Buondi Billabong Pro Portugal
ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event
ASP WQS European Series Stop No. 8 of 13
Ericeira – Portugal
August 26-31, 2008
Tim Boal (FRA) will be one of six Europeans competing in Round 5 when competition recommences tomorrow at Ericeira. Photo courtesy Aquashot/ASP Europe
ERICEIRA, Portugal (Friday, August 29, 2008) – From the fourty-eight men who paddled out this morning, sixteen only managed to get through to Round 5 today and remain in contention for the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) Buondi Billabong Pro Portugal, local hero and ASP World Tour rookie Tiago Pires (PRT) failing in Round 4 despite another massive support from the crowd. From the ten ASP Top 45 representatives who entered the event, 4 managed to avoid elimination but will have to come up with some solid skills against current WQS commanding surfers.
South Africa's Travis Logie (ZAF) was the man on this fourth day of competition upgrading his level with more speed and power to eventually win his battle ahead of Che Stang (USA), Mason Ho (HAW) and Kadson Andre (BRA). Logie, who posted the highest ride of the day with an impressive 9.57 point ride out of a possible 10, made his intentions clear right before the event moves closer to the showdown.
“It was a pretty tricky day with the swell dropping fast and the tides affecting a lot the conditions,” Logie said. “I am stoked with my boards, the one I used in that heat is just working perfectly and gives me great confidence in any waves. It is really good to get that heat out of the way, and I hope I will make it again.”
Logie, who has been among the ASP elite since 2005, has had several excellent results in his career including a win in the ASP WQS 6-Star event in Hossegor four years ago and came to Europe to try and secure a back-up in case he does not requalify with his Dream Tour ranking at the end of the year.
“I like the waves here but I am not really worrying about the location, I will surf anywhere without pressure,” Logie said. “I am pretty relaxed because my main focus is on the ASP World Tour but I will take any big result here as a back up for sure. Just in case it gets harder on the World Tour.”
Logie will now meet 2X ASP World Junior Champion Pablo Paulino (BRA) and current ASP WQS No. 19 Brett Simpson (USA) in a much expected 3-man heat tomorrow morning.
Many people had made their way to Ribeira d'Ilhas to witness local hero and 2X Buondi Billabong Pro champion Tiago Pires (PRT) surf today but Drew Courtney (AUS) and Eneko Acero (EUK) were too strong for the Portuguese surfing idol.
Drew Courney (AUS), 29, currently No. 6 and looking forward to confirming his best year ever on tour, came up with excellent tactics choosing the furthest peak to open the under-pressure battle with an 8.50 point ride out of a possible 10, before securing his win with a second good 7.50 score.
“There was a lot of pressure out there with all the people cheering Tiago (Pires) on every ride but I definitely wanted to make the upset,” Courtney said. “You always want to perform and beat the favorite and my game plan worked pretty well so I am very happy.”
Courtney, who just placed equal 5th in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in Hossegor, has been very consistent thus far with an average of 1500 points at each of his seven best events.
“I am kind of relieved at the moment because I have had several good results but I just want to take it heat by heat and keep securing as much points as I can,” Courtney said. “I know it will be a tough finish this year and it is always hard to get a result in Hawaii with all the ASP Top 45 and locals putting a lot of pressure usually.”
Europe suffered several major losses again before the weekend and ASP World Tour No. 23 Miky Picon (FRA) could not advance despite putting solid turns together at the inside section. Michel Bourez (PYF), the Tahitian charger and serious competitor, was another surprising loser behind an inform Leigh Sedley (AUS) and ASP Top 45 rookie Heitor Alves (BRA), stopped at Round 4 for a low 875 ratings' points not doing any good for his 2009 Dream Tour qualification goal.
Marlon Lipke (DEU) and Tim Boal (FRA), the current leading pair of European surfing among the WQS respectively No. 7 and 8, were among those advancing for another performance this summer.
Lipke, who has been rising since the end of July, is getting closer to becoming the first German surfer ever to join the elite of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the ASP Top 45, and seemed in good form again despite saying Ribeira d'Ilhas is not his favorite place.
“I have never done any good result here so I have nothing to lose,” Lipke said. “I surf on my backhand here and it is not what I prefer so I just went for the better waves and it paid off. I am more focused on the next events actually but if I can do good here I will not let it go. But when you know the wave does not fit your surfing, you can paddle out relaxed just hoping for something good with a positive attitude. And seems like it is working.”
Lipke, who sits No. 7 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) after his excellent equal 3rd in Hossegor last week – his best result to date, is having his best year on tour ever and will be dangerous in the expected smaller waves tomorrow.
“If I look back on the year, I started without any sponsor doubting I could even make the tour,” Lipke said. “Since then I found a great support with a new sponsor and got several great results so I am stoked. I am just enjoying my time and I will not take it too seriously if I can't go further.”
The Australian contingent will have five representatives in tomorrow's Round 5, a low score compared to the average of 9 since the European leg got underway, and several surfing nations will be represented when the weekend battles recommence. Six Europeans, six Brazilians, four Americans, one South African, one Hawaiian and one Kiwi will paddle out for a spot in the first Man-on-man match-ups and the ratings' race will once again push competitors to come up with some world class surfing.
Officials will meet at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, August 30 and Rounds 5 and 6 are scheduled for a full day of action.
The Buondi Billabong Pro Portugal is webcast LIVE at aspworldtour.com and aspeurope.com.
UPCOMING ROUND 5 HEATS
Heat 1: Pedro Henrique (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 2: Patrick Beven (FRA), Shaun Cansdell (AUS), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 3: Bobby Hansen (NZL), Leigh Sedley (AUS), Tonino Benson (HAW)
Heat 4: Glenn Hall (IRE), Heitor Alves (BRA), Wiggoly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 5: Corey Ziems (ZAF), Phillip MacDonald (AUS), Che Stang (USA)
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA), Pablo Paulino (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 7: Drew Courtney (AUS), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 8: Eneko Acero (EUK), Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)