Dantas, Howse and Melling Lead Top Seeds' Charge in Azores Islands Pro
RIBEIRA GRANDE, Sao Miguel – Azores islands – The second day of action of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event saw twenty heats run in smaller but still consistent four to five foot (1.2 to 1.5 meter) waves, Round 1 being completed before event top seeds could paddle out to get their campaign started. While Gold Coast resident Brent Dorrington (AUS) was dominating the last battles of first round, event favorites could get ready for their opening encounters.
After a morning of tricky heats where competitors had difficulties to get over the 13.00 point result mark except for Dorrington’s solid 16.00-point performance, Round 2 brought another standard of surfing with top seeds stepping-up to score big. Brazil’s Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), 19, was unquestionably the day’s standout posting a near perfect 9.83 point ride en route to winning Heat 6 with the best result of the event thus far, 18.33 points (out of a possible 20) to start off his event run.
“It was a good heat for me and to start an event with a high-scoring result is definitely good,” Dantas said. “That wave walled up pretty well and I went for classic and powerful turns and it paid off so I am really happy with my run. I broke my board this morning and had to get a new one for that heat. Apparently it is working pretty well!”
Dantas, who opened his European campaign with an equal 3rd at Newquay, and made the final of the Pro Junior event at Lacanau two weeks ago, remains one of the favorites at any location and showed he could adapt his fast on-the-rail surfing to bigger conditions. Being one of the youngest surfers in the event, Dantas will be much expected for a second battle tomorrow.
“It’s great to come to this new place and get to surf bigger conditions,” Dantas said. “I am hanging out with my friends here Patrick (Beven) and co. and we are having a good time. Let’s see how things go for me and the guys in the next few days, hopefully the same way as today.”
Dantas, along with fellow Brazilian and ASP Top 45 surfer Heitor Alves (BRA), 26, showed the Brazilian contingent was in excellent form, confirming Monteiro’s stellar start on Day 1 of competition. But Australian surfers were not left apart, hitting back with great surfing to post some of the day’s best results, experienced surfer and former ASP Top 45 member Jarrad Howse (New South Wales, AUS) flying the flag from Down Under.
Howse, a dangerous competitor renowned for his smart approach and solid-wave ss, used his talent to secure a first heat win in the ASP WQS 6-Star event today. After suffering an early elimination at Lacanau in tricky conditions, Howse a.k.a “Howsy” got back to his best level today posting a couple of high eight pointers at the start of his encounter with Americans Austin Ware (USA), Che Stang (USA) and Shaun Ward (USA).
“I had been watching those lefts all day and asked the locals about the tides to try and figure out where to sit,” Howse said. “Backhand is a strength for me so I worked to get those waves and got a couple of good size lefts and it was fun.”
Howse, who ended-up netting a 16.50 point heat total at the end of his 30-minute heat, could leaving the water with confidence. At 30 years of age, Howse remains a consistent and smart tactician when it comes to competition and will be one to count with towards the business end of the first ever ASP Sanctionned event to be held in the Azores Islands.
“I just put Lacanau behind me where it kind of came down to the conditions really and I didn’t get a chance,” Howse said. “I went to Hossegor, got some fun waves and worked on my equipment and technique so I feel good and I’m happy it is overhead. It’s my first time in the Azores and it is a cool place, so I am stoked right now.”
While much expected top seed Luke Munro (Gold Coast, AUS) was suffering an early elimination, it was current ASP WQS No. 4 Adam Melling (Gold Coast, AUS), 24, who closed the twenty-heat action packed day with another stunning performance posting 17.47 points to advance. Melling, who opened with an 8.10 point ride to confidently get his roll going, was left away from advancing for over twenty minutes not finding any second serious score until the Australian man found a last minute spectacular wave to break the roof and get the day’s second best wave result of 9.37 points.
“I wasn’t very confident until I got that last good one because everyone sort of had a pretty big score,” Melling said. “That righthander was hard to catch and that I thought abou sitting down on the left halfway through the heat but I was stuck on the right and luckily that good one came.”
Melling, who has had his best year so far on the Grind, re-confirmed his status of favorite using his near to perfect style to carve and go vertical on his best two rides unleashing his ss to post another promising performance in front of the local crowds.
“I like it when it’s a bit more power even if it closing out a bit more,” Melling said. “It’s cool to come here, it’s a beautiful place and eventhough it’s far from home, I am enjoying my time here. I am looking to better a couple of results and my low ones so hopefully I can get a good finish here and try and get as much points as possible.”
Also securing their Round 3 berth today were WQS front runners Austin Ware (California, USA), Drew Courtney (AUS) and Travis Logie (ZAF), along with dangerous rising surfer from Uruguay Marco Giorgi (URY). Officials will re-assess for a new call tomorrow at 8 AM. Sixteen heats remain before the event moves towards its business end.
The ASP WQS 6-Star Azores Pro is web LIVE at www.aspeurope.com, where all news, photos and results are available.
AZORES ISLANDS PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.17 pts, Blake Jones (USA) 8.20 pts, Maxime Huscenot (REU) 5.43 pts, Norman Landa (EUK) 5.43 pts
Heat 2: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.66 pts, Jarrad Sullivan (AUS) 14.60 pts, Luke Munro (AUS) 9.67 pts, Daniel Redman (ZAF) 8.37 pts
Heat 3: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 13.30 pts, Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.37 pts, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 10.07 pts, Yuri Sodre (BRA) 10.06 pts
Heat 4: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 12.27 pts, Justin Mujica (PRT) 9.00 pts, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.36 pts, Brian Toth (PRI) 6.23 pts
Heat 5: Drew Courtney (AUS) 12.77 pts, Chad Du Toit (ZAF) 11.67 pts, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 10.70 pts, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 10.10 pts
Heat 6: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 18.33 pts, Marco Polo (BRA) 10.74 pts ,Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 9.60 pts, Christophe Allary (REU) 8.90 pts
Heat 7: Jarrad Howse (AUS) 16.50 pts, Austin Ware (USA) 12.10 pts, Che Stang (USA) 11.66 pts, Shaun Ward (USA) 8.50 pts
Heat 8: Adam Melling (AUS) 17.47 pts, Marco Giorgi (URY) 15.67 pts, Mark Mathews (AUS) 15.07 pts, TJ Barron (HAW) 9.53 pts