FISTRAL BEACH, Newquay (Wednesday, August 5, 2009) - The ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star Relentless Boardmasters in association with Vans resumed today with the remaining of Round 1 and eight heats of Round 2 being completed in classic and consistent five to six foot (1.5 to 2 meter) waves at Fistral Beach. With four days remaining in the waiting period and another promising swell forecast showing on the charts, event top seeds were eager to display solid surfing and secure a berth into Round 3 where the competition format will change to 3-Man heats.
Finding their way out of the building conditions were several event favorites including current ASP WQS ratings' No. 1 Daniel Ross (New South Wales, AUS), former ASP World Tour competitor Eric Rebiere (Biarritz, FRA) and rising Hawaiian star John John Florence (Oahu, HAW), 17, all advancing through to Round 3.
Relentless Boardmasters defending champion Wiggoly Dantas (BRA) was able to keep his chances up, the 19-year-old Brazilian surfer advancing through to Round 3 with an average result but confidently leading his heat from start to finish ahead of ASP European veteran Ruben Gonzalez (Carcavelos, PRT), 29.
"I am feeling great and surfed well enough yesterday and did okay today," Dantas said. "The wind made it a bit harder though today but I am here to surf and get experience so not really thinking any further at this stage."
Dantas, whose first and only ASP event win was in Newquay last year, is considered a favorite though he hasn't had a great year so far.
"I have a little bit of pressure being the defending champion," Dantas said. "But it is positive pressure as people expect you to do good so I will take it. I haven't had any big results yet this year but I am confident things can happen fast and I would still hope to qualify for the ASP World Tour this year. I'll go heat by heat and remain relaxed."
With the conditions changing throughout the day, it became hard for competitors to score big and several top seeds of the 2009 event were left away from first and second places, having to accept an early elimination. Patrick Beven (Biarritz, FRA), Blake Thornton (New South Wales, AUS), young guns Romain Cloitre (REU) and Vincent Duvignac (Mimizan, FRA) were among those losing today.
Posting the event's highest performance earlier in the day was Australian representative Matt Wilkinson (New South Wales, AUS), the 20-year-old athlete surfing in the last heat of Round 1 to make his intentions clear with an outstanding 18.07 point heat score (out of a possible 20) including a 9.57 point ride.
"I was pretty excited as I was expecting small and windy conditions coming to Newquay," Wilkinson said. "It was four or five feet out there and pretty fun so I am happy with that start. I found a pretty good wave at the start and it relaxed me a lot so I wanted for the few good sections and I knew I could let go to try and get a big score."
Wilkinson, who broke the event's records today by displaying fantastic surfing with a mix of committed progressive turns and classic powerful carves at Fistral Beach, has been on The Grind for a few years now and is looking to qualify for the ASP World Tour this year.
"This year I have a few results under my belt," Wilkinson said. "I am sitting seventh at the moment so a couple of big results could help me find myself a spot in the ASP Top 45."
With four heats remaining before Round 2 wraps up, the last twenty-four title contenders will be known by midday tomorrow and the much expected three-man battles shall bring intensity into the coveted event. Former ASP Top 45 member Leonardo Neves (BRA) will be first out tomorrow morning.
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Source: ASP Europe