PANTIN, Spain – It was another day of intense action at Pantin as the ASP WQS 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic advanced through three rounds to decide its eight quarterfinalists in great five to six foot (1.5 to 2 meter) waves, favorites confirming their hold on proceedings with defending champion and best scorer today William Cardoso (BRA), 23, leading the assault. Much expected by all as the best day of the waiting period, this action-packed Thursday put Pantin back on the map of solid wave locations, some sets easily reaching the eight-foot range for another world-class surfing show webcast live and watched by thousands around the world.
Cardoso, ranked No. 18 before the Movistar Pantin Classic and already guaranteed to better his overall points’ total, was unstoppable throughout three consecutive heats today. Beating fellow Brazilian surfer Jean Da Silva (BRA), rising Australian competitor Heath Joske (AUS), experienced tactician Kieran Horn (USA) and Alain Riou (PYF) to secure himself a ticket into the Quarterfinals, Cardoso was at ease in the big waves using his custom-made power-surfing to post a promising 15.67 point heat result (out of a possible 20) and advance.
“I am so happy to get through three rounds today and finish with a big scoring result,” Cardoso said. “I’ve had a good roll this summer and it’s like a special thing between Pantin and myself as I seem to be getting the waves I need every heat. I had a game plan after watching the conditions a lot this afternoon and I stuck to the right-handers which gave me the best scoring potential.”
Cardoso, who was rocketed in the spotlights of the international surfing stage after winning the Movistar Pantin Classic in 2008, became a serious contender for the coveted ASP WQS Top 15 this year after winning the inaugural ASP WQS 6-Star Azores Islands Pros in the end of august, and confirmed he was in excellent form to defend his title. A win this week would mean a crucial step towards his ultimate goal, the 2010 ASP Dream Tour qualification.
“Winning that event in the Azores was amazing but as I’ve said before, every event is a whole different story with new opponents, new conditions and boards sometimes,” Cardoso said. “I changed my lucky board from the Azores today and I am actually so stoked with it because it worked perfectly in today’s surf. I hope I can build momentum and carry on tomorrow.”
Displaying smart heat game and getting back to his expected level today, Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 20, was one of the eight best competitors today defeating Brandon Jackson (ZAF) in Round 5. Duru, who had a couple of shockers losing first round in both Azores and Zarautz, is looking to better his current ASP WQS No. 7 rank at Pantin to keep his ASP Dream Tour campaign going smoothly.
“The waves were pretty fun and I am happy to get back in a winning form,” Duru said. “I just paddled out there relaxed to get some good waves and got what I was looking for so it’s all going well. I was sick in the last event, got the flu and had fever when competing so I am back in good form and looking for at least a semifinal berth here.”
Duru, who won his biggest ASP WQS title in August at Lacanau in similar consistent surf, showed the ASP judging panel he was fit and ready to score big, the Ondres resident netting a couple of high sevens en route to the quarterfinals where he will meet Australian-Irish competitor Glenn Hall (IRL).
Glenn Hall (IRL), ranked No. 16 so far with his best year ever on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), came back to basics getting the job done in style with the day’s best heat result in Round 4 before wrapping-up the deal against South African experienced surfer Antonio Bortoletto (Durban, ZAF).
“I am feeling great and so stoked to make the Quarterfinals again,” Hall said. “I’ve had such a good time hanging around the events in Europe and as I said at Zarautz, I feel like I am surfing at my best these days. I have really good boards and I guess it is giving me confidence to push my turns more and get the points. I surfed more on my forehand today mixing both sides to try and show my game and it’s been going pretty well.”
Hall, who is as well guaranteed to better his overall total dropping an 875 point result for a minimum 1300 points’ finish here, will have to send Duru packing to get another semifinal berth after Newquay and in Zarautz, a much expected clash to occur in Quarterfinal No. 4.
“I’ve known Joan (Duru) for years and he is a really nice guy so I am looking forward to surfing against him and having a good time tomorrow,” Hall said. “I’ve had a couple of thirds already this year and I am aiming at a win here. You are always happy to make the semifinals but I still want to have a shot at the event title and this means making the final.”
Completing the lucky-eight contingent who will get to surf in the Quarterfinals tomorrow are local hero Gony Zubizarreta (Vigo, ESP), solid surfer Dion Atkinson (New South Wales, AUS), Shaun Gossmann (Gold Coast, AUS), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) and Luke Munro (AUS). Another call will be made at 10.30 AM tomorrow Friday.
MOVISTAR PANTIN CLASSIC UPCOMING QUARTERFINALS
Heat 1: Luke Munro (AUS) Vs Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 2: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) Vs Shaun Gossmann (AUS)
Heat 3: Dion Atkinson (AUS) Vs William Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 4: Joan Duru (FRA) Vs Glenn Hall (IRL)