June 13, 2008: – – What a day for the Hawaiian surfers at the SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives. Starting the day with six surfers still in contention, they ended the day with five of them through to the quarter finals. The only one eliminated was Sunny Garcia in the opening heat against fellow Hawaiian Makua Rothman.
Rothman and Garcia surfed a classic heat with the lead switching multiple times throughout. Garcia trailed coming into the final minute, requiring an 8.33, caught a strong medium sized wave but fell just short of the required scoreline and Rothman took the win.
“It was such a pleasure to surf against Sunny who I have so much respect for and to win the heat was great for me today. The Hawaiian’s are doing good here because the waves are so good, we know how to surf good waves, powerful full bottom to top turns, this is an event that delivers waves so we expect to do well, we’re here as a team and hopefully we can win.”
With Hawaiian surfers filling the first two quarter finals tomorrow, the one certainty at this event is that an Hawaiian will be in the final. Rothman’s win was followed by a series of outstanding winning performances from Hawaiian’s Kekoa Bacalso, Joel Centeio, Dustin Cuizon, and Dustin Barca, and they’ll all go into the final day full of confidence and spirit.
Nathan Yeoman’s (USA) continued his giant killing run here taking out Pablo Paulino (BRA) and again put on a super stylish and powerful display. Already this is Yoeman’s best ever performance at ASP level and focused on his quarter finals ahead, Yoemans said “I feel like I’m the underdog and there’s no pressure really on me. The waves are so perfect that I just go out every heat thankful that I can surf in such fantastic conditions and I’ll continue to do that. It’s worked to now!”
Portugal’s Tiago Pires was again very impressive opening his heat with an excellent 8.5 ride, shortly after backed it up with an 8.17 to comprehensively shut down Australia’s Adam Robertson. While the Hawaiian’s dominated the day, the Australian’s, who had been so strong through the early rounds suffered in a big way. Five surfers came into the final 16 and all were bundled out in one of the most surprising results in ASP WQS surfing for a long time.
Drew Courtney, the final Australian knocked out today spoke of the surprising result saying ” We’ve been nailed today for sure, in such excellent waves that really do suit us I though for sure most of us would have won through to the quarter finals today but it wasn’t to be.
I wouldn’t read too much in to it, I think we we just a little unlucky today and we’ll bounce back and there’ll be more of us in the quarters in South Africa at the next event than anyone else – just watch!”
Leonardo Neves finished off the day with another huge win, posting the events second 10 point perfect score to advance over Australian Drew Courtney. With the waves relentlessly perfect at the Pasta Point line up, organizers optimized conditions for the surfers in this all important event, extending heats to 30 minutes and stopping heats through the occasional wind squall which ensured a quality eight man on man round of sixteen.
Of course the surf is expected to remain amazing and tomorrow’s finals day is not to be missed. The event is headed for a monumental showdown.
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