ZARAUTZ, Basque Country – Spain (Tuesday, August 28, 2012) – Clean 1-2Ft surf greeted competitors in Zarautz this morning for the opening day of the San Miguel Pro Zarautz. After putting the event on-hold to wait for the incoming tide and swell, event officials decided to launch the Basque competition at 11am with the first round. Conditions gradually got bigger, and despite the wind turning onshore, fun waves were surfed at the main beach of Zarautz. A promising forecast should see the event unfold in great waves over the next few days.
Messias Felix (BRA) 26, was the in-form surfer of the day, dominating Heat 9 of the first round, and qualifying for the Round of 96 when competition resumes. The 26-year-old Brazilian managed to net the highest combined heat total of the opening day at the San Miguel Pro Zarautz.
“I’ve been out of the water for a week due to a knee injury,” Felix stated. “This is my first surf and I couldn’t find the best waves out there, but I’m super happy to make my first heat in Zarautz and thank’s to God my knee’s feeling better now. My board feels good as well, it’s an old one but my favourite and it goes great !”
Sitting in a difficult 118th place on the ASP World Rankings, Felix sees an opportunity in Zarautz to claim back his previous Top 100 position and better his best result so far in 2012, a 13th place result he clinched in China earlier this year..
“I caught a really fun right that allowed a couple of big turns but unfortunately I fell on the third one. The judges gave me a 8.00 still so I was stoked to get that score ! I lost my seeding to surf the Prime events so my objective clearly is to have a good result here and climb back into the Top 100. I really want to make my first final in a 6-Star event as well so I’ll work towards that and try really hard here !”
Caio Ibelli (BRA) 18, despite surfing a borrowed board following an airport mishap on his way back from Florida, managed to focus on the task at hand and easily qualified for the second round of competition scoring one of the first solid scores this morning, an impressive 7.5 in the fourth heat of the day.
“I was pretty nervous because my boards didn’t make it here and I had to borrow one,” Ibelli said. “You know that’s never too good to surf a board you’ve never used before, but I’m happy I made it. I was trying to keep myself busy out there, the waves aren’t easy to surf, but it was fun and I hope my boards get here by tomorrow so I can compete with my equipment.”
Davey Cathels (AUS) 20, followed in Ibelli’s footsteps in Heat 5, posting two solid scores to win his ticket for the Round of 96. The talended regular-footer from Narrabeen on the Northern Sydney Beaches, found the best waves and left his competitors chasing the heat lead which he never let go.
“It was fun !” Cathels said. “There are a lot of waves coming through that little right bank and I was just trying to sit on the edge of that, and pick up a couple of those. I got a couple little rides and it was fun !”
Coming back from an injury last january that ruined his chances of a Junior World Champion Title, Cathels with a 9th place under his belt in Lacanau, seems to have found his form back and will be a force to be reckoned with when competition resumes tomorrow.
“I got an injury at the start of the year, twisted my ankle and torn some ligaments, so I fell back a long way in the rankings, I’m just trying to make the Top 100 or Top 60 somewhere like that.. This is my second year on the Star tour and I had a pretty good season last year, before I injured myself at the beginning of 2012. I’m feeling better now.”
Marlon Lipke (DEU) 28, lead the European field of competitors today in Zarautz, winning his Round 1 bout and netting the third highest heat total of the day in the process. An in form Lipke showed great tactics and wave choice to take the advantage over his opponents.
“I was actually pretty nervous,” Lipke started. “I didn’t think we would start today, and sometimes it just hits you suddenly, you get nerves in your stomach.. I’ve been sitting quite a long time on the beach, just assessing the conditions but in the end I just let everyhting out of my head and I caught some waves right from the beginning. I knew if I’d just stick to my surfing I could make the heat. I got some alright lefts and they got me through this heat.”
Following a good performance in Lacanau where he placed 9th, Lipke has been trying to avoid a recurrent elbow injury that forced him out of the water a couple weeks ago on the French coast in big conditions. The German powerhouse didn’t seem to suffer in Round 1 and will have time to rest before his next round berth.
“I surfed a lot in Ericeira with Gony (Zubizaretta), we filmed a little bit there and were training, and it was hurting in the freesurf, but I’ve had four days off before the contest and it feels a lot better now. I’ve had a difficult time performing in international events, when you fall in this hole it’s really hard to pull yourself out of it, and I put so much pressure on myself, it makes my life harder. But events like Lacanau definitely help with the confidence you know, passing heats, getting some good scores and beating some good surfers.”
