PLAYA DE PANTIN, Galicia – Spain (Friday, September 14, 2012) – Clean offshore 2-3Ft lines of swell greeted competitors this morning at the iconic Playa de Pantin, allowing the event to re-start with the remaining four heats of the women’s first round under the Galician sun. The second half of the men’s third round was completed as well and the day continued with the girls round of 12 decided in small but beautiful waves in the afternoon.
Pauline Ado (FRA) 21, was the most in-form surfer today, clinching the highest heat total of both men and women divisions, with a strong backside surf in the one-meter waves of Pantin. The South-West France local opened her account quickly with a 7.83 in the first minutes of her Round 2 bout and backed it up with an even better 8.60 to claim the heat lead and keep it for the remainder of the exchange.
“It was kind of an ideal one for me,” Ado said. “I started with two good waves pretty quickly so I felt a little relieved afterwards. From then on I was mostly surfing for fun, I didn’t manage to improve on my two best scores but it felt great to have a heat where you’re not chasing scores and actually appreciate it. The sandbank is really good and the lefts were fun, but the wind made it hard to select them cause when you start you never really know what’s coming. There’s a little bit of luck involved I guess, and with four surfers out it’s not easy.”
Ado, the first European to re-qualify through the WCT last year has had a more difficult second season and needs a big performance in Pantin to stay in the elite Top 17 in 2013. With four equal 5th finishes in the 6-Star events this season, Ado will try to break that invisible quarter-final barrier that has kept her from accessing the finals.
“I did have a difficult year on the CT, but I’m learning from my losses and I hope to finish strong in the back-half of the year to requalify. I have a pretty bad result I need to drop and with these three remaining events I hope to better my situation. I have to admit I’m not too focused on the rankings and calculating everything because I don’t want to put that extra pressure on myself.”
A former European Junior Champion, and the 2009 ASP Women’s Junior World Champion, Pauline Ado has built a strong competitive experience and has an extensive knowledge of the European events she has been entering since her teenage years. Ado will be counting on using that experience when competition resumes tomorrow to try and claim her first major win on the Star Tour.
“Events like Pantin and Estoril, Pantin even more actually, I’ve been coming to compete at these spots since I was like 13-14 years old. We used to have lots of European events here. To be familiar with the people we see every year is definitely a plus, and we usually have family or sponsors around so it is an advantage I think.”
Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 29, put on a great show this afternoon in her second round heat moving into the Round of 12 to join fellow World Championship Tour surfer Jacqueline Silva (BRA). Mulanovich, who chose the far western peak of the beach in Pantin, found a couple of excellent lefts peeling all the way to the shorebreak.
“I feel good, I got a couple of fun waves finally, and my boards are feeling good so I’m confident for the next heat,” Mulanovich stated. “I got an 8, it felt good you know, after you get that score you kind of feel like, not relaxed, but you do feel more confident about your surfing and your performance. I was stoked to make it, I need the points, so I’m keeping positive and looking forward to the next heat.”
Celebrating her 10th year on the WCT, the 2004 ASP Women’s World Champion finds herself in a difficult position trying to requalify through the Star events, but the consistence she has shown throughout her career is a definite weapon towards requalification. With already two excellent results under her belt in 2012, Mulanovich will need a couple more strong performances to secure her spot at the Elite level.
“I missed an event on the CT where I was injured, I didn’t have the best time this season, but it’s all good it’s just experience and it motivates me even more for this contest. I still got a 3rd at home, and a 2nd in the Australian Open so I need to keep up, be consistent and try to get more points here!”
Alana Blanchard (HAW) 22, also made her way into the third round of competition at the Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro advancing ahead of Californian Sage Erickson and eliminating fellow Hawaiian Alessa Quizon in the process. A former World Championship Tour surfer as well, Blanchard is sitting right below the qualification zone but could see a couple of good results in the European summer leg propel her back into the Top 17.
“I felt like I wasn’t getting the right waves, but I got some fun ones and it’s a really nice place here so I’m stoked. This is my third time in Pantin and my best result so far so I love it! I’ve been on the CT two times and have fallen off, but it’s not that big of a deal to me, you know I’m having fun doing the Star events as well as the CT and doing trips with Rip Curl, so either way it’s good!”
