Dantas Leads At ASP PRIME Hang Loose Pro

Defending ASP PRIME Hang Loose Pro Champion C.J. Hobgood advancing through his Round 1 Heat. Photo courtesy ASP/Morigo

Defending ASP PRIME Hang Loose Pro Champion C.J. Hobgood advancing through his Round 1 Heat. Photo courtesy ASP/Morigo

CACIMBA DO PADRE, Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco / Brazil (Wednesday, February, 16, 2011) – Brazilian Wiggoly Dantas grabbed barrel after barrel in the second heat of the day at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME Hang Loose Pro Contest at Fernando De Noronha Island to become the day's highest scorer.

Dantas now holds the highest heat-score of the event with a combined total of 16.73. In the same heat, Brazilian Tomas Hermes from Santa Catarina was holding firmly onto second place until Gony Zubizareta from Spain caught a solid last minute wave, eliminating Hermes from the event to advance into Round Two.

"It feels good to start the event with some strong scores", said Dantas. "The waves are good today and I'm glad to be back again this year. I've trained a lot for this event. I went to Hawaii for three months, I've got good boards under my feet and I'm feeling at home".

Dantas is hoping to qualify for the second half of the 2011 Elite ASP World Tour at the mid-year mark.

The waves in general were better shaped today although smaller than yesterday. Tubes here at Cacimba Beach are generally more valued by the event judges, but some surfers managed winning heats today strictly with performance surfing, like Brazilians Gabriel Medina and Ricardo dos Santos with their impressive aerials.

In the Heat 12 of the Round of 96, C. J. Hobgood surfed against Hodei Collazo and Brazilians Messias Felix and Fabio Gouveia. The barrels didn't cooperate for this heat and C.J. took it with maneuvers. Gouveia surfed well, but in the end was overtaken by Collazo.

"I was really looking forward to the heat, but I got frustrated when it wasn't going well. I missed some waves that could have been good and I was worried that I wouldn't find the right ones. In the end I went for some of the smaller waves and that saved me," commented C.J.

"At the moment where I live in Florida it's pretty cold, so it's nice to come down here to this paradise with warm water and good waves. It's also great to be able to surf against Fabio Gouveia. I've been a fan of his since I was 16. He's incredibly talented", said C.J.

Damien Hobgood also began his event with a victory during the very next heat against previous Noronha finalist Brazilian Leandro Bastos, Alan Jhones, also from Brazil and Maxime Huscenot from France. Bastos finished second in the heat.

In the next heat, aerial master Gabriel Medina won by punting big and being rewarded with an 8.07. Also advancing into the next round was former World Tour veteran Neco Padaratz who used good wave selection to help eliminate wildcard and Noronha local, Caia de Souza.

The conditions varied a lot during the course of the day gradually becoming less hollow. But the tubes returned for Heat 17 featuring Jeronimo Vargas from Rio de Janeiro who scores were second only to those of Wiggoly Dantas, his best wave being an 8.93. Also advancing to Round Two from the Heat 17 was 2011 Elite Tour member and fellow Brazilian, Heitor Alves.

The ASP PRIME Hang Loose Pro holds a waiting period from February 15 through 20, 2011 and is webcast LIVE via hangloose.com.br/procontest2011/.