Dion Atkinson 

It was another day of intense competition for the Azores Islands Pro, fifteen heats being completed in four foot (1.2 meter) tricky conditions where patience and heat tactics made a clear difference. While the event moved into its last twenty-four-man round today after completing Round 3, some exciting clashes took place at Ribeira Grande as the number of potential title contenders dropped again from fourty-eight to twenty-two. As two days only remain before the first ever Azores Islands Pro champion is crowned, the weekend showdown is already guaranteed to deliver world-class levels of surfing.

While current ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) leaders were advancing easily through to Round 4 of competition, elite ASP Top 45 members Heitor Alves (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Nic Muscroft (AUS) and Drew Courtney (AUS) were all eliminated. Leaving no chance to their opponents today were much expected surfers Jadson Andre (BRA) and Dion Atkinson (AUS), the two men ruling proceedings with the best heat results of the day to advance through their respective battles.

Jadson Andre (BRA), 19, a surfing prodigy that appeared on the international stage last year, struck again today to secure his Round 4 berth with a solid 15.76 point total ahead of Yadin Nicol (Western Australia, AUS). Andre, renowned for his spectacular progressive surfing, popped up a couple of flying maneuvers to set pace during his thirty-minute game posting an 8.17 point ride to seal the deal and find himself amongst the last twenty contenders for the crown.

“I am pretty stoked to get away with that win here and finding the better waves,” Andre said. “I thank all the people in Brazil for sending me this positive energy and I am looking to do well in this event. Hopefully tomorrow gets a bit bigger so we can get the chance to surf the same kind of conditions we had at the start of the week, solid and powerful.”

Andre, ranked No. 2 on the international WQS ratings before the event, has been one of the most impressive surfers this year winning an ASP WQS 6-Star Prime rated event in April and securing several major results to take his overall ratings’ points total to 13350, a promising step to qualify for next year’s ASP World Tour.

“I am looking to drop one low result still and I will try as hard as I can tomorrow to grab a spot into the finals,” Andre said. “I know it is looking good for me at this stage but the year is long still and I want to get as much points as possible. I am definitely aiming at winning this event.”

Andre’s performance showed the Brazilian native had the skills to claim the event if he manages to keep things rolling this way. He will face solid soliders Jay Thompson (AUS) and Dusty Payne (HAW) in a three-man battle tomorrow.

Having shown great consistency since the start of his campaign in the ASP WQS 6-Star Azores Islands Pro, Dion Atkinson had opened the day with another promising result, the Australian surfer currently ranked No. 21 being one of four surfers to advance through two rounds today after getting away with a second place in the first 3-man bout of the event. Atkinson, who first came to Europe in 2005, has been rising as a potential elite ASP Top 45 qualifier for a couple of years now and will better his lowest result by the end of this event giving a good opportunity to step-up in the hierarchy.

“It felt good to capitalize again and keep my run going today,” Atkinson said. “I lost in the three-man round last time and it is sort a scary round you want to get past it. It’s good to make few heats and get a bit of money as well. It was pretty good moment when my heat paddled out this morning but it was again the same kind of waves and all you’ve got to do is find the better sections.”

Atkinson, who left another good impression on the ASP judging panel, was at ease in the same tricky waves dealing perfectly with the currents and wave-positioning which was crucial again today.

“That left is really contestable and there is a lot of power out there,” Atkinson said. “There isn’t that much current but while in a heat the people just force everyone deep and it’s hard to pick a spot and get the right sections. I kind of got lucky in my heat and sat in the middle and got some waves.”

Atkinson, who posted the second excellent 8.83 point ride of his Azores Islands campaign, used his powerful backhand attack to oust his opponents and will get to surf in the second One-to-one match-up of the event against other ratings’ top surfer Travis Logie (Durban, ZAF), 30, when Round 5 resumes.

Coming back from an eye infection that forced him to pull out of the previous event was former ASP Top 45 competitor Royden Bryson (ZAF), the 26-year-old man unleashing his talent to get a 9.17 point wave score from the professional judges. Bryson, who was close to pulling out from the event a couple of days ago due to his eye still hurting him, managed to focus back on his surf and left his fellow heat contenders away from a win, advancing through to Round 4 of competition in good form.

“I am just happy you know, after almost four weeks with no surf,” Bryson said. “Yesterday was my second surf only since I got that eye problem and I was thinking of not surfing as it was not getting any better. But it seems like it’s starting to heal and I managed to get the feeling back for that heat today. It’s great to feel good on the board and get some scores.”

Advancing today were three European surfers, national hero Tiago Pires (PRT), Jean-Sébastien Estienne (BLM) and Hodei Collazo (EUK), who will all meet in a single battle where two of them only will get the chance to surf in the One-to-one match-ups.

The ASP WQS 6-Star Azores Pro is webcast LIVE at www.aspeurope.com, where all news, photos and results are available.

AZORES ISLANDS PRO ROUND 4 REMAINING HEATS
Heat 4: Jarrad Howse (AUS), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 5: Brent Dorrington (AUS), Owen Wright (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 6: Jay Thompson (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 7: Royden Bryson (ZAF), Kai Barger (HAW), Jean Da Silva (BRA)
Heat 8: Hodei Collazo (EUK), Jean-Sebastien Estienne (BLM), Tiago Pires (PRT)

AZORES ISLANDS PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS
Heat 1: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 12.43 pts, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.17 pts, Drew Courtney (AUS) 6.87 pts
Heat 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.90 pts, Austin Ware (USA) 11.43 pts, Jarrad Sullivan (AUS) 9.60 pts
Heat 3: William Cardoso (BRA) 13.43 pts, Jayke Sharp (AUS) 13.30 pts, Chad Du Toit (ZAF) 9.73 pts

AZORES ISLANDS PRO ROUND 3 HEATS
Heat 1: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 15.50 pts, Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.37 pts, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.80 pts, Justin Mujica (PRT) 5.57 pts
Heat 2: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 11.60 pts, Jarrad Sullivan (AUS) 8.77 pts, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 7.17 pts, Blake Jones (USA) 7.17 pts
Heat 3: Austin Ware (USA) 11.14 pts, Drew Courtney (AUS), 10.50 pts Marco Giorgi (URY) 9.86 pts, Wiggoly Dantas (BRA) 8.57 pts
Heat 4: Chad Du Toit (ZAF) 13.30 pts, Jarrad Howse (AUS) 12.87 pts, Adam Melling (AUS) 12.36 pts, Marco Polo (BRA) 9.50 pts
Heat 5: Jayke Sharp (AUS) 13.77 pts, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.47 pts, Madison Williams (AUS) 9.23 pts, Cory Lopez (USA) 8.14 pts
Heat 6: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 12.43 pts, William Cardoso (BRA) 12.00 pts, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.54 pts, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 7.92 pts
Heat 7: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 11.60 pts, Jay Thompson (AUS) 10.93 pts, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 10.87 pts, John John Florence (HAW) 8.60 pts
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.10 pts, Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.00 pts, Jano Belo (BRA) 11.73 pts, Hugo Savalli (REU) 9.03 pts
Heat 9: Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.67 pts, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.10 pts, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 12.13 pts, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 7.70 pts
Heat 10: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 14.57 pts, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 10.90 pts, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 7.60 pts, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 5.60 pts
Heat 11: Kai Barger (HAW) 12.90 pts, Jean-Sebastien Estienne (BLM) 10.50 pts, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 9.00 pts, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 8.40 pts
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jean Da Silva (BRA), Leigh Sedley (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT)


SOURCE: ASP Europe