Alejo Muniz wins the 2009 Estoril Coast Pro 

Brazil’s wunderkind Alejo Muniz (BRA) won the ASP WQS 6-Star Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 event today finishing on top of the final encounter against fellow finalist Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), clinching crucial 2500 ratings’ points and a US$ 25.000 cheque, the richest winner’s prize of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS). Muniz, who went through five rounds today defeating favorites and ASP Dream Tour members Tim Boal (FRA) and Marlon Lipke (DEU) on his way to the final, secured his best result to date in Portugal and gets his 2009 ASP season going with a significant confidence boost.

Muniz, 19, whose talent and performances already rocketed him to the status of Braziliam surfing’s next best thing, dominated the Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 througout the week coming out on top of the pack with a couple of 9.60 point rides and an impressive 18.60 point heat combination on Day 3 of competition. Despite the tricky conditions of the final day, Muniz not only showed technical skills but came-up with solid tactics and maturity using his natural talent to defeat two of the world’s best surfers.

“I am just so happy I cannot even realize what I have done right now,” Muniz said. “My only wish coming here was to have fun as much as I could and enjoy my surfing in any kind of waves. It is the perfect day for me and I managed to get the best out of these conditions so I could not have hoped for anymore.”

Muniz, who will be surfing a few ASP WQS events this year, remains focused on his preogression as a junior surfer still and will use the precious 2500 points to build his seeding for 2010 where he shall be a serious contender towards a possible ASP World Tour qualification in the near future. Muniz finishes the Estoril Quiksilver Pro with six of the best 10 results under his belt, a good sign of his potential.

“Defeating Tim (Boal) and Marlon (Lipke) is something I will remember for some time,” Muniz said. “I felt a bit of pressure facing such good surfers but I really thought that focusing on my pleasure and having fun could get me somewhere. I think that’s my biggest lesson from this event.”

Fellow finalist Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), 27, became the first Japanese ever to make the final of an ASP WQS 6-Star event, the experienced competitor being another great surprise in the event after he defeated favorites Joan Duru (FRA) and Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) on his run to the final, two of Europe’s best chances for an ASP Top 45 inception. Ohno, who was running out of energy in the 30-minute decider, heads to Scotland with another keeper for his ASP World Tour qualification.

“I wanted to win and I lacked this last section on my final wave to grab the 6.00 points I needed to get back in the lead,” Ohno said. “It is my best result ever and I am so happy to do well here in Portugal, one of the European countries I like most. Alejo (Muniz) was impressive for sure but I was not far from clinching that crown. Definitely an excellent finish before the next event and a keeper for my main goal which is the ASP World Tour.”

Ohno, who was coming from an equal 5th place finish in Tasmania, leaves Portugal’s surf coast of Estoril with valuable 2188 ratings’ points and will be much expected in the upcoming events where he can certainly cause some damage.

Romain Cloitre (REU), 20, got his best result ever today by reaching the Semifinals of the ASP WQS 6-Star event, the Reunion island born surfer and former ASP European Junior champion confirming his rise in the last couple of years. Cloitre, whose best result was an equal 17 in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in France last year, managed to defeat one of the event’s inform men Heat Joske (AUS), 20, in Round 5 before bettering Morocco’s representative Abdel El Harim (MAR) in the Quarterfinals.

“It’s been a tough week with the waves and I am a bit disappointed not to make the final,” Cloitre said. “Masatoshi (Ohno) definitely got the better waves and surfed them well and I think I lacked a bit of luck during the heat and did not have a great wave choice so I did not deserve to win that one heat.”

Cloitre, who used his renowned tactics and great competitive abilities to make it all the way through to the final four, heads to Scotland with a serious confidence boost and will be much expected on the hollow reefbreaks of Thurso’s area next week.

“It is my best result ever and I am stoked with this equal 3rd still,” Cloitre said. “It’s been a year only since I am full time on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) and eventhough it is sometimes hard to get eliminated first heat, it seems like the experience is paying off. I hadn’t had any big result yet and it is just great for my confidence for this year.”

Other Semifinalist to miss out on the final today was ASP World Tour member and first German ever to qualify for the elite Marlon Lipke (DEU). Lipke, who was ousted by 19-year-old phenomenon Muniz in a wave-starved heat, left the water disappointed with his Semifinal run.

“I wish I could have got just one good wave to express my surfing and defend my chances,” Lipke said. “It’s been a good week with a great day at Guincho and I had good fun watching my friends Tim (Boal, equal 5th) and Joan (Duru, equal 9th) surf so well. I think Joan is the revelation this year.”

The ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) now move to Scotland for the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime rated competition will start April 29, 2009
 
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ESTORIL QUIKSILVER PRO FINAL
1st, Alejo Muniz (BRA), 13.00 pts
2nd, Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), 12.37 pts

ESTORIL QUIKSILVER PRO SEMIFINALS
Heat 1: Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 15.67 pts Def. Romain Cloitre (REU) 8.83 pts
Heat 2: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.83 pts Def. Marlon Lipke (DEU) 11.73 pts

ESTORIL QUIKSILVER PRO QUARTERFINALS
Heat 1: Romain Cloitre (REU) 13.00 pts Def. Abdel El Harim (MAR) 9.67 pts
Heat 2: Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 15.67 pts Def. Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 12.00 pts
Heat 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.93 pts Def. Tim Boal (FRA) 11.57 pts
Heat 4: Marlon Lipke (DEU) 11.57 pts Def. Renato Galvao (BRA) 8.40 pts


SOURCE: ASP Europe