GRANDE PLAGE, Lacanau – France (Tuesday, August 14, 2012) – Clean 3-4Ft waves greeted competitors this morning in Lacanau and the first few heats were surfed in pristine conditions before the southernly wind started blowing the beautiful peaks off. The rest of the competitors had a little more complicated line-up to play with but the level of performance was high on the first day of the Sooruz Lacanau Pro.
Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 16, was both the youngest and most impressive surfer today in Lacanau. The Junior from French Polynesia started his Sooruz Lacanau Pro campaign in round one against three other Junior surfers but waited for his second round bout to step up his game and defeat older and more experienced competitors with a display of progressive surfing.
“It started rather slow with small waves for me like 3′s and 4′s,” Hiquily commented. “I didn’t really know what I was doing but then I started building on it with a 5 and then a 6.83. I realised I had a pretty strong lead and when that good wave came and I saw the perfect section I just went for it !”
Hiquily, who was first introduced to the surfing sphere with a feature in big barrels on his Tahitian homebreak of Teahupoo, also has an impressive aerial repertoire and proved everyone in Lacanau he’s a fierce competitor to count on, netting a near-perfect 9.67 for a kerrupt-flip on a running lefthander.
“It’s really rare to get that particular section where you can try it and when I did I felt like ‘yeah let’s go for it’. It’s sort of an alley-oop with a double grab and twist in it, it’s hard to describe but I’m happy I landed that one !”
Hiquily, who surfed his first season amongst the European under-21 elite in 2012 had a mixed year, but an ecouraging quarter-final result in Sopelana a few weeks ago. Getting a spot on the Star tour is not his primary objective but the talented goofy-footer will be looking to beat a few more top seeds in Lacanau when competition resumes.
“My first event on the Star Tour was in Australia at Burleigh and I went all the way to the fifth round which was my best result ever. This is only my second event with the older guys so when I’m out there I’m not thinking of anything but trying the biggest moves and see what I get for them. In the Juniors I’m a lot more focused and trying to surf smart and do well, but here I just have fun and surf hard. It’s good experience for me, I surf against guys I’d never think I can beat and if I do, it gives me a lot of motivation to do even better and go through rounds etc..”
Connor O’Leary (AUS) 18, surfed a consistent heat today collecting good scores with a combination of manoeuvers on the bumpy shoulders on offer at La Grande Plage. The young Australian from the Sydney suburb of Cronulla in his first European leg of events looked solid and disposed of three Europeans to qualify for the third round of competition.
“I had the opening round nerves but it was fun the waves were really good this morning and they’re still fun out there,” O’Leary said. “I surfed this morning before the wind came up and got a couple barrels it’s pretty cool ! I’m just coming from Newquay where I had a pretty good result seeing as it’s pretty much my first Star Tour season this year and I’m happy to make it through this round here too ! This is my first time here in France, and I love it ! The food, the waves it’s all good..”
Discovering the Lacanau setup and all of France’s delights for the first time, O’Leary adjusted well to the conditions today. Having won a 2-Star event in Korea last month, O’Leary is yet to confirm on the big leagues and will have the opportunity in Lacanau tomorrow.
Lucas Santamaria (ARG) 24, also a newcomer to the classic beachbreaks of Gironde, came in happy from his first appearance at the Sooruz Lacanau Pro where he put on a strong performance to qualify for the third round. Coming from a deceiving event in England, the Argentinian was genuinely happy to make his first heat in Europe.
“I’m super stoked to make this heat,” Santamaria stated. “I came to Europe and this is the first heat I could surf well so I’m really happy and I hope I can keep the ball rolling into the next round. I found some really fun waves out there and we’re lucky cause the swell is coming and we should see some great conditions in the upcoming days, hopefully we get some barrels !”
Steven Pierson (PYF) 28, was another Tahitian to do well today in the windblown swell and logically earned his ticket into the Round of 96. Currently sitting in 24th position on the European rankings, Pierson will be after the crucial ranking points to climb up a few spots towards the Regional Top 10.
“It was pretty tough to surf out there, specially with the tide changing I feel like it got really slow during our heat and it was hard for me to find the right waves.” Pierson said. “I got a good right at the half mark that put me in first in the heat and before the end I got another fun left to consolidate my lead and win this one. I haven’t had the best of luck in my heats recently and I’m pretty stoked to make this one and finally get the waves !”
Tomorrow morning, event officials will meet at 9am to reassess conditions and decide for the day’s program.
The ASP 5-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro is scheduled from August 14-19, 2012. in Lacanau. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases log on to http://www.sooruzlacanaupro.com.
