The Movistar Pantin Classic, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, officially announced its upgrade from a 3-Star to a 5-Star rated competition in the men's division, and will take place from September 2nd to 7th this year.

Pantin, which has been witnessing surfing's greatest talents for almost twenty years now including former 3X ASP World Champion Tom Curren (USA) in the 1990's and current ASP World Tour top surfer CJ Hobgood (USA), is back on the ASP schedule as a crucial stop for the world's best male WQS campaigners.

By upgrading its event to 5 Stars, the Pantin Classic will give all WQS professional surfers including European top representatives another opportunity to clinch valuable ratings' points towards a possible qualification for next year's ASP Top 45.

"We are very proud to offer all surfers another great event this summer," event organiser Marcos Pita Lopez said. "Pantin is one of the oldest pro surfing events in Europe and with its fantastic surfing history, there was no reason it would not come back as a mandatory stop on tour."

The Pantin Classic went from a 3-Star rated event to a 5-Star one in a couple of years, and defending Pantin Classic champion Marlon Lipke (DEU) will be among those attending. Lipke, a leading European surfer on the ASP WQS, will go for a repeat when the tour hits the beautiful coast of Galicia but will have to face a new field of top level opponents compared to last year.

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Europe is very positive about this recent upgrade that will give all regional surfers a great opportunity to battle against an expected solid international contingent and possibly climb up both European and International ratings.

"Pantin started when the ASP regional tour appeared in 1989 and they are still there to support our athletes and the sport," ASP Europe President Dave Mailman said. "European surfing reached its best level ever this year with four of its representatives currently among the ASP Top 45."

"Having another major ASP WQS event in our region helps the upcoming surfers including juniors to cut their teeth against the best, close to or even at home like local Zubizarreta (ESP)," Mailman said.

Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), 23, a former top regional junior surfer and currently ranked No. 42 on the ASP WQS, is a local from Galicia. He will be a favorite at Pantin, one of his home beachbreaks, where the crowd will be a great support to all Spanish surfers attending the event. Among them will be Basque leaders Hodei Collazo (EUK), Eneko and Kepa Acero (EUK) and other longtime regional competitor and local Luis Rodriguez (ESP).

The Pantin Classic will also feature Europe's top female contenders and crown the 2008 ASP Women's European Champion. Pantin has been supporting women's surfing for a decade now and remains one of the last events on the European schedule. Reigning ASP Women's European champion Lee-Anne Curren (FRA) and defending Pantin Classic champion Pauline Ado (FRA) are both expected for this new edition that will run from September 3rd to 7th.       

Source: ASP Europe