Kai Sallas: photo opportunity

The top seeds of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 3-Star Costa Rica PLA Pro unleashed massive scores at Costa Rica's flawless lefthand pointbreak of Boca Barranca to decide the men's and women's Semifinalists in two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf.

Surfers competing on the ASP LQS compete in each of their respective regions in an attempt to earn the valuable ratings points on offer to eventually qualify for the ASP World Longboard Tour.

Taylor Jensen (Oceanside, CA), 26, was one top seed to detonate massive scores on the roping lefthanders of Boca Barranca, notching the highest heat total of the entire event, a near-perfect 17.60 out of 20, in his opening heat before clinching his Quarterfinals heat as well.

"This is my 12th or 13th time coming to this wave and I usually stay at Dennis' (Bourg) house, so I feel really comfortable out here," Jensen said. "It's almost like a home break."

Although Jensen is a two-time ASP North America LQS Champion, the regular-footer has been spending the majority of his time in Australia, but is still returning to the Americas for the major events this year.

"I've been spending most of my time in Australia and doing the LQS events there, but since this event is a 3-Star, I was hoping I could get a good result here and catch up on points," Jensen said. "We also have the 6-Star coming up, so I'll be doing that one as well."

Kai Sallas (Waikiki, HI), 28, was another top seed to stamp his authority as a title contender at this year"s Costa Rica PLA Pro by detonating the highest single-wave score of the event, a 9.50 out of 10, for massive turns and critical noserides is his Round 1 heat before claiming his Quarterfinals heat win as well.

"The last few days, I've been watching it and lots of the ones that look good end up closing out, so I was looking for ones that almost looked like they had no wall at all," Sallas said "The waves are really soft out there, so it allowed me to noseride really easily."

Sallas is also no stranger to the contest venue and knows the wave's potential with more swell in the water.

"This is my third time to Boca Barranca," Sallas said. "This wave is so rippable and when it gets big, it pumps."

Leah Dawson (North Shore, HAW), 23, took top honors in the women's event, blasting a solid 9.10 out of 10 while capitalizing on her specific wave selection to navigate through the inconsistent morning conditions.

"The waves are incredible when they come, it's just a little inconsistent out there," Dawson said. "That one wave was literally the best wave I've seen all week and luckily I caught it, because it was the only set in our heat. I started off with a nose-ride and then got a few solid turns in and was able to get the good score."

Costa Rica PLA Pro Action will pick back up at 6am local time and crown both men's and women's champions by day's end.

For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org

Costa Rica PLA Pro Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Josh Constable (AUS) 17.50, Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 15.53, Cody Ulrich (USA) 9.76, Terry Gillard (USA) 9.63
Heat 2: Kai Sallas (HAW) 14.77, Steve Newton (USA) 12.54, Felipe Lacerda (BRA) 10.70, Blaine Lewis (USA) 6.50
Heat 3: Cole Robbins (USA) 12.40, Ty Roach (USA) 11.16, Ronald Reyes (CRI) 11.00, Mike Stidham (USA) 8.83
Heat 4: Taylor Jensen (USA) 15.43, Tony Silvagni (USA) 11.34, Jim Hogan (USA) 8.27, Brett Robbins (USA) 6.47

Costa Rica PLA Pro Round of 32 Results:
Heat 1: Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 16.27, Josh Constable (AUS) 13.67, Danny Ryder (USA) ns, Bucky Barry (USA) ns
Heat 2: Terry Gillard (USA) 10.95, Cody Ulrich (USA) 7.26, Marc Hauser (USA) 3.53, Carlos Bahia (BRA) ns
Heat 3: Steve Newton (USA) 8.84, Felipe Lacerda (BRA) 7.73, Eli Gillis (USA) 6.20, Gabriel Vitorino (BRA) 5.67
Heat 4: Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.00, Blaine Lewis (USA) 11.17, Armando Colucci (VEN) 6.66, Cory Hartwyk (USA) 6.50
Heat 5: Ty Roach (USA) 8.86, Mike Stidham (USA) 8.83, Brett Heimstra (USA) 5.87, Artie Castro (USA) ns
Heat 6: Cole Robbins (USA) 15.50, Ronald Reyes (CRI) 10.34, Dennis Bourg (USA) 9.44, Gabriel Nascimento (BRA) 8.07
Heat 7: Taylor Jensen (USA) 17.60, Jim Hogan (USA) 11.70, Jerry Swearingen (USA) 11.50, Matt Elias-Calles (USA) 6.10
Heat 8: Tony Silvagni (USA) 17.00, Brett Robbins (USA) 8.13, Rafael Cavalcanti (BRA) 8.13


Costa Rica PLA Pro Women's Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Leah Dawson (HAW) 13.07, Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 11.84, Lindsay Steinreide (USA) 11.33, Tory Gilkerson (USA) 6.26
Heat 2: Nava Young (AUS) 10.66, Jennifer Smith (USA) 9.17, Erin Lewis (USA) 8.04
Heat 3: Kelly Nicely (USA) 12.00, Amy King (USA) 8.83, Anneke Barrie (USA) 7.06
Heat 4: Summer Romero (USA) 12.00, Kate Easton (USA) 9.87, Claire Norman (AUS) 6.43


SOURCE: ASP World Tour