- 02 October 2009 | Surfing
With the first stop of the 2009 ASP Dream Tour’s European leg behind them, the world’s best surfers are heading south into Euskadi for the Billabong Pro Mundaka where some of the best sandbars in years provide the perfect setting for potentially some of the best waves ever.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Mundaka plays a pivotal part in the surfers’ seasons, with ASP Top 45 members scrounging for requalification points and the hunt for the 2009 ASP World Title still very much alive.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, current ASP World No. 1 and last year’s event runner-up, reiterated the fact that if the appropriate swell comes, the current sandbar at Mundaka is poised to deliver some of the best waves in years.
“The sand looks incredible and if we get some waves here it’s going to be a really special event,” Parkinson said. “I love coming to Mundaka. The town is really cruisey and I’m able to slip right into the pace of things. I’ve always felt comfortable here and I’m looking forward to a good event.”
Despite seeming to run away with the ASP World Title after blitzing the first half of the 2009 season, Parkinson has stumbled in the last two events, collecting back-to-back equal 17ths in California and France. Even with the slip in performance, the Australian still remains in the ASP World Tour ratings’ lead and will look to rebound at the famed lefthander.
“Everyone has a couple events where they don’t get the results they’re looking for,” Parkinson said. “I’m not thinking about the last two events. I’m only focused on the one in front of me. I love Mundaka when it’s on and I’m looking at putting in another good performance here this season.”
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, defending Billabong Pro Mundaka winner and current ASP World No. 3, defeated Parkinson in a gun-slinging Final last year and is excited about the possibility of getting the break good this season.
“The sand looks really good and I heard there may be a swell coming next week which would be really exciting,” Hobgood said. “For me, I am just looking forward to having a normal event. I had a little bit shocker in France – I had my boards stolen, came back in a pretty exciting heat and then lost sooner than I would have hoped. I’m having an okay year, but I really want to win an event. I want a breakout event. Hopefully the magic is still here for me in Mundaka.”
In addition to proving pivotal in the hunt for the 2009 ASP World Title, the Billabong Pro Mundaka is also an important event for those looking to requalify for next year’s ASP Dream Tour.
Tiago Pires (PRT), 29, current ASP World No. 23, is coming off of his best result of the year, a 3rd in France, where he halted a rampaging nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, in the Quarterfinals. Brimming with confidence and at ease in Europe, Pires will be a major threat at the upcoming Billabong Pro Mundaka.
“I was having a pretty hard year until the last event,” Pires said. “I think I moved up like 10 spots on the ratings and now I feel confident heading into the rest of the year. Everywhere in Europe feels like home and I love the wave at Mundaka. I am looking to continue my momentum through the next two events.”