RIBEIRA D’ILHAS/ERICEIRA, Portugal — Tuesday’s opening day of the ASP PRIME Quiksilver Pro Portugal witnessed two intense sessions of surfing separated by the high tide with Nat Young leading the stacked international field of elite surfers in rippable 3 to 4-foot right-handers at Ribera D’Ilhas, states a release from the Association of Surfing Professionals.
The ASP PRIME Quiksilver Pro Portugal offers massive points and has attracted a selection of the world’s finest competitors looking to qualify or maintain their position on the ASP World Tour. European surfers are also out to gain the added points on offer for the ASP European Men’s Series.
Young was on fire as he attacked the main peak with a savage backhand attack that saw him in total sync with the ocean to consistently find the better waves of the 30-minute clash. After discarding several solid-scoring waves, Young amassed a two-wave heat total of 16.97 out of 20 including a near perfect 9.10.
“There are waves similar to this definitely where I live and I thought that I was in rhythm every time I paddled back out,” Young said. “I would catch a wave and it was a lot of fun. Everything just kind of went my way which was awesome.”
Young, 19, whose heat total is the highest of the event, suddenly finds himself as the form surfer at the Quiksilver Pro Portugal with the added pressure that goes along with a display of such caliber. Young’s backhand surfing was lightning fast with massive hacks in the pocket combined with speed and flow to complete the judging criteria to a tee.
“Hopefully I can do the same in the next heat the same as I did now,” Young said. “You can tell which ones have got the good walls and they are the ones you want so hopefully I can do it again in a couple more heats. Sometimes you get a high score in your heat and then there is a bit more pressure in the next one but big scores also give you confidence as well.”
Young, sitting No. 52 on the ASP World rankings after a result-starved first half of the season, hopes to focus ahead to the end of the year knowing his chances of making the mid-year cut to enter the elite ASP World Tour are slim.
Quiksilver Pro Portugal top seed Jeremy Flores current elite ASP World Tour ranked No. 11, cruised to a comfortable win in his first appearance after opening his account with two consecutive high-scoring waves after his heat had been placed on hold for over four hours due to the high tide.
Flores worked the long right-handers connecting rail-to-rail snaps and speed floaters to link through to the inside bowl. A recent illness was not evident as Flores powered all his turns to their maximum potential.
“I got a blood infection in Brazil and I was stuck there for 10 days and now I have just come back from a week at home on Reunion Island and I was stoked to be back home and see my family and my friends I hadn’t seen in several years,” he said.
Gabriel Medina, the recent ASP PRIME event winner in Brazil who is currently ranked No. 27 on the ASP World rankings and inside the 32-man cut-off point, advanced through to Round 2 after a slow start that eventually built momentum to finish his last wave with a series of backhand snaps to secure an 8.00 out of 10 and a combined heat total of 15.10.
“I feel good and it is good to get through that heat,” Medina said. “Having Jihad (Khodr) with me in the same heat was fun and I have learned things from him because he was on the World Tour for a long time. I feel confident at the moment but I don’t think too much about qualifying right now.”
Pat Gudauskas managed to brush off a nagging neck injury to rack up a series of forehand gouges to secure an 8.50 out of 10, one of the highest single-wave scores of the day. Failing to find a solid backup score, Gudauskas placed second behind a fired-up Tiago Camarao.
American Austin Ware, up first in heat No. 1, relied on his experience, wave selection and hard hitting forehand surf to advance comfortably ahead of Dimitri Ouvre in a stacked heat that saw former ASP World champion C.J. Hobgood eliminated in fourth position.
Ouvre, an event wildcard at the Quiksilver Pro Portugal, snagged a peeling right-hander in the last part of the heat to lay down several critical snaps to claim a 6.90 and jump into second position. In a wave-hungry encounter that saw a total of 36 waves ridden, Ouvre was ecstatic with his pass through to Round 2 of competition.
“It is a dream for me to be in a heat with C.J. (Hobgood) and all the other goofy footers,” he said. “I want to thank Quiksilver for the wildcard into this contest because it is important for my surfing and for my ranking next year.”
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Remaining Quiksilver Pro
Portugal Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 17: Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Jay Quinn (NZL), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 18: Tanner Gadauskas (USA), Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Diego Rosa (BRA)
Heat 19: Gabe Kling (USA), Marc Lacomare (FRA), Davey Cathels (AUS), Charles Martin (GLP)
Heat 20: Heitor Alves (BRA), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Pedro Henrique (BRA), Nic von Rupp (DEU)
Heat 21: Julian Wilson (AUS), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), Joan Duru (FRA), Medi Veminardi (REU)
Heat 22: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS), Jano Belo (BRA), Eneko Acero (EUK)
Heat 23: Dion Atkinson (AUS), Hizunome Bettero (BRA), Eric Geiselman (USA), Vincent Duvignac (FRA)
Heat 24: Tiago Pires (PRT), Bernardo Miranda (BRA), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Filipe Jervis (PRT)
Quiksilver Pro Portugal
Round 1 Results
Heat 1: Austin Ware (USA) 14.63, Dimitri Ouvre (BRB) 11.73, Blake Thorton (AUS) 11.20, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.17
Heat 2: Richard Christie (NZL) 13.50, Ben Dunn (AUS) 12.83, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 11.27, Adrien Toyon (REU) 10.47
Heat 3: Cory Lopez (USA) 12.93, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.53, Robson Santos (BRA) 10.56, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 8.27
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.10, Jihad Khodr (BRA) 12.77, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 9.83, Nate Yeomans (USA) 9.60
Heat 5: Tiago Camarao (BRA) 15.10, Pat Gudauskas (USA) 14.33, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 11.24, Hugo Savalli (REU) 7.60
Heat 6: Junior Faria (BRA) 11.60, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.20, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 10.77, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 10.73
Heat 7: Nat Young (USA) 16.97, Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.77, Messias Felix (BRA) 12.04, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 11.67
Heat 8: Heath Joske (AUS) 13.17, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.60, Dale Staples (ZAF) 10.60, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 10.26
Heat 9: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 11.83, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 11.27, Jack Perry (AUS) 9.64, William Cardoso (BRA) 9.30
Heat 10: Granger Larsen (HAW) 13.86, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 11.90, Kai Barger (HAW) 11.77, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 9.27
Heat 11: Billy Stairmand (NZL) 14.67, Andre Silva (BRA) 13.47, Mason Ho (HAW) 9.37, Brian Toth (PRI) 6.71
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.26, John John Florence (HAW) 11.74, Dylan Graves (PRI) 11.20, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 8.87
Heat 13: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 14.33, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 12.50, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 11.84, Brett Simpson (USA) 10.26
Heat 14: Tim Boal (FRA) 12.37, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.63, Mickey Picon (FRA) 9.86, Charlie Brown (BRA) 8.97
Heat 15: Alain Riou (PYF) 13.77, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.20, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.74, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.60
Heat 16: Ruda Carvalho (BRA) 11.16, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.67, Adam Robertson (AUS) 9.37, Yuri Sodre (BRA) 8.27