 48 surfers that will contest round three tomorrow. Four round two heats still remain and will be held first thing tomorrow morning.
Heat 1 of round two was one of the most anticipated heats of the event, with local favourite Miky Picon (FRA) coming up against current WCT #21 Peterson Rosa (BRZ), USA surfer Dylan Graves and 2004 Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Master Jamie O’Brien.
Despite a relatively close result point-wise, the battle never really lived up to the hype most thought it would. With the support of huge home crowd, Picon went on to post a confident 12.50-point two-wave combined heat score, finishing first ahead of Rosa, Graves and O’Brien. The 26-year-old has advanced to Round 3 and will face Marco Polo (BRZ), Greg Emslie (ZAF) and Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW).
“It’s hard to sleep at night. People think it’s easier when you’re competing at home, but there’s a lot of pressures,” said Picon. “I am happy to win and happy the waves will be good for the competition.
Heat 2 this morning was a good one for Brazilian Marco Polo and South African Royden Bryson, who finished first and second respectively to advance through to Round 3. Polo is currently placed 97th on the World Qualifying Series ratings and would relish a strong result here in Seignosse.
“I was so excited this morning, said Polo, who recorded 15.67 points (out of a possible 20). “I woke up, grabbed my board and ran to the beach so I could get my shirt (event rashvest). I was speaking to my friend who is here with me and it is like a dream. To be here on the beach and surfing this event is like a dream.
The third heat this morning was one of the closest of the day, with Australian Drew Courtney and South African Greg Emslie lodging 13.34 and 13.33 points respectively to finish first and second and advance to round three. Courtney’s 13.34 was made up by a classy 9.17-point ride and a 4.17.
“I only got that one good wave, so I was lucky, said Courtney, currently rated 47th on the WQS. “I had a game plan out there and that was to stick on the inside, so although I didn’t get a high second wave I am glad it worked. I’m 47th on the rankings, so more than 1,000 points from this event would be awesome.
USA surfer Bobby Martinez is another surfer that has his eyes fixed on the large ratings points the Super Series offers for a good result. Martinez is ranked 10th on the WQS and hopeful of qualifying for the World Championship Tour (WCT).
“I am so happy about that win, said the American. “I have been thinking about this event all year, because it’s so important to my season. Now that I’m here though, I’m trying not to think about it too much so I don’t get nervous.
Martinez is now guaranteed at least 935 qualifying points, which should see him stay in the WQS top 10.
Australian surfer Adrian Buchan is the third highest ranked WQS surfer in the Super Series and faced up against WCT surfer Toby Martin (AUS), Travis Lynch (AUS) and Hawaiian Nathan Carroll in Heat 5 of the day. It looked like a regulation heat for Buchan, who posted 7.67 and 7.53-point rides to finish in first on 15.20 points.
“There were some bombs out there, said Buchan. “It’s great to have good waves here in Europe for the comp and it’s a good too win in these conditions. It’s really important for me here.
Martin, rated 41st on the WCT, finished in second to advance with Buchan, but didn’t find it as easy getting the waves and scores he wanted.
“I’ll take it, laughed Martin, with a score of 10.46 points. “That was terrible — I just didn’t get any waves. It was lucky.
Arguably the biggest upset of the day was the elimination of WCT rookie Tim Reyes (USA) in Heat 6. Reyes, currently 33rd on the WCT and seventh on the WQS, has had a tough year posting results on the World Tour. Although he still has five WCT events left, the 23-year-old is hoping to confirm his place for 2006 by placing high on the WQS. Tahitian surfer Alain Riou was the standout in Heat 6, posting a combined score of 15.17 points to finish first ahead of Russell Winter (GBR), Dunga Neto (BRA) and Reyes.
“It’s so good out there right now, said Riou. “I got that 8.50 on my first wave and that set me up for the rest of the heat. I still had to get a good second wave, but it gave me a chance to wait for the right one.
One competitor who looked back on his surf today and wished he’d had the opportunity to pick and choose waves was Australian Adam Robertson. The Portland surfer only caught three waves in his heat, but scored a final minute 9.50 ride to sneak into second place and advance through the round.
“That was so lucky, said a relieved Robertson. “I was so frustrated out there, just hoping a wave would come. I was lucky to get that third one and it was enough to get through. The swell is going to keep growing, so I am stoked I’ll be surfing tomorrow.
Brazilian surfer Guilherme Herdy is currently sitting in last place on the WCT after missing three events already this year. He will concentrate on the remaining WQS events this year, obviously needing to improve his 64th placing to qualify this way. His season received a boost today when he won Heat 9 and advanced to Round 3 with fellow countryman James Santos – his 16.16-point two-wave combined score one of the highest in the event so far.
Raoni Monteiro, Marcelo Trekinho, Odirlei Coutinho, Marcondes Rocha and current WQS ratings leader Adriano de Souza added to the strong day from Brazil representatives (a total of 11 Brazilian surfers have advanced to round three). Monteiro, Trekinho and Rocha all place first in their heats, while 18-year-old de Souza did enough to hold off former Under 18 World Champion Ben Dunn (AUS) for second place.
Only three USA competitors remain in the Super Series – Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) and mainland surfer Shaun Ward (USA). Sullivan looked the most dominant of the trio, posting 15.13 points to win his heat over Aritz Aranburu (EUK), WCT surfer Troy Brooks (AUS) and Leonardo Neves (BRZ) this afternoon.
Contest officials will meet onsite at Les Bourdaines at 9am tomorrow morning for a probable competition restart in bigger waves at 9.30am
For the Round 3 heat draw and photos, please see www.ripcurl.com