Brian Toth: a member of the Verticalists

Fantastic waves invaded Praia de Santa Barbara for a great surfing day at the Billabong Azores Islands Pro 2011. The tough 3-4ft peaks provided incredible conditions for speed and performance.

Miguel Pupo continued his brilliant form with another polished display to advance through to Round Three of competition. Pupo found several average scoring waves through the first half of his 30-minute encounter to eventually latch onto a peeling left which he proceeded to tear apart with rail carves and forehand snaps to receive a near perfect 9.5 (out of 10) the highest single-wave score of the day.

“I was looking for a good wave and I only had a couple of 6’s. Then I started to think that I had to surf different. I did a couple of carves and a bang at the end. That is what the judges want to see so I am just going to try and keep doing that in my next heats. The waves changed a little bit but it was still fun out there. You can really surf on these waves and I think everyone is happy to surf in these conditions.”

Current ASP Europe rankings leader, Romain Cloitre showed his class in the testing conditions when he dropped into a dredging left to perform a combination of backhand smashes to receive an 8.87 (out of 10) and build on a combined two-wave heat total of 15.20 (out of 20) one of the highest of the day.

“That was a really important heat for me and I had to make sure I got through it if I want to win the title. It is close at the moment and I have to get through as many heats as I can. I didn’t feel too much pressure because it is good travelling with Brent (Dorrington) and we are always joking so it keeps your head clear. Once I was in the water I was okay and I got the waves I needed.”

Heitor Alves destroyed both the lefts and right peaks with flowing power turns made to look easy through the heavy face-chop and currents running through the peak. Alves has had a recent run of solid results on the World tour to make the mid-year cut and now is focussed to maintain himself amongst the world’s best with another result at the ASP Prime Billabong Azores Islands Pro.

“I was in Trestles and I made a good result and I want to do the same in the Prime as well. I like to compete in the contests and this time there are good waves here in the Azores. Yesterday was beautiful with some perfect waves.”

“I am looking for another result because I want to qualify again for next year,” continued Alves. “I worked so hard before the New York contest because I was looking for a result and I found another in Trestles and for another here. I train every day and when there are no waves I do pilates and other fitness work.”

Nat Young navigated his way through a tricky high-tide encounter to advance along with Dion Atkinson. The talented goofy footer jumped out of the starting blocks with a series of forehand hacks to claim a 7.00 (out of 10) and a slight advantage which he nailed home on a punchy right to score another 7.10 and the heat win.

“The tide got kind of too high and I could feel it was peaking out. I started out with a 7 so I got to sit back on that and get a little back up score to make the heat. The guys were moving around back and forth but I don’t think there was a certain spot where the waves were breaking on. It was all over the place so I kept moving with it and lucked into a couple.”

Jayke Sharp showed no signs of his injury affecting his performance as he tore apart a peaky left with a combination of backhand snaps.

“I paddled out there and it had suddenly picked up over 3ft so at the start I didn’t know which one to go and I knew it was going to be hard. I got one little score and then that left came through and luckily I put it together so I am pretty happy. I came down here yesterday to watch it and it was pumping so I was hoping today would be the same but you can’t always have the best conditions but I’m stoked to get through.”

Sharpe continues to work on his overall seed for the remainder of the season and into the 2012 season. His lack of big results on the European leg is pushing the young Australian to find a result here at this all important PRIME event and the huge amount of points on offer.

“I haven’t done well the whole Europe leg. I keep having one good heat and then I have a bad next heat. So hopefully I can string together a few heat wins and maybe make the quarters or a semi. My self confidence needs a boost and to get through heats is the best way to improve your confidence.”

Upcoming ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro Round Two Matchups
Heat 5: Jesse Mendes (BRA), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Glen Hall (IRL), Jano Belo (BRA)
Heat 6: Leonardo Neves (BRA), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Jayke Sharp (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 7: Romain Cloitre (REU), Marlon Lipke (DEU), Brian Toth (PRI), Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (USA), Marco Polo (BRA), Tanner Gadauskas (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 9: Mitch Coleborn (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY)
Heat 10: Tim Boal (FRA), Kai Barger (HAW), Nat Young (USA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 11: Tonino Benson (HAW), Shaun Joubert (ZAF), Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), Pat Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 12: William Cardoso (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Tiago Camarao (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA)