Michel Bourez Dominates Opening Day of ASP 6-Star PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro
SAN CLEMENTE, California - The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro saw the opening day of America’s first ASP 6-Star PRIME event end in dramatic fashion when ASP World Tour rookie Michel Bourez (Toahotu, PYF), 23, donated the day’s highest scores for a combined heat total of a near perfect 18.77 out of 20 in the second-to-last heat of the day.
The 6.0 Lowers Pro’s ASP 6-Star PRIME status offers the maximum amount of points available for an ASP WQS event, making the prestigious contest a significant stop on all competitor’s calendar in their quest towards qualification for the coveted ASP World Tour.
Bourez crushed the day’s highest single wave score when he annihilated an amazing Lowers lefthander, blasting several backside turns and earning a near-perfect 9.77 out of 10. The talented Tahitian then capitalized on a beautiful righthand wall and went ballistic on his forehand and donated another nine-point ride for the day’s highest heat total of 18.77 out of 20.
“That left came from nowhere,” Bourez said. “There were no waves in my heat and there was the first wave and the biggest set had came and all of the guys were paddling for it and I let it go. Just behind it was that sick left.”
Bourez had never surfed Lower Trestles before, but he wasted no time in becoming familiar with the coveted pointbreak.
“This is my first time here,” Bourez said. “Lowers is such a good wave and you have the left and the right on the main peak. It’s way different than most spots on the ‘QS because you have time enough to catch one or two of the best sets, so you don’t have to wait or change the way you act in the water.”
The powerful regular-footer is hoping to utilize his time at Lower Trestles as a good practice run before he tackles the world’s best at the Hurley Pro, mainland America’s only ASP World Tour event.
“That was my plan,” Bourez said. “It’s even better for me to come and practice here before the World Tour event, so it’s great. My coach has told me a lot about this wave and I think that’s what helped me in that heat.”
Sebastian Zietz (Hanalei, HI), 21, picked off one of the day’s best righthanders and unleashed a wrath of critical, fins-free turns to earn a 9.43 out of 10 on the way to his heat victory. The progressive regular-footer ped a second solid score of a 7.33 while advancing into the Round of 96.
“I had been looking at it all morning and it has been mostly lefts, but that wave came in and it was just a perfect right,” Zietz said. “Dropping in, I just told myself to calm down and luckily I got a few good turns in on it.”
Zietz claimed the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior last year, which runs in conjunction with the 6.0 Lowers Pro, and has now graduated from ASP Pro Junior competition to full-time ASP WQS status.
“Last year was my last year on the Pro Junior, so now I’m just doing the ‘QS,” Zietz said. “It’s been tough. I had only made one heat so far, so that was the second heat I’ve made this year. It’s definitely a lot tougher at these 6-Stars, the judges are a lot more critical and everybody rips.”
The talented regular-footer is looking to use his Round 1 success to build momentum throughout his 6.0 Lowers Pro campaign.
“It’s good to build up your speed in the early rounds,” Zietz said. “I’m sure if my seed is better for next year that it will be fun to be seeded straight into the later rounds too.”
Luke Dorrington (Coolangatta, AUS), 23, traveled over to the States from Australia on his own dime and the dedicated competitor surfed explosively in his opening round heat.
“Not being sponsored makes you try a bit harder, that’s for sure,” Dorrington said. “I’m just happy to be here and get a spot in the event and Trestles is a great wave, so it’s good to be a part of it.”
The Australian is out to post a solid result at Trestles so he can continue to fund his campaign on The Grind this year.
“I just want to do as many events as I can and make some money,” Dorrington said. “For now, I’m just going event-by-event and am working at home to fund my own trips for the moment.”
6.0 Lowers Pro Round of 96 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.13, Che Stang (USA) 15.10, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.73, Sterling Spencer (USA) 8.40
Heat 2: Micah Byrne (USA) 15.74, Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.53, Jean da Silva (BRA) 10.93, Paulo Moura (BRA) 9.17
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 18.77, William Cardoso (BRA) 9.97, Roy Powers (HAW) 8.04, Alex Smith (HAW) 6.83
Heat 4: Joel Centeio (HAW) 15.23, Chris Ward (USA) 14.87, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 12.46, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 9.90