Alize Arnaud (FRA) was a standout today at the EDP Surf Pro Estoril
PRAIA DE CARCAVELOS, Cascais – Portugal (Friday, September 21, 2012) - Day 1 of the ASP 6-Star EDP Surf Pro Estoril 2012 presented by Billabong started in clean 3-4Ft surf today at the beautiful Praia de Carcavelos. The event completed two rounds to decide the last 24 surfers in contention for the prestigious Estoril Title with a high level of performance displayed on this opening day of competition in Portugal.
Consistence was key today and at that game it was Rebecca Woods (AUS) 28, the strongest competitor in the Portuguese waters. With two excellent scores over the 8.00 point mark, Woods claims the highest heat total of the event so far and starts off strong her Estoril campaign towards a much awaited new event win.
“It was a very hard heat for a round of 48 so I was really nervous,” Woods stated. “All the girls are surfing really well so I just knew I had to go out and attack it and there are some good waves, you just have to find them. The lefthanders seem to have two or three really steep sections and that was what I was eyeing off, of course when a right comes through I try and get it cause I haven’t been able to surf a lot of them lately.”
A seasoned surfer on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour and currently in fourth position in the race for requalification through the Star series, Woods knows that with two events left on the 2012 schedule and an army of up-and-coming surfers jumping through the ranks, her situation is unsafe and a good result in Estoril would give her a crucial advantage.
“I know I got to get busy, I’m not in a great position, I’m just looking to improve on my Round of 12, which is what I’m carrying. I have felt the pressure from the young for a few years, you know the whole World Tour is girls who are sixteen to eighteen but it’s great to have this new generation and hopefully there’s even more to come. A final here would be great, and I’d love to win an event again it’s been a while, so I’m just going out and using my experience and having fun!”
Sage Erickson (USA) 21, waisted no time in Portugal netting the highest single score of the day, an incredible 9.00 point ride for a succession of powerful backside turns on the punchy beachbreaks of Carcavelos. Under the pressure of Australia’s Brittani Nicholl, Erickson who opened her heat strong but struggled to find a good backup score, took off on one of the best waves seen today to drive home the nail in her opponent’s coffin.
“My 9.00 came within three minutes til the end, my rythmn felt a little bit off at the beginning of the heat so I was really encouraged to get a good score, and an optimal left came my way and I got three turns in, the judges seemed to like it! With the lower tide, there’s a lot of peak options, and it seems that the lefts tend to stay a bit more open where the rights are really fast and closing out, so I think the judges are realising the scoring potential on the lefts with more manoeuvers so that was my ultimate strategy, to get two good lefts and if I could get a right in.”
Coming off two consecutive event wins in California and Galicia last week, Erickson, who now leads the ASP Women’s World Tour rankings, felt relieved of any pressure to requalify and could finally let herself have fun in her first heat today.
“My goal coming to Europe was to better a round of 24, and in Pantin I did that and ended up winning which was such a blessing. Solidifying my spot on the World Tour next year was my biggest goal and I think that I put the most pressure on myself this year to requalify, and doing that in Pantin I’ve just come to Portugal to enjoy the country, the people and this amazing event that EDP and Billabong have put together for us.”
Joanne Defay (FRA) 18, clinches the second highest combined total of the day and signs the best European performance moving through to the third round and eliminating recent equal third placer Felicity Palmateer (AUS) in Pantin. The young French surfer who just learned she will be representing her country in the upcoming ASP World Junior Championships next month was delighted to have a good start in Estoril.
“I had a good heat and I guess I was really lucky cause I got a fun right at the beginning despite everyone saying the lefts were better. It got me relaxed and then I happened to find another good wave later on. It’s really nice here today, the only time I was here we surfed Guincho in the storm so it’s great to be here.”
Georgia Fish (AUS) 19, started her Portuguese campaign with a solid performance in Heat 1 of the second round, scoring an impressive 8.75 out of 10 for a combination of two powerful turns on a clean lefthander punctuating her ride in the shorebreak with a last hack.
“I feel really good,” Fish stated. “I was kind of stressing cause I couldn’t really hear the announcer so all the girls were out there sort of not knowing the situation, so to come out and hear I won is really good. The waves are really good today, we were a little bit stressed when we first got down here cause it was dead flat but to see this clean swell out there, they’re quick little waves but if you get one that has a good shoulder you can really go to town on it!”
Coming off an equal 13th place last week in Spain, the young Australian has adopted a new heat strategy and seemed relaxed and focused on the objective at hand. With an excellent wave selection, and her ability to exploit the waves with the best potential, Fish will be a serious candidate when competition resumes tomorrow.
“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the event, hopefully I can have another few good heats, keep my scores high and keep going with the same heat strategy that I’ve been experimenting with and hopefully that will take me all the way! I’ve broken up my heat into five different five-minute heats and I try to get two waves in each, it’s just something different I was trying and it’s been working for me so far so hopefully I can take that one with me the whole way. Ross Phillips is the man who told me that, he looks at surfing in a different way, and it’s nice to hear and try something resfreshing and that actually works.”
Philippa Anderson (AUS) 20, equalled Fish’s high score of 8.75 this afternoon to win her heat and move onto the third round of the EDP Surf Pro Estoril ahead of fellow Aussie Nikki Van Dijk. Already assured to better her deceiving 37th place collected last year, Anderson moves ahead with hopes of a high result in Estoril.
“It was good, it’s pretty much breaking on the shore, kind of like home !” Anderson said. “I got a pretty good left, I didn’t think they would score it but they did so I’m stoked ! It’s good to always get that first heat out of the way.. We came here last year, it was at another beach, but it’s good to be back, everyone’s so friendly it’s totally different to Australia, I love coming to Europe !”
In a close fought battle against her compatriot Van Dijk, Anderson managed to find the best wave of their exchange, an excellent punchy lefthander that came through the line-up around the half-heat mark to give her a decisive advantage and the heat win eventually.
“My coach was whistling on the beach when the set came, so we all padlled out. I was going to get the first one, but it was kind of closing out down the line, I turned back and saw the next one that was peaking only there. I took off and it just ran, I hit it like three times, that was a good score so I’m really glad. The last three Star events I’ve had my best results, there’s always pressure on the last two between the Top10 girls so I’m happy to make it through that first one.”
Tomorrow, event officials and organizers will reconvene at 9am to assess the conditions and decide wether they allow competition to recommence with the Round of 24.
The ASP 6-Star EDP Surf Pro Estoril 2012 presented by Billabong will run from September 21-23 at Praia de Carcavelos, Cascais – Portugal. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to estoril.aspeurope.com.
The EDP Surf Pro Estoril 2012 presented by Billabong is made possible with the support of the following event sponsors: Tourism of Portugal, Estoril, Cascais City Hall, EDP, Billabong and Kia Motors; supported by MEO, CP, Ericeira Surf Shop, Paez, Santini, Vimeiro Waters, XCult, Sintra Gardens, CRCQL, Surf Academy and Surfsolutions; with the following media partners: Sic Radical, Mega Hits, Metro newspaper, Lux Woman, Sport Life, Up Magazine, That’s It, Surftotal, ONFIRE, Puro Feeling, Análise Global and Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Europe.