Qualification Crunch Time at O’Neill World Cup of Surfing

SUNSET BEACH, Hawaii - The hopes of 13 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfers of making the cut for the elite 2009 ASP World Tour were dashed at Sunset Beach as they were eliminated from the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing.

As the final ASP WQS event of 2008, this was their last hope of securing the ratings points required to make the leap up. Extremely difficult surf in the eight-to-twelve foot (3 - 4 metre) range made it particularly tough for those under pressure.

The surfers who failed to make the cut today were: Brett Simpson (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Heitor Alves (BRA), Shaun Cansdell (AUS), Pablo Paulino (BRA), Nathan Yeomans (USA), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Leigh Sedley (AUS), Adam Meilling AUS), Adam Robertson (AUS) and Pedro Henrique (BRA).

Also eliminated today was last week’s Reef Hawaiian Pro champion Michel Bourez (Tahiti) and runner-up Jihad Khodr (Brazil), thus, leaving the door open for Kekoa Bacalso (Hawaii) and Dusty Payne (Hawaii) to take the overall Vans Triple Crown of Surfing lead. Payne and Bacalso will be surfing in the Round of 64 when competition resumes.

Still in contention for qualification are: Marlon Lipke (DEU), David Weare (ZAF), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Phillip MacDonald (AUS), Hizunome Bettero (BRA), Simao Romao (BRA), Shaun Gossman (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Rodrigo Dornellas (BRA) and Sunny Garcia (HAW).

Garcia, who was the 2000 ASP World Champ and a six-time Vans Triple Crown champion, needs to make the Final and place highly to qualify. The 38-year-old Hawaiian has a great chance considering he has previously won this event twice and has tons of experience at Sunset Beach.

Experience helped Marcus Hickaman, 29, nab the highest heat total of the day, 16.50 out of 20. Hickman also posted the highest scoring wave of the day, an 8.33 out of 10.