June 9, 2008: – – Pasta Point on the beautiful Chaaya Island in the Maldives greeted 200 of the world’s top ASP World Qualifying Series surfers with waves that built throughout to an excellent 1.5m by the end of day one of the SriLankan Airlines Pro.
What started as wind affected and quite small conditions transformed to the typical quality and rippable perfect left point, peeling waves as an expected new swell filled in and the surfers delivered excellent performances with high 8 and 9 point rides common.
Former world top ten surfer Phil MacDonald (AUS) was the standout performer of the morning with an ominous performance, which included the day’s top scoring single ride of 9.33 to easily win his heat.
MacDonald was a surprise non-qualifier for the 2009 ASP World Tour following six years of high performances that had him firmly inside the world’s top ten on the ratings. The powerful natural footer put on a performance today that was stamped with determination to get his world career back on track and after his heat MacDonald commented on his present position saying –
“I’ve had time to really get back to enjoying my surfing this year and I think a break from the ASP World Tour could be just what I needed to get my focus back. That heat was fun, the waves here suit powerful backhand surfing and in the past I’ve done well here so hopefully I can do well again and get the right waves. The 9.33 I scored in that heat I feel I can really surf way stronger than that and build significantly, especially with what appears like some seriously good swell for the rest of the week.’
Other strong opening day winning performances came from Fredrico Pilurzu (Costa Rico), Joan Duru (France), Jay Quinn (NZ), Jack Perry (AUS) and Marlon Lipke (Germany).
Brazilian surfers have always stood out at this event and the large contingent here, which includes defending event champion Heitor Alves cheered on two barnstorming winning performances from compatriots Jadson Andre and Robson Santos. Andre, a former World under 18 surfing champion posted the days highest scoring heat with 17.66 in his demolition victory over Australian’s Dion Atkinson (2nd) and Luke Cheadle eliminated in 3rd.
With the events top seeds set to enter the water tomorrow and most of them fine tuning their performances today and acclimatizing to the 30 degree waters in the excellent nearby surf breaks at Sultan’s and Honkies this afternoon, tomorrows action is not to be missed, particularly with perfect swells predicted to remain with the event throughout the week!
Just a few of the top seeded surfers off enjoying excellent nearby waves today included Hawaiian 2000 world champion Sunny Garcia along with Shaun Cansdell (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF) and Patrick Gudauskas (USA). Sixteen round one heats were completed today and tomorrow will see the remaining 8 round one heats completed before going straight into round two.
Pasta Point is located on beautiful Chaaya Island, Dhonveli in the exotic Maldives. The 6 Star Prime Rated SriLankan Airlines Pro is a key event in the ASP World Tour offering bonus in ratings points as one of the limited Prime Rated events conducted around the globe, the SriLankan Airlines Pro is a focus point on the tour for the elite of the ASP WQS tour members.
The SriLankan Airlines Pro prides itself on being an ASP 6 star Prime Rated event, regarded by many as the World’s Premier ASP World Qualifying Series Events held in possibly the hottest waters on the ASP Tour. The Maldives presents SriLankan Airlines Pro is proudly sponsored by SriLankan Airlines, Maldives Tourism & Promotions Board, Dhiraagu, Chaaya Island, Bank of Maldives, Inner Maldives Holidays Atoll Travel and Atoll Adventures.
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The SriLankan Airlines Pro is widely regarded as one of the premier events on the prestigious ASP International World Qualifying Series. Held in the Maldives each year since 2001 during early June the event has always delivered high quality surf and the event is famous for being held in the warmest surfing waters of any event world wide, at an amazing approximate of 30 degrees.
The number one seed this year is Michael Campbell (AUS), a former world number 2 rated surfer and the field includes the likes of 2000 ASP World Champion Sunny Garcia (HAW), Travis Logie (ZAF), Masotoshi Ohno (JPN), Aritz Aranburu (SPAIN), Jay Quinn (NZ), Brett Simpson (USA) to name just a few of the outstanding surfers here this year. The defending champion is Heitor Alves (BRA) who is scheduled to surf in heat 16 round 5, which is expected to surf on Wednesday with the finals expected to run through Saturday and Sunday.