Carlo Zapata (PER) 18, opened today’s proceedings in the men’s division with a win over recent winner of the Boardmasters Charles Martin (GLP). The young Peruvian surfed the best wave of their exchange and scored an impressive 8.00 point ride with a combination of strong turns on his backhand.
“Today’s heat was a hard one,” Zapata said. “Everyone was surfing very good, and I think what helped me to get through that one was strategy. I’m pretty happy to get that 8.00 in the heat and a 5 something. The waves are not the best today, but you know it’s the same for everybody!”
A new face on the international scene and for his first appearance in Pantin, Zapata surfed a smart heat and put on a strong display of powersurfing on the little lefts breaking in front of the judges tower. With only limited experience in competition, Zapata wasn’t impressed by his opponents and stayed focused on the task at hand when it mattered the most.
“The frenchy guy tried to hassle me with that one wave, but I didn’t let go because I knew that was an amazing one! I caught it and concentrated on surfing it well, did a couple snaps and rollers, a good combination of manoeuvers and it felt good! I’m feeling pretty confident right now, and we’ll see how it goes in the next ones.”
Nathan Hedge (AUS) 33, was another standout today at Playa de Pantin, netting the day’s second highest heat total with an aggressive frontside attack on the main lefthander peak. The ‘Hog’ who has just re-started to travel the qualifying series across the globe showed today he is still a strong competitor in all conditions.
“I really enjoyed my heat you know, I’ve been coming to Pantin for a lot of years so I was excited to come back,” Hedge stated. “I picked fun lefthanders in the corner, really nice! I sat a little bit wide from the other guys, because I knew the left is really quick and I thought well don’t hassle, just try and surf the wave. I’ve been coming to Pantin before I qualified for the CT, I did well, and the Australians always come here. There’s been some big righthanders in the corner, and I’ve probably been here like 10 times, so I don’t remember my best result but I’ve always enjoyed it!”
At age 33, Hedge, who spent a few years on the ASP World Championship Tour and placed in the Top 10 successively in 2004 and 2005, took a break from competition in the past couple of years and is only just starting competing again. Accompanying and coaching younger surfers like Australia’s Stu Kennedy, Hedge has been kept in the loop and looked sharp in his first appearances in Europe so far.
“I started halfway through the year in Africa, so I’m just chipping away my ranking because I was at 250, and I just enjoy being back. I had a good ninth place in the Prime in Ballito and I’ve just been really happy to be back on the tour. It’s good to be travelling with younger guys too, it keeps it fresh, and keeps me open minded to try new things, and lets me know what these kids are doing as well! Aerial game ? Definitely trying a few, it’s not my biggest weapon right now, but I’ve started to do a couple reverses etc, I think power’s still my game but I enjoy the airs also.”
The next call has been set to 12pm tomorrow for the final day of the women’s event that will see the 2012 Women’s ASP 6-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro champion crowned in the afternoon! The men’s event will recommence on Sunday in Pantin.
The 2012 Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro is scheduled from September 12-16, 2012 in Playa de Pantin, Galicia. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to pantin.aspeurope.com.
The Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Estrella Galicia, Cabreiroa, MINI, Ferrol, Diputacion de A Coruna, Concello de Ferrol, Concello de Valdovino, Xunta de Galicia, Deporte Galego, Ferrol Turismo, Concello de Cedeira, Concello de Neda, Kentes, Gadis, Pago, McDonald’s, PSVITA, Intermax, Nilox, Federacion Galega de Surf e bodyboard, Oceans Surf Club, Wahrld, Vazva.
UPCOMING PANTIN CLASSIC PRO WOMEN’S ROUND OF 12 MATCHUPS:
Heat 1: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Sage Erickson (USA) Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), Alana Blanchard (HAW) Heat 3: Pauline Ado (FRA), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA) Heat 4: Alizee Arnaud (FRA), Philippa Anderson (AUS), Felicity Palmateer (AUS)