LOWER TRESTLES, California (Sunday, September 8, 2007) - The injury induced withdrawl of current World No. 6 Damien Hobgood (USA) will see former ASP World Champion Sunny Garcia take on World No. 1 Mick Fanning (AUS) and Hawaii's Pancho Sullivan in tomorrow's Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley - the 6th of 10 events on the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour.
Hobgood, who was forced to pull out of both the Boost Mobile Pro and the upcoming Quiksilver Pro in France, reinjured his knee while freesurfing in Costa Rica earlier this week. The title contender's spot was offered to replacement surfers David Weare (ZAF) and Peterson Rosa (BRA) first, and then to Garcia when they declined.
"It's both frustrating and disappointing to have this kind of setback," Hobgood said. "I've had some good results and was feeling really confident about my surfing. At this point, there is little I can do other than rest the knee for a couple of months and look ahead to the latter part of the season."
Garcia's name is just one more in an already daunting list of wildcards who have snuck into the Boost Mobile Pro draw. The 2000 ASP World Champion will join former title runner-up Rob Machado (USA) and ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) Nos. 1 and 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Dane Reynolds (USA) at Lower Trestles this week.
Smith, the current ASP World Junior Champion and WQS ratings leader, has qualified for the Foster's ASP World Tour in 2008 and looks forward to competing in his second event on the Dream Tour as a wildcard.
"I competed in the Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay last year and did pretty well so I'm looking forward to competing at the Boost Mobile Pro," Smith said. "I'm super stoked to have already qualified for the Foster's ASP World Tour next season and this event will be a nice little warm up."
Smith has drawn World No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS) and 2005 Rookie of the Year Fred Patacchia (HAW) in Round 1 - both tough opponents but Smith is up for the challenge.
"I think it will be good because if you want to win the event, you have to beat the best," Smith said. "I haven't surfed Lowers very much, but I've been traveling around with the other South Africans on tour - Greg Emslie, Travis Logie, Ricky Basnett and Royden Bryson - and they've been showing me around."
Current WQS No. 2 Dane Reynolds (USA), who has also cemented his spot on the elite tour next year, will be surfing his ninth event as a Foster's ASP World Tour wildcard this week. He has drawn 8X World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and California transplant Cory Lopez in Round 1.
"I've only made it past the first round a few times .so most of the wildcards I've had have been quick ones," Reynolds said. "But I've earned most of my competition experience on the WQS this year and I think that will help me more than anything."
Surfline, the official forecasters for the Boost Mobile Pro, have indicated that conditions at Lower Trestles will be suitable for competition tomorrow, the first in the seven day waiting period that stretches from Sept. 9-15, 2007. Competition will likely run tomorrow.
The event will be webcast live on www.boostmobilepro.com and the official call will be made at 7:30am each day.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com.
Heat 1: Travis Logie (ZAF), Ricky Basnett (ZAF), Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 2: Danniel Wills (AUS), Ben Dunn (AUS), Trent Munro (AUS)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 4: Dean Morrison (AUS), Luke Stedman (AUS), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Adiano de Souza (BRA), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA), Cory Lopez (USA), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 10: Andy Irons (HAW), Kai Otton (AUS), Rob Machado (USA)
Heat 11: Taylor Knox (USA), Phillip MacDonald (AUS), Shaun Cansdell (AUS)
Heat 12: Bruce Irons (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 13: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Bernardo Miranda (BRA), Victor Ribas (BRA)
Heat 14: Michael Campbell (AUS), Greg Emslie (ZAF), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 15: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Michael Lowe (AUS)
Heat 16: Chris Ward (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF)