Dion Atkinson advancing to the next round. Photo courtesy Aquashot/ASPEurope.com
SEIGNOSSE, France (Wednesday, August 20, 2008) – It was a short day of competition on Day 3 of the waiting period of the Rip Curl Pro pres. by Sprite as four heats only were done this morning getting the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime event to its second round.
Dion Atkinson (AUS), 22, runner up in the ASP WQS 6-Star event in Lacanau and WQS No. 18 before coming to Hoseegor, was in top form in Heat 24 of Round 1 finding his way out of the tricky testing six to eight foot (2 to 2.5 meter) waves on offer to advance through to Round 2.
Atkinson, who posted an impressive 17.33 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) dominated his battle and will meet some serious opponents when Round 2 resumes including ASP World Tour surfer Neco Padaratz (BRA), Australia's wonderkid and Rip Curl wild card Owen Wright and Jean Da Silva (BRA).
“It was pretty fun down there,” Atkinson said. “I am in a very good shape since the Lacanau Pro last week. I just tried to surf my best in these messy conditions today and it worked out well. I had a few good waves so I am stoked I got through.”
Atkinson, who secured his best result to date in Lacanau, nows stands as a favorite among the world's best qualifiers.
“I am not thinking of any ratings,” Atkinson said. “I am still young and it is still a long way to the end of the year so I am not worrying about the qualification yet. I just want to have fun and keep surfing good.”
Also advancing today was French talented rising competitor Vincent Duvignac (FRA) who managed to get away with a win ahead Shaun Ward (USA) and secure his ticket for another heat against top seeds Drew Courtney (AUS), Rhys Bombaci (AUS) and Marco Polo (BRA).
“It was pretty testing out there and I am stoked I found that big score,” Duvignac said. “I feel at home here so it is good to get a heat out of the way and get another chance in the event.”
Mike Losness (USA), who surfed first heat this morning coming straight from his excellent equal 3rd place in Lacanau last sunday, was able to get the pressure off him and secured another win. Losness, who sits No. 43 on the international ratings at the moment, was an outsider in Lacanau but has become the “Giant Killer” and will face a serious resistance when he comes up against current Top 5 WQS member Patrick Gudauskas (USA) and former ASP World Tour surfer Yuri Sodre (BRA).
The messy waves and strong currents forced organisers to put the event on hold after assessing conditions and all Round 2 surfers will meet at 7.15 AM tomorrow to get the Rip Curl Pro pres. by Sprite under pressure with the hottest action in the some of the world's best beachbreaks.
UPCOMING ROUND 2 HEATS
Heat 1: Mick Campbell (AUS), Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Jarrad Sullivan (AUS), Bernardo Lopes (BRA)
Heat 2: Leigh Sedley (AUS), Shaun Gossmann (AUS), William Cardoso (BRA), Brent Dorrington (AUS)
Heat 3: Hizunome Bettero (BRA), Tiago Pires (BRA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 4: Pablo Paulino (BRA), Kirk Flintoff (AUS), Ryan Campbell (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 5: Nathaniel Curran (USA), Romain Cloitre (REU), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), Mason Ho (HAW)
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA), Dustin Barca (HAW), Russell Winter (GBR), Alain Riou (PYF)
Heat 7: Tim Boal (FRA), Jihad Khodr (BRA), Luke Campbell (AUS), Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY)
Heat 8: Pedro Henrique (BRA), Warwick Wright (ZAF), Brad Ettinger (USA), Glenn Hall (IRE)
Heat 9: Yadin Nicol (AUS), Odirlei Coutinho (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Romain Laulhe (FRA)
Heat 10: Nathan Yeomans (USA), Simao Romao (BRA), Paul Fisher (AUS), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 11: Adam Robertson (AUS), Shaun Cansdell (AUS), Corey Ziems (AUS), Ebdel El Harim (MAR)
Heat 12: Leonardo Neves (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Guilherme Herdy (BRA), Dustin Cuizon (HAW)
Heat 13: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), Mikael Picon (FRA), Jean Sebastien Estienne (BLM), Blake Wilson (AUS)
Heat 14: Nic Muscroft (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Joel Centeio (HAW), Brian Toth (PRI)
Heat 15: Sunny Garcia (HAW), Nathan Hedge (AUS), Eric Rebiere (FRA), Anthony Petruso (USA)
Heat 16: Greg Emslie (ZAF), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Phillip MacDonald (AUS), Hugo Savalli (REU)
Heat 17: Chris Davidson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS), Charlie Brown (BRA), Luke Cheadle (AUS)
Heat 18: Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
Heat 19: Josh Kerr (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), Flynn Novak (HAW)
Heat 20: David Weare (ZAF), Heitor Alves (BRA), Ruben Gonzalez (PRT), Che Stang (USA)
Heat 21: Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Yuri Sodre (BRA), Mike Losness (USA), Shaun Ward (USA)
Heat 22: Drew Courtney (AUS), Rhys Bombaci (AUS), Marco Polo (BRA), Vincent Duvignac (FRA)
Heat 23: Austin Ware (USA), Gabe Kling (USA), Blake Thornton (AUS), Gavin Roberts (ZAF)
Heat 24: Neco Padaratz (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS), Jean Da Silva (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)