RIBEIRA D'ILHAS, Ericeira/Portugal - The Quiksilver Pro Portugal and Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) sanctioned Men’s Star Series event witnessed an overnight increase in swell allowing for a great day of competitive surfing at the legendary point break of Ribeira D’Ilhas.
Lines in the 4-5ft range wrapped along the point producing excellent conditions for the strong international field of athletes. Early morning heats were battered by freezing off-shore winds which abated offering another warm sunny afternoon.
Nic von Rupp (DEU) advanced through to Round Three in a nail-biting finish which saw him claw his way back into second place behind hot favourite Jeremy Flores (FRA). Having qualified in similar circumstances yesterday, Von Rupp is looking to find his feet and develop a better strategy for the remainder of the Quiksilver Pro Portugal.
“The whole stress of the situation makes my knees weigh about twenty kilos more on each leg so I am stoked I got through in the last seconds. Hopefully next heat I’ll start off with a couple of solid scores and then better my scores through the heat.”
“I wish I wouldn’t leave it to the last minute in these heats,” continued von Rupp. “I would like to start off with a couple of waves straight away. I have been progressing as the minutes pass, getting more confident and I am glad I made that heat.”
Coming from the recent ASP Junior World Tour event in Bali and surfing with a heavy brace on his right knee, von Rupp has felt the bitter sweet reality of having to be on dry land while waiting for his injured knee to improve.
“I have been two weeks out of the water now. I had stretched ligaments as soon as I got back from Bali. I was 10 days without surfing and it really made me realise how much I love the sport and how crazy I get without being able to surf. I am just very happy to be in the water and surfing against the best guys on tour makes it even better.”
Turning a lot of heads was the performance of youngster Ian Gouveia (Recife, BRA) 17, son of former WT surfer Fabio, with his first placing to advance also through to Round Three of competition. Building on his scores to finish with two solid rides and a combined heat total of 13.33, Gouveia looked at home in the conditions despite being on his first visit to Portugal.
“I got a couple of good ones for sure. It was a slow heat at the beginning with some sets that came through and I was lucky I got a few good ones when they came.”
No stranger to major ASP Men’s Star Series events, Gouveia is hoping to better his fifth placing last year in Fernando do Noronha.
“I was really happy with the scores,” stated Gouveia. “It feels so good to be here like my dad did and I’m stoked with it. I am sure they are watching at home.”
Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) made his long awaited debut performance in front of an expectant crowd which he did not let down. Surfing in one of the later heats before the high tide, made for trickier conditions forcing Pires to rely on his local knowledge of the break.
“It is a relief to make it through but I have made so many heats out here that I don’t expect to lose this early but you never know what may happen especially in these conditions with the tricky tides today. You have to be careful out there, be very selective and patient. It worked out for me and I won with two average scores but I want to surf better.”
Pires may have been comfortable with the situation however his fellow competitors were out for a full-on battle knowing they had one of the favourites in their heat. Early hasseling was obvious and led to a solution which Pires offered to the guys.
“There was a lot of jostling for position out there in the beginning of the heat and I was getting a bit upset because the guys didn’t want to surf, they just wanted to grab the position on the inside. So it was a bit stressful so I put in a word and said ‘Hey guys, lets surf the heat otherwise we will miss all the waves and be paddling further and further away’”.
The Quiksilver Pro Portugal is offering Pires a chance to try out some of his equipment not usually used in other events. With the demonstration given today he has sent out a clear message that things are starting to come together and another huge result on home soil is possibly on the cards.
“I managed to win the heat with no big scores and I am trying out a board for these conditions. It is not one of my main boards, it is more of a backup, and I don’t use it on the World tour for example. I want to give it a go because it has been working and see how it goes.”
Marc Lacomare (Capbreton, FRA) 20, took full advantage of the clean conditions of his early morning heat by building on his scores and gain confidence as he is recovering from a recent back injury. Finishing off with an excellent series of backhand gouges to obtain an 8.57 out of 10 Lacomare has commenced his Quiksilver Pro Portugal campaign strongly.
“For sure it is good to get through that one and with the strong off-shore it is sometimes difficult out there. The first heat of an event is always tough when you look for which is your best board. I tried to find only the good waves out there and it worked for me today.”
Currently leading the European Men’s Series title race, Lacomare knows the importance of this event due to the fact that we are at stop nº10 of 12 of the title race. Lacomare won the 2009 ASP European Junior Champion and is focused on the Open Title in 2010.
“This is for me a very important contest because it is the end of the season with only a couple of events left. So it is important for me to try and do well here. I hurt my back and today in the water it felt a little better. I haven’t surfed for two weeks so I want to try and go step by step.”
Surfers competing in the Quiksilver Pro Portugal are out to claim valuable ASP World Ranking points in their endeavour to qualify for next year’s elite ASP World Tour. European surfers are on stop nº 10 of 12 in their bid to claim this year’s ASP European Men’s Title.
Quiksilver Pro Portugal Round 2 Results
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.50, Nic von Rupp (DEU) 13.50, Dede Suryana (IDN) 13.17, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 11.64
Heat 2: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 13.33, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 12.00, Chris Salisbury (AUS) 10.16, Francisco Alves (PRT) 9.33
Heat 3: Justin Mujica (PRT) 10.26, Adrien Toyon (REU) 10.10, Charlie Brown (BRA) 9.43, Frederic Robin (REU) 7.66
Heat 4: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 14.07, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 12.67, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 12.40, Alexandre Ferreira (PRT) 8.36
Heat 5: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 15.44, Eneko Acero (EUK) 13.23, Joao Antunes (PRT) 7.50, Demitri Ouvre (FRA) 4.26
Heat 6: Pablo Paulino (BRA) 13.73, Beto Mariano (BRA) 12.23, Romain Laulhe (FRA) 7.77, Alan Stokes (GBR) 5.13
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.00, Klee Strachan (ZAF) 13.70, Marcos Fernandez (BRA) 12.60, Miguel Mouzinho (PRT) 10.53
Heat 8: Jean Da Silva (BRA) 14.33, Mickey Picon (FRA) 12.43, Noboyuki Osawa (JPN) 10.56, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 10.23