Hawaii’s Ezekiel Lau gouging his way in to the Round of 48 at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro.
Praia de Santa Bárbara, Sao Miguel/Azores Islands (Wednesday, September 4, 2013) – The ASP Prime SATA Airlines Azores Pro recommenced this morning in bumpy 2 foot surf to complete the remaining eight heats of the opening round before going on-hold during approximately two hours at full tide. Competition then entered the second round early this afternoon in pumping 3-4 foot waves and saw dominating performances from World Championship Tour surfers.
Brett Simpson (USA) 28, wasted no time to open his wave account in the second heat of the Round of 48, netting an excellent 8.00 point ride, on his first wave. He kept chasing the beautiful lefts on offer away from his competitors to eventually net a near perfect 9.13 and seal the deal.
“That’s all rhythm right there, I picked to surf a little better wave away from the crowd and there was a couple lefts,” Simpson said. “It’s probably one of the better heats all together I’ve had in awhile. It felt nice and luckily we got some fun, clean little waves. This wave tends to trick you, you see it outside and then it moves back and forth, so I was just trying to stick to the lefts, I like to use my backhand when it’s small.”
Alejo Muniz (BRA) 23, talented young Brazilian from Santa Catarina, opened fire first in the second round this afternoon, netting an excellent 9.17 out of 10 for his flawless surfing on the beautiful peaks on offer at Praia de Santa Barbara.
“I had a really tough heat yesterday on the high tide,” stated Muniz. “You always want to surf well, whether you make it or not, so my strategy today was to just surf better and put together two big scores. My brother and I are starting to travel together now that he’s on the Qualifying Series and he’s doing good, I’m impressed. He’s been coaching me since January and it’s been great!”
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 23, defending runner-up at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro, was impatient to get the ball rolling in this year’s edition of the event, and made the most out of a tricky lineup to advance into the second round. The Brazilian looked on point in the peaky beachbreaks and will be one to reckon with when competition recommences in expected bigger conditions. Surfing only five waves throughout the 30 minute heat, Dantas selected carefully and built momentum on every wave he took, peaking with his best two scores on his last two tries.
“I chose a couple good ones, I’ve been patient and trying to sit in the right spot,” Dantas confirmed. “Coming from a second place here last year I’m feeling confident. My boards work really good, and Europe for me is like home, I’ve trained a lot in similar waves in Brazil so I’m ready to take on the challenge.”
Frederico Morais (PRT) 21, recent finalist in Lacanau and leader of the new Portuguese generation, dominated his round of 96 bout and confirmed his excellent form in 2013. Event wildcard in the event, Morais has nothing to lose in Azores and will try to impose his backhand powerful approach to move through more heats.
“I’m stoked to make my first heat in a Prime, it was a tough one,” Morais said. “Conditions are not easy so I’m stoked and I can’t wait for the next round. My bet was on the lefts like in Lacanau, I went out there doing pretty much the same thing and it’s been working so I’ll keep going! That board is old, I’ve had it since last year on the juniors, it’s my magic board for small waves, a flyer from Al Merrick and it still works great! I’ve tried to make some exact same boards but it never really is the same than the original.”
Granger Larsen (HAW) 23, currently sitting just outside the qualification zone on the world rankings, opened his Azorean campaign with a win this morning. A former 9th place finisher in Azores, Larsen will be looking to better his previous result to solidify his season tally before the last two events at home in Hawaii.
“I was kind of nervous this morning, I had a freesurf that wasn’t very good,” Larsen said. “It was pretty small but I got a couple of lucky 7s that made me win the heat so I’m pretty happy about that! This is my third year in a row in this position on the World Rankings before Hawaii, I’m hoping to do really well here to help out in my campaign to try and qualify for the world tour.”
Charles Martin (GLP) 23, current leader of the European rankings, confirmed his recently found excellent form by advancing through to the round of 48 in first position ahead of Mitch Crews (AUS).
“That first heat is always complicated, especially coming from a win in Lacanau, because each event is a new one and very different,” Martin commented. “I arrived here a little stressed and even last night I was feeling a little under the weather, so I’m happy to make it through. Waves here are very special, quite hollow but not very powerful at that size so I changed boards since the last event and it worked out great. I’m going to do my best here, see how far I can go. My dream’s always been to qualify, I want to get on the Dream Tour and get barreled!”
Organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30AM to re-assess conditions for the third day of the ASP Prime SATA Airlines Azores Pro.
The ASP Prime Men’s SATA Airlines Azores Islands Pro is scheduled from September 3-8, 2013 in Sao Miguel, Azores Islands. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to www.aspeurope.com/azores.
SATA Airlines Azores Pro presented by Sumol 2013 is organized by DAAZ Events and Atlantic Action Sports Association, with the support of the following event partners: SATA Airlines, Azores Tourism, Ribeira Grande City Hall, Sumol, MOCHE, MEO, Vip Executive Açores Hotel, FUEL TV, RFM, RTP, Jornal i, Surf Total, Surf Portugal, ONFIRE, Beachcam and Puro Feeling.
REMAINING SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND OF 48 MATCHUPS:
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Granger Larsen (HAW), Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Damien Hobgood (USA) Heat 10: Ezekiel Lau (BRA), Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY), Frederico Morais (PRT), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA), Charles Martin (GLP), Jay Thompson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA) Heat 12: Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS), David Do Carmo (BRA), Nathan Hedge (AUS)
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND OF 48 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.47, Cooper Chapman (USA) 15.16, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 13.77, Perth Standlick (AUS) 8.43 Heat 2: Brett Simpson (USA) 17.13, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 13.43, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 12.40, Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.40 Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 17.27, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.87, Steven Pierson (PYF) 15.37, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 14.60 Heat 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 16.03, Adam Melling (AUS) 15.10, Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.06, Cory Arrambide (USA) 13.20 Heat 5: C.J Hobgood (USA) 16.43, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 15.50, Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.96, Torrey Meister (HAW) 13.50 Heat 6: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 14.73, Brian Toth (PRI) 13.84, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.83, Messias Felix (BRA) 13.40 Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.70, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 14.17, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 12.10, Vicente Romero (ESP) 11.87 Heat 8: Joan Duru (FRA) 14.87, Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.57, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.03, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.97
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND OF 96 RESULTS:
Heat 17: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.60, Ezekiel Lau (BRA) 13.20, Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 9.93, Jano Belo (BRA) 8.90 Heat 18: Granger Larsen (HAW) 14.63, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 12.43, Gavin Gillette (HAW) 9.60, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 7.04 Heat 19: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.17, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 11.56, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 10.51, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 10.23 Heat 20: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 14.33, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.50, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 11.27, Matt-Lewis Hewitt (NZL) 8.70 Heat 21: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.43, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 13.77, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 11.90, Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.67 Heat 22: Charles Martin (GLP) 12.37, Mitch Crews (AUS) 11.37, Cody Thompson (USA) 11.10, Michael Dunphy (USA) 9.47 Heat 23: David Do Carmo (BRA) 13.67, Jay Thompson (AUS) 13.50, Bino Lopes (BRA) 11.83, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 11.00 Heat 24: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 13.43, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.30, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.40, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 8.76