Competition stopped today because of the outgoing tide after Heat 17 of the first Round, and the first call tomorrow is set to 9am for the completion of Round 1 and the beginning of Round 2. Event officials will then reconvene to assess the conditions for a possible early start on the second Day of the waiting period at the San Miguel Pro Zarautz.
The ASP 6-Star San Miguel Pro Zarautz is scheduled from August 28 – September 2, 2012 in Zarautz, Basque Country – SPAIN. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases log on to zarautz.aspeurope.com.
The San Miguel Pro Zarautz is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Turismo Zarautz, Gipuzkoa, Euskadi, Coca-Cola, New Era, Gutizi, Haker, Le Diario Vasco, Surflimit, Lamono, Kutxa, GSF, EHSF, Alaia, Doblehilo, Bar Pagoeta, Iturrieta Berri, 3Sesenta, Margruesa.com amongst others.
REMAINING SAN MIGUEL PRO ZARAUTZ ROUND OF 144 MATCHUPS:
Heat 18: Santiago Muniz (CRI), Alan Donato (BRA), Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA), Remi Petersen (NLD) Heat 19: Luel Felipe (BRA), Manuel Selman (CHL), Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK), Joao Guedes (PRT) Heat 20: Ricardo Christie (NZL), Cheyne Willis (HAW), Lucas Santamaria (ARG), Robertson Goncalves (PRT) Heat 21: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), Frederico Morais (PRT), Ethan Egiguren (EUK), Jules Thomet (FRA) Heat 22: Carlos Munoz (CRI), Jordin Watson (AUS), Jayce Robinson (GBR), Rudy Marechal (FRA) Heat 23: Simao Romao (BRA), Miguel Tudela (PER), Norman Landa (EUK), Enrique Ariitu (PYF) Heat 24: Sidney Guimaraes (BRA), Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS), Chris Foster (HAW), Victor Pinango De Nobrega (ITA)
SAN MIGUEL PRO ZARAUTZ ROUND OF 144 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Thomas Woods (AUS) 11.60, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 11.50, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 9.17, Carlos Gomez (ESP) 7.10 Heat 2: Ricardo Ferreira (BRA) 11.03, Daniel Karren (AUS) 9.97, Ian Crane (USA) 8.13, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 6.98 Heat 3: Alexandre Chacon (BRA) 12.93, Soli Bailey (AUS) 12.93, Eric Geiselman (USA) 7.47, Francisco Alves (PRT) 6.54 Heat 4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.60, Hugo Dubosc (REU) 10.84, Justin Mujica (PRT) 9.67, Julen Egiguren (EUK) 8.07 Heat 5: Davey Cathels (AUS) 13.33, Jerome Forrest (AUS) 7.86, Frederic Robin (REU) 5.86, Denny Mendoza (VEN) 4.36 Heat 6: Matt Pagan (USA) 12.40, Cory Arrambide (USA) 12.34, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 11.84, Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 9.87 Heat 7: Andre Silva (BRA) 12.84, Ruda Carvalho (BRA) 11.90, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 9.50, Romain Laulhe (FRA) 7.53 Heat 8: Garrett Parkes (AUS) 10.73, Teale Vanner (AUS) 9.90, Filipe Jervis (PRT) 8.40, Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN) 7.50 Heat 9: Messias Felix (BRA) 15.80, Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 13.06, Timothy Latte (SWE) 11.84, Diego Cadena (MEX) 9.90 Heat 10: Vicente Romero (ESP) 12.83, Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 12.67, Cristobal De Col (PER) 10.57, Tim Macdonald (AUS) 7.70 Heat 11: Leandro Usuna (ARG) 9.93, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 9.43, Indar Unanue (EUK) 7.30, Gordon Fontaine (GBR) 8.80 Heat 12: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 11.70, Guillermo Satt (CHL) 10.34, Eneko Acero (EUK) 9.00, Luis Eyre (GBR) 4.60 Heat 13: Marlon Lipke (DEU) 13.34, Magnum Martinez (USA) 8.40, Dylan Southworth (MEX) 7.10, Steven Pierson (PYF) 5.90 Heat 14: Alan Jhones (BRA) 11.17, Ty Watson (AUS) 10.70, Christian Saenz (USA) 7.33, Edouard Delpero (FRA) 5.96 Heat 15: Haley Batista (BRA) 10.94, Marcelino Rodriguez (ARG) 8.36, Bruno Rodriguez (BRA) 7.80, Saxon Lumsden (AUS) 6.76 Heat 16: Marco Fernandez (BRA) 12.33, Adrien Valero (FRA) 10.33, David Do Carmo (BRA) 9.20, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 8.17 Heat 17: Rafael Pereira (VEN) 13.10, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 12.94, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 7.66, Alexander El Naib (DEU) 1.06