Dion Atkinson

The second day of action, third of the waiting period, saw the intensity and pressure rise at the ASP WQS 5-Star San Miguel Pro Zarautz with another twenty-four heats being ran in wind-blown four to five foot (1.2 to 1.5 meter) waves. From major upsets to solid surfing, the international field of ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) competitors displayed another exciting show to advance through a couple of rounds today. Four heats remain before the event moves into its 3-Man heats’ format tomorrow.

Confirming his stellar start of yesterday with the best heat result in Round 3 today was former event champion and ASP World Tour member Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK), 23, the Zarautz resident besting Australian rising surfer Heath Joske (AUS), 21, with a 15.56 point combined score of two waves that included the second best ride of the event, an excellent 9.23 point wave.

“That wave just came right on time after a heat of pretty average scores for me,” Aranburu said. “It walled up well and I kind of went for big maneuvers to finish well. I was looking for a good score to finish with and I got that good score so I am pretty stoked.”

Aranburu, who has shown consistency and smart wave choice since he kicked off his campaign in his home town of Zarautz, was relaxed and relieved to advance through to Round 4 where he will meet fellow ASP Top 45 surfer Michael Picon (Capbreton, FRA), 30, and powersurfer Leonardo Neves (BRA) in the first 3-Man heat of the event tomorrow.

“Being at home just eases things so much,” Aranburu said. “Sleeping in my own bed, hanging out with my friends and family aside from the event and just enjoying the time here is really great. I am relaxed and happy to compete here with the unbelievable support from everyone at each of my heats.”

Local hero since he became the first Basque and Spanish surfer ever to qualify for the ASP World Tour in 2007, the same year he was crowned ASP European Champion, Aranburu is considered by his peers as one of the most trained and focused athletes on tour. And the 23-year-old man will paddle back out tomorrow to try and reach the finaks of the ASP WQS 5-Star event.

Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 26, defending champion and much awaited for his start today, suffered an early exit for the day’s major upset. Cruising on the ASP World Tour as a rookie this year with consistency thus far, Boal’s performance did not reflect his level today the Anglet resident chosing the righthander’s option where no scoring potential came to him. Already focused on his next ASP Top 45 mission at Lower Trestles next week, Boal was left in fourth position to leave an open door for a new champion in this third edition of the San Miguel Pro Zarautz.

While Aranburu was shining again, consistent surfer from Down Under Dion Atkinson (New South Wales, AUS), 23, showed how strong and competitive he was today by getting through two rounds. Atkinson, who placed 9th at the recent ASP WQS 6-Star event in the Azores, managed to make a big impression on the ASP judging panel letting his custom-made powerful style speak to net the event’s best heat score, 16.50 points including an 8.83 point ride in Round 2 earlier in the day.

“Things have been pretty good today and I found the few good sections to get those points,” Atkinson said. “I had to go through a couple of heats today and the second one wasn’t easy and ended pretty close but it’s good to be through to Round 4 again. I’ve lost a few times in that 3-Man heat format but managed to do better in the last event and am looking forward to making it as well tomorrow.”

Being in good position on the ASP WQS ratings to jump up the ratings would he make the finals at Zarautz this week, Atkinson has been on a series of solid performances in Europe and showed he was still fit and ready to score big today.

Suffering upsets today were ASP WQS No. 41 Alain Riou (PYF), former ASP Top 45 member Raoni Monteiro (BRA), ASP WQS No. 6 Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and recent event winner and ASP WQS No. 14 William Cardoso (BRA). Twenty-seven heats remain before the 2009 champion is crowned at Zarautz and with the swell forecast showing a potential flat day on Sunday, officials are thinking of a possible finish on Saturday. They will make another call at 10 AM tomorrow Friday, September 4.

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 3 RESULTS
Heat 1: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 15.56 pts, Heath Joske (AUS) 11.34 pts, Alan Stokes (GBR) 8.27 pts, Jano Belo (BRA) 6.57 pts
Heat 2: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 13.96 pts, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.10 pts, William Cardoso (BRA) 12.10 pts, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 10.10 pts
Heat 3: Leigh Sedley (AUS) 13.77 pts, Michael Picon (FRA) 12.64 pts, Jonathan Gonzales (CNY) 9.40 pts, Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 6.40 pts
Heat 4: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.27 pts, Romain Cloître (FRA) 9.97 pts, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 9.80 pts, Madison William (AUS) 7.14 pts
Heat 5: Blake Thornton (AUS) 13.17 pts, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 11.14 pts, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 9.24 pts, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 3.07 pts
Heat 6: Victor Ribas (BRA) 10.96 pts, Marco Polo (BRA) 10.30 pts, Nat Young (USA) 9.07 pts, Christophe Allary (REU) 7.47 pts
Heat 7: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.50 pts, Nick Riley (AUS) 11.10 pts, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.04 pts, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 7.53 pts
Heat 8: Jarrad Howse (AUS) 11.04 pts, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.57 pts, Alain Riou (PYF) 8.66 pts, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 7.96 pts

SAN MIGUEL PRO ZARAUTZ ROUND 3 REMAINING HEATS
Heat 9: Halley Batista (BRA), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Daniel Redman (ZAF)
Heat 10: Travis Logie (ZAF), Patrick Beven (FRA), Dane Gudauskas (USA), Austin Ware (USA)
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW), Luke Munro (AUS), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Richard Christie (NZL)
Heat 12: Hall Glenn (IRL), Bobby Hansen (NZL), Yuri Sodre (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)


SOURCE: ASP Europe