European WCT surfers Tiago Pires (left) and Aritz Arinburu will be competing on their home turf at the Billabong Pro Mundaka.
MUNDAKA, Basque Country/Spain (Monday, Sept. 29, 2008) – The Billabong Pro Mundaka waiting period began today, but after assessing conditions at the main event site in Mundaka and the back-up venue of Sopelana until 11:30am, the contest was called off for the day.
The Billabong Pro Mundaka, the ninth of 11 events on the 2008 ASP World Tour, boasts a two-week waiting period and a new back-up venue – Sopelana. Mundaka is a world-class wave when it is working, but because it requires a significant swell and suitable tides to break, it can be difficult to run four full day's worth of surfing there.
"Billabong and the ASP are confident that this year's back-up venue of Sopelena will offer contestable conditions for the ASP World Tour surfers should we need it," Billabong Europe Brand Manager Reid Pinder said. "Forecasts for Mundaka look promising, but because Sopelana picks up more swell, we should be able to run the early rounds of the event there over the next couple of days which gives us more time to put the final rounds out at Mundaka when it's firing."
Aritz Aranburu, who hails from the Basque Country of Spain, became the first surfer from the region to earn a spot on the ASP World Tour when he qualified for the 2008 season last year. The 22-year-old rookie is hopeful he will be able to put in a good performance at the Billabong Pro Mundaka.
"I am excited to surf here in the Basque Country and hope I can represent Basque surfers well," Aranburu said. "I am still not surfing at 100%, but I will do my best."
Aranburu has been forced out of four of eight events this year after injuring his ankle before the season opener on the Gold Coast of Australia. Currently rated 44th, he will need big results in the last three events of the year or an injury wildcard to secure his spot on the 2009 ASP World Tour.
Reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) has withdrawn from the event due to a groin injury. Neco Padaratz (BRA) and Dean Morrison (AUS) will miss another contest courtesy of their ailments and Bruce and Andy Irons (HAW) have pulled out of the Billabong Pro for personal reasons.
The ASP World Tour surfers who have pulled out will be replaced by Nic Muscroft (AUS), Manoa Drollet (PYF), Gabe Kling (USA), Tim Boal (FRA) and Reubyn Ash (GBR).
Former ASP World Champion Mark Occhilupo (AUS), Marco San Segundo (EUK) and Hodei Collazo (EUK) are the event wildcards.
Another call on competition status will be made at Sopelena tomorrow at 8am local time.
Billabong Pro Mundaka Round 1 Heat Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Mick Campbell (AUS), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Roy Powers (HAW), Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Reubyn Ash (GBR)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Marco San Segundo (EUK)*
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Hodei Collazo (EUK)*
Heat 11: Luke Stedman (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 12: Chris Ward (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 13: Dayyan Neve (AUS), Mikael Picon (FRA), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 14: Dane Reynolds (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Daniel Wills (AUS), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS)