Remi Arauzo 

The Goanna Pro Tapia, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 1-Star event, got underway today in Tapia, Spain, in four foot (1.2 meter) waves, the eight man-on-man battles of Round 1 bringing an impressive show of classic and progressive longboarding. Being the only event of the year so far on the 2009 ASP European Longboard Tour, the Goanna Pro Tapia is a crucial event that will determine the two wildcards from Europe going to the prestigious Oxbow World Longboard Tour (WLT) events, the equivalent of the ASP World Tour for male longboarders.

Remi Arauzo (FRA), who is one of Europe’s best longboarders, took control of the event posting an impressive 17.17 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) in Heat 3 to defeat other favourite Adam Griffith (GBR) and make his intentions clear towards the crown. Arauzo, who won came up with his custom made aggressive style linking radical cutbacks and vertical turns with the usual nose-rides, was unstoppable opening the exchange with an 8.00 point ride before ing the heat with a 9.17 wave (both out of a possible 10) as nineteen minutes were remaining.

"I am stoked to start the event like that, " Arauzo said. "It is such a great confidence boost to get things going the right way before next rounds and I am really looking forward to qualify for the Oxbow WLT, which is my main goal here, so I aim at making the final at least. I am also here to win the event though, which would be perfect."

Arauzo, who will now meet with outsider Lucien le Ray (FRA) in Quarterfinal No. 2, is seen as a serious contender for both the crown and the qualification.

Other in-form men of the day were British top longboarder Ben Skinner (GBR) and French Alexis Deniel (FRA), the British surfer securing his Quarterfinal ticket with a promising 15.37 point heat result (out of a possible 20), a great performance before going for the title. Deniel, who trained with Arauzo in California and surfed in an event in California where he placed 5th, was in good form and ended up with a 16.83 heat score (out of a possible 20) to advance.

"I am happy to make it through that heat that wasn’t an easy one," Deniel said. "I had a good feeling on my board and I am focused on that qualification. I know things are not going to be easy because everyone is here for that but I am ready and motivated."

Damien Castera (FRA) was the other favourite to advance, the fourth event top seed being able to get to the Quarterfinals easily. With both men and women ready to surf on Day 2 of the Goanna Pro Tapia tomorrow, the pressure will rapidly rise as there is a lot of pressure for the precious spots into the Oxbow WLT and Roxy Women’s World Longboard Championships (WWLC).

GOANNA PRO TAPIA ROUND 1 RESULTS
Heat 1: Ben Skinner (GBR) 15.37 pts Def. Clément le Ray (FRA), 10.67 pts
Heat 2: Gabi Garcia (ESP) 7.03 pts Def. Yohann Anerot (FRA) 6.33 pts
Heat 3: Remi Arauzo (FRA) 17.17 pts Def. Adam Griffith (GBR) 12.16 pts
Heat 4: Lucien Le Ray (FRA) 9.00 pts Def. Dani Alvite (ESP) 5.07 pts
Heat 5: Damien Castera (FRA) 14.64 pts Def. Bruno Charneca (PRT) 8.60 pts
Heat 6: Jeus Del Valle (ESP) 5.07 pts Def. Eurico Gonçalves (PRT) 4.73 pt
Heat 7: Alexis Deniel (FRA) 16.83 pts Def. James Parry (GBR) 10.36 pts
Heat 8: Ricardo Fernandes (ESP) 6.90 pts Def. Diego Garcia Cela (ESP) 3.07 pts

GOANNA PRO TAPIA QUARTERFINALS
Heat 1: Ben Skinner (GBR) Vs Gabi Garcia (ESP)
Heat 2: Remi Arauzo (FRA) Vs Lucien Le Ray (FRA)
Heat 3: Damien Castera (FRA) Vs Jesus Del Valle (ESP)
Heat 4: Alexis Deniel (FRA) Vs Ricardo Fernandes (ESP)


SOURCE: ASP Europe