HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, August 3, 2008) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) continued its quest for next year's ASP World Tour qualifiers with the completion of the ASP 6-Star Billabong Pro Tahara held in Aichi, Japan. Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA) was the top North American performer in the event with an equal 5th place finish, increasing his ASP WQS ratings lead over the field. Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL) earned a solid result as well, significantly improving his rating on the WQS.
The grind continues to see exciting ratings changes, while standout North American surfers continue to maintain some of the top seeds on their campaigns towards qualification for the 2009 ASP Dream Tour.
Curran claimed the ASP WQS ratings lead over fellow North American competitor Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA) with a win at the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing and continued his string of impressive results in Japan. The natural-footer began his charge for the ratings lead with back-to-back results beginning in Brazil and has continued to put in solid performances including a Semifinals berth in the Billabong Eco Surf Festival in Bahia, Brazil, an equal 16th place at the Local Motion Guaruja Pro and a 16th place finish at the Mr. Price Pro held in Durban, South Africa before his U.S. Open victory.
"You see a lot of guys who have been doing the tour for a long time like my brother (Tim Curran) get on a roll," Curran said. "It seems like that's what it takes to make the World Tour. It's tough because there are so many good guys. I'm just trying to focus on each heat and take it one contest at a time."
Kling, who competed on the ASP World Tour in 2007, is working towards qualification for next year's 2009 ASP World Tour after a difficult start to the first half of the 2008 ASP WQS season due to illness and injury.
"I got sick in Margaret River and I thought it was the flu but I just didn't get better," Kling said. "After my heat I went to the hospital and I had viral pneumonia. I had to stay in the hospital in Margaret's for a week then it took me a month and a half to get healthy again. I missed the 2 prime events, South Africa and Scotland. I came back for the Maldives event but lost, hurt my knee and ended up missing two more events."
Kling has proven that he is back in competitive shape with an equal 3rd place finish at the U.S. Open and an equal 9th place at the Billabong Pro Tahara moving him to No. 25 on the ASP WQS ratings. Kling's last two results have moved him up 50 places over two events.
"It definitely felt like my year was getting away from me but now I’m healthy again and have a few results and lots of comps left so I feel good about my chances and I’m just really excited to be back in the water," Kling said.
The Floridian will look to better his chances for qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour with the upcoming Rip Curl Board Masters held at Fistral Beach in Newquay, England from August 5- 10, 2008.
Although Curran and Kling earned the top honors for North American surfers in Japan, Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA)continues to hold down the No. 2 position on the ASP WQS, while Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) is sitting at No. 9, Huntington Beach standout Brett Simpson is rated No. 10 and capping off the California contingent of ASP WQS performers is Austin Ware (Solana Beach, CA) in 13th place.
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