Michael Picon 

The ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star San Miguel Pro Zarautz pres. by Euskaltel got underway today in building swell peaking in the four to five foot (1.2 to 1.5 meter) range, event officials sending no less than thirty-two heats for an intense action-packed day of surfing. With Round 1 coming to an end and eight heats of Round 2 being held in consistent surf, performances confirmed the ASP WQS contingent was in form for a fourth consecutive major event. From solid scores to major upsets, the kick-off brought excitement in the famous Basque village.

The event top seeds attracted the famous Basque crowds to the beach in the end of the afternoon, local hero and ASP Top 45 member Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK), 23, winning the opening heat of Round 2 with a solid 14.10 point result. Aranburu, who showed how his knowledge of the consistent beach break could make a big difference against any of his upcoming opponents, used smart heat tactics waiting for the better right-handers to use his powerful on-the-rail top turns and best Nathan Yeomans (California, USA) who advanced in second position.

“It’s always good to get that first heat out of the way and to win it is even better for your confidence,” Aranburu said. “The conditions were kind of tricky because few waves were giving the opportunity to get big scores so there was definitely some patience involved in that game and I am glad to get that heat done.”

Aranburu, a winner in the San Miguel Pro Zarautz in 2007 and equal 3rd last year, struck back today on his home battlefield making his intentions clear to all remaining competitors that he was ready to do well before flying off to California for the sixth event of this year’s ASP World Tour.

“You always want to do well whatever goal you have and at this stage of the year anything can happen for me on both World Tour and WQS,” Aranburu said. “I feel good here and I’ve done well the past years so I am pretty relaxed and any big result will be great.”

With the sun showing up in the afternoon, the surf town of Zarautz came to life with hundreds of people settling on the beach to encourage some of the world’s best surfers get their start in the event. While former two-time ASP World Junior champion Pablo Paulino (BRA) was easily advancing through his battle with fellow Brazilian surfer Jano Belo (BRA), recent event winner William Cardoso (Santa Catarina, BRA), 23, showed he was back to Earth and ready to keep his excellent form going.

Cardoso, who claimed the inaugural ASP WQS 6-Star Azores Islands Pro last Sunday, easily won his opening battle with another 14.33 point result ahead of British competitor Alan Stokes (GBR) getting an excellent 8.50 point ride through the 25-minute battle. Having jumped from 31st to 14th on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings, Cardoso’s confidence was obvious throughout Heat 3 of Round 2 confirming the man’s focused mind.

“Coming from a win in such a big event is really a great feeling but I don’t want to stay on that,” Cardoso said. “This is a whole different story with other waves, other surfers and all the usual parameters you have to deal with and I am starting from scratch and eager to get another big result. It’s heat by heat but the confidence won in the last event is definitely helping.”

With current ASP WQS No. 7 and winner at Lacanau a couple of weeks ago Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 20, and other ratings’ top surfer Hawaiian Dusty Payne (Oahu, HAW), 20, both exiting competition for the day’s major upsets, the San Miguel Pro Zarautz witnessed exceptional surfing from all low seeds and favorites, Michael Picon (Capbreton, FRA), 30, getting through two rounds today with promising surfing.

Picon, who has had a tough year among the ASP Top 45 in 2009, seemed in excellent form finding his way through a couple of tricky heats against Australian Leigh Sedley and South African Royden Bryson (ZAF).

“I am pretty happy to get those two heats done and I enjoyed competing today,” Picon said. “We’ve got Trestles coming up soon on the World Tour and I wanted to compete and get back into competition mode so I am glad to get the feeling right. I just tried a new board this morning for my heat and I super stoked with it. It’s working really well and I surfed confidently. It looked hard to get the better waves but I was actually surprised with the good sections coming-in and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Round 2 will resume around 8.15 AM tomorrow Thursday, September 3, with Heat 9. The remaining top seeds will start their Basque run in the event and another long day is scheduled with twenty-eight heats to be held tomorrow.

The ASP WQS 5-Star San Miguel Pro Zarautz pres. by Eusklatel is webcast LIVE at www.aspeurope.com, where all news, photos and results are available.

SAN MIGUEL PRO ZARAUTZ ROUND 2 RESULTS
Heat 1: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 14.10 pts, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 11.73 pts, Sam Page (AUS) 6.30 pts, Karlos Gomez (EUK) 5.56 pts
Heat 2: Jano Belo (BRA) 13.03 pts, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 12.80 pts, Marco Giorgi (URY) 8.25 pts, Asier Muniain (EUK) 4.10 pts
Heat 3: William Cardoso (BRA) 14.33 pts, Alan Stokes (GBR) 7.67 pts, Shaun Ward (USA) 7.50 pts, Lars Musschoot (BEL) 4.67 pts
Heat 4: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 10.73 pts, Heath Joske (AUS) 10.00 pts, Russell Winter (GBR) 5.30 pts
Heat 5: Michael Picon (FRA) 14.26 pts, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 13.77 pts, Diego Rosa (BRA) 9.67 pts, Joan Duru (FRA) 5.90 pts
Heat 6: Leigh Sedley (AUS) 13.33 pts, Romain Cloître (FRA) 10.40 pts, Neco Padaratz (BRA) 9.53 pts, Shaun Burrell (USA) 6.83 pts
Heat 7: Madison Williams (AUS) 13.73 pts, Jonathan Gonzales (CNY) 8.24 pts, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 6.54 pts, Mohamed Berrada (MAR) 5.30 pts
Heat 8: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.26 pts, Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 10.20 pts, Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 9.73 pts, Blake Jones (USA) 6.06 pts

SAN MIGUEL PRO ZARAUTZ ROUND 2 REMAINING HEATS
Heat 9 : Blake Thorton (AUS), Christophe Allary (REU), Kai Barger (HAW), Bruno Rodrigues (USA)
Heat 10: Rodrigo Dornolles (BRA), Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Brent Reilly (USA), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 11: Jean Da silva (BRA), Brent Dorrington (AUS), Victor Ribas (BRA), Eduardo Fernandes (PRT)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Chris Waring (USA), Adrien Valero (FRA), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 13: Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Joao Guedes (PRT), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Heat 14: Brandon Jackson (ZAF), Alain Riou (PYF), Chad Compton (USA), Romain Laulhe (FRA)
Heat 15: Jarrad Howse (AUS), Andre Silva (BRA), Nick Riley (AUS), Nick White (NZL)
Heat 16: Dion Atkinson (AUS), Clancy Dawson (AUS), Alex Gray (USA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 17: Travis Logie (ZAF), Tim Boal (FRA), Halley Batista (BRA), Justin Mujica (PRT)
Heat 18: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), Jarrad Sullivan (AUS), Abdel El Harim (MAR), Patrick Beven (FRA)
Heat 19: Shaun Gossman (AUS), Dane Gudauskas (USA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), William Pasquet (REU)
Heat 20: Austin Ware (USA), Daniel Redman (ZAF), Tinguinha Lima (BRA), Warwick Wright (ZAF)
Heat 21: Hall Glenn (IRL), Granger Larsen (HAW), Thomas Bady (FRA), John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 22: Luke Munro (AUS), Bobby Hansen (NZL), Blake Wilson (AUS), Chad Du Toit (ZAF)
Heat 23: Yuri Sodre (BRA), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Rowan Aish (NZL), Igor Morais (PRT)
Heat 24: Melling Adam (AUS), Richard Christie (NZL), Cesar Aguiar (BRA), Antonio Bortoletto (ZAF)


SOURCE: ASP Europe