The Sooruz Lacanau Pro is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Airwalk, Ville de Lacanau, Lacanau Surf Club, Region Aquitaine, Conseil Général de Gironde, Fédération Française de Surf, Super U, Sport +, Medococean, Smurfit Kappa, RTL2, 20Minutes, MCM, GoPro, Unbottle Yourself amongst others.
SOORUZ LACANAU PRO MEN’S ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Matt Lewis Hewitt (NZL) 15.57, Ricardo Ferreira (BRA) 13.26, Tom Cloarec (FRA) 12.87, Edouard Delpero (FRA) 10.20 Heat 2: Derek Peters (USA) 12.43, Miguel Blanco (PRT) 10.36, Filipe Jervis (PRT) 10.03, Pedro Correia (PRT) 8.53 Heat 3: Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN) 12.53, Ethan Egiguren (EUK) 10.87, Joao Guedes (PRT) 10.86, Teale Vanner (AUS) 10.53 Heat 4: Tim Macdonald (AUS) 12.93, Vicente Romero (ESP) 11.06, Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 9.06, Diogo Appleton (PRT) 5.40 Heat 5: Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 9.93, Davey Brand (ZAF) 8.33, Hugo Dubosc (REU) 8.30, Jaymes Triglone (AUS) 8.13 Heat 6: Balaram Stack (USA) 10.14, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 9.40, Robertson Goncalves (PRT) 7.87, Joao Kopke (PRT) 6.64 Heat 7: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.50, Ugo Robin (FRA) 9.37, Yannick De Jager (NDL) 6.94, Timothy Latte (SWE) 6.37 Heat 8: Steven Pierson (PYF) 13.63, Romain Laulhe (FRA) 11.73, Francisco Alves (PRT) 9.16, Jerome Forrest (AUS) 5.20 Heat 9: Jason Harris (USA) 11.00, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 10.93, Dimitri Ouvre (GLP) 9.30, Gordon Fontaine (FRA) 9.30 Heat 10: Lucas Santamaria (ARG) 13.90, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 11.07, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 10.33, Hugo Palmarini (FRA) 8.00 Heat 11: Chris Tucker (USA) 11.50, Kieran Bulard (REU) 10.14, Keto Burns (USA) 9.87, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 9.27 Heat 12: Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 12.60, Dege O’Connell (HAW) 11.33, Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) 11.16, Dylan Kowalski (USA) 9.64 Heat 13: Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 16.50, Michael Powell (USA) 9.50, Daniel Karren (AUS) 8.06, Remi Petersen (NLD) 5.37 Heat 14: Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS) 11.50, Eneko Acero (EUK) 9.57, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 9.50, Ian Fontaine (FRA) 7.00 Heat 15: Norman Landa (EUK) 9.43, Indar Unanue ( EUK) 9.07, Stuart Campbell (GBR) 7.17, Adrien Valero (FRA) 5.34 Heat 16: Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 7.37, Rudy Marechal (FRA) 7.04, Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 7.00, Jayce Robinson (GBR) 5.56
SOORUZ LACANAU PRO MEN’S ROUND OF 144 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Tom Cloarec (FRA) 13.60, Miguel Blanco (PRT) 11.43, Frederic Robin (REU) 10.23, Soli Bailey (AUS) 8.13 Heat 2: Teale Vanner (AUS) 9.67, Diogo Appleton (PRT) 5.53, Denny Mendoza (VEN) 4.90, Julen Egiguren (EUK) 4.66 Heat 3: Hugo Dubosc (REU) 8.73, Robertson Goncalves (PRT) 7.76, Saxon Lumsden (AUS) 7.10, Dane Hall (GBR) 6.90 Heat 4: Ugo Robin (FRA) 9.27, Romain Laulhe (FRA) 7.47, Damien Chaudoy (REU) 7.06, Kevin Lestrade (FRA) 3.40 Heat 5: Dimitri Ouvre (GLP) 10.94, Hugo Palmarini (FRA) 9.17, Angelo Bonomelli (ITA) 6.34, Andre Oziol (BRB) 5.13 Heat 6: Kieran Bulard (REU) 12.34, Dylan Kowalski (USA) 7.34, Freddie Meadows (SWE) 6.70, Robeto D’Amico (ITA) 4.93 Heat 7: Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 14.33, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 10.34, Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 9.40, Luis Eyre (GBR) 7.70 Heat 8: Adrien Valero (FRA) 9.77, Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 7.36, Cheyne Willis (HAW) 3.17, Alexander El Naib (DEU) 1.87