Live Webcast – wwwiripcurl.com
(9:30AM), Monday, August 22: The first ever Rip Curl Super Series began today at the spot of Les Bourdaines in Seignosse, France. Despite tricky, wind-affected 3ft conditions, the day produced some great results in the opening round of surfing’s premier World Qualifying Series (WQS) contest.
The US$150,000 Super Series uses a format unique to the WQS. The draw combines WQS and WCT elements, with the man-on-man final format delivering the ultimate climax to this professional event. Only 144 surfers are chosen to compete, with priority given to surfers from the World Tour’s Top 44 wishing to recover points in the requalification standings.
Eighteen ‘four-man’ heats were held today, meaning 36 surfers have advanced to round 2 and 36 are now eliminated.
The messy conditions were never going to allow for perfect surfing, but several of today’s winners showed just how contestable the southern France beach break can be.
Local French surfer Mikael Picon (Capbreton) won the first heat of the day, posting a strong 16.00-point two-wave combined heat score. Home beach knowledge obviously working to his advantage, the 26-year-old scored an 8.83-point ride on his second wave (the highest scoring wave of the day) which set up the comfortable win.
Brazilian Marco Polo advanced through the heat in second, while Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) and Romain Laulhe (FRA) were eliminated, finishing third and fourth respectively. Picon has advanced to Heat 1 of Round 2 and will face Brazilian WCT surfer Peterson Rosa, Dylan Graves (USA) and 2004 Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Master Jamie O’Brien (HAW).
Puerto Rican surfer Brian Toth backed up a good showing in the 2 star Rip Curl Pro Junior held at Les Bourdaines on the weekend with a confident win in Heat 2 this morning. Despite a relatively low winning score (11.84 points), Toth was in charge of the heat from the starting siren and held off Dylan Graves (USA), Carlos Cabrero (PRC) and Dayyan Neve (AUS) for the win.
Heat 4 of the morning produced the biggest upset of the day, with Hawaiian Joel Centeio (rated 52nd on the WQS before this event) knocked out of the event by Australian Matt Bemrose and South African Antonio Bortoletto. With ratings points so valuable at the part of the year, an early exit in the Super Series is a big set back in one’s season.
New Zealand’s Maz Quinn was sitting one position behind Centeio on the WQS ratings coming into this event (53rd), but after a strong win in Heat 15 today has the opportunity to improve on that with a good result this week in Seignosse. Quinn scored an 8.67-point ride on his way to locking in a two-wave combined heat score of 16.34 points.
Quinn’s position atop the highest heat score ladder was short lived though, Brazilian Leonardo Neves posting 8.33 and 8.00-point rides to become the new leader (16.77). Tahitian surfer Hira Teriinatoofa finished second behind Neves to progress, knocking out Nathan Yeomans (USA) and Australian Jarrad Sullivan.
The Rip Curl Super Series has a seven day waiting period (August 22-28). It is a unique joint creation by Rip Curl and pro surfing’s governing board, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). It holds regard as the ultimate contest in the race for qualification points.
Contest officials will meet with surfers at 9am tomorrow morning (local time, GMT+2) for a probable 9.30am start to competition.
Full coverage and live webcast available at: www.ripcurl.com