Benoit Clemente: local star

Under a thick blanket of fog and mist, the second day of competition at the Billabong ISA World Games presented by Amarok of Volkswagen went down in fine fashion at Punta Hermosa breaks in Peru today.

After a stellar start in the long, playful lefts of Day One, the sun strained this morning to reveal a macking swell that tested the international contingency with well-overhead conditions. Less than half a mile down the beach at Pico Alto the wave faces were pushing 40 feet.

Belted all day by a powerful southwest swell today, the competition at Hermosa’s two breaks (Señoritas and Caballeros) was fierce.

Although the constant crush of huge breakers kept the competitors from scoring as high as they might otherwise have, the action was non-stop and the size added to the excitement and degree of difficulty. Some surfers were looking forward to the potential of even bigger waves tomorrow.

“We didn’t come here to ride small fat mush, said one of the top riders from the Canadian team, who are all now in the repercharge heats and looking for a way to advance back to the qualifying round. “We’re used to riding big junky pumping point surf. We are ready for the swell and can’t wait for tomorrow!”

In the bigger surf that sometimes resembled a washing machine, both the men and women managed big drops and often found speed and clean lines way into the insides where they were often nearly out of sight range of the judges.

Local favorite Matias Mulanovich got through his heat, and Christobal de Col kept the Peruvian team’s dream alive as the dark horse team moved closer to a top potential finish. Likewise Brazilian Alan Jhones, Panamanian Gary Saavedra and Frenchman Vincent Duvignac advanced for their country along with UK’s Micah Lester, and Costa Rican Isaaic Vega while Ecuador Venezuela, and New Zealand remain threats if they can advance from the repercharge tomorrow.

The consensus on standout performances were from South African Chad de Tiot who had some of the highest scores of the day, Mexico’s Miguel Trujillo who took down some heavy Latin competition. Argentina’s Leandro Ursuna and Puerto Rican Alejandro Moreda also won handily against strong foes.

Of the standouts that managed to advance today, both the American and Australian teams put on strong showings with one-time World Tour surfer Drew Courtney (Aus) highlighting the day by dropping the highest heat score at Senoritas with a combined total of 14 points. South Africa remains a serious contender with most of the team advancing as well.

On the women’s side, UK‘s Sarah Beardmore, Australia’s Rebecca Woods, Japan’s Tashiro Nagise and Anali Gomez from Peru were notable both for their tenacity and grace under pressure. And in some cases their surprising confidence: “I’m happy because I made it to the third round, as Sofia did”, said an elated Anali Gomez of Peru. “The swell is larger now and there’s a super-strong current. It’s difficult out there, but as locals we know how the beach works and where to position ourselves. My objective now is getting into the final and winning the World Championship.” That’s confidence with a capital C.

For the Americans, all four of their surfers managed to advance today with San Clemente’s Trevor Thornton leading the charge with a heat win in one of the day’s final match-ups.

“There weren’t really too many waves until the 8-minute mark in my heat and I got lucky and was able to get a good one,” said Thornton after the heat. “I think it’s really cool to represent the USA, I’m the youngest one on the men’s team and I really like it.” “It’s never this big at home. I don’t think I’ve surfed waves this big in California in at least three years.”

Although just like yesterday the Australians were the visual standouts, once again Team USA quietly won all of their heats for the day - with no fanfare.

“The team was nervous about Trevor before his heat,” one observer noted, “but he went out there and smashed it.”

Source: ISA World Surfing Games

Tiago Pires: national hero

The Quiksilver Pro Portugal an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) sanctioned Men’s Star Series event saw Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Josh Kerr (AUS) go tit-for-tat during an intense morning session of competition which saw the pair of top seeds share today’s honours.

Light off-shore winds and 2-3ft (1m) lines pulsed at the main event site of Ribeira D’Ilhas allowing for some excellent high performance surfing. The high tide forced a halt to Round Three of competition with the final three heats to be run when competition resumes tomorrow.

Jeremy Flores (Capbreton/New Caledonia, FRA) 22, was on fire and looked sharp and lightening fast on the tricky rights. The smaller swell meant flatter sections and excellent reading of the waves was needed to obtain the major scores. Getting a quick start to open his account with an 8.33, Flores found his rhythm and built a massive 17.00 two-wave heat total.

“My board is going good at the moment. It’s the one I used in Peniche when it was about 6ft and powerful and I rode it now in 2ft, soft waves and it went ok. I got into a rhythm with some fun waves running along the reef which allowed me to get in a few turns.”

A simple tactical plan and only three men in the heat allowed Flores the room to move during the 25-minute clash.

“The game plan out there today was really just to catch anything because you never know what the waves will do. Some have a good inside section and then the big ones have a good outside section and then they just die off. In three man heats it is better with a lot less hassling for waves.”

Leading into the crucial man-on-man stage of the Quiksilver Pro Portugal, Flores explains the importance of this concept at the point break of Ribeira D’Ilhas

“Especially here man-on-man heats are good. There are let’s say four really good waves every heat so sometimes in four-man heats you don’t get that good wave. With man-on-man I think we won’t miss any of them.”

Not to be out done, Josh Kerr (Gold Coast, AUS) 26, in the final heat before the high tide stoppage scored the wave of the day punting a forehand air-reverse in between a series of snaps to claim a 9.33 out of ten. With a 7.67 to add to that, Kerr equalled Flores’ display with a 17.00 point total as well.

“I was actually the widest out of everyone and the wave kind of by-passed the guys and I got to luck into it,” explained Kerr. “I was tripping that a section popped up. It is hard to see the sections because it is so clean out there now with no wind. I didn’t know if it was going to be a section or if it was going to peter out and luckily I got to do an air-reverse off it so I’m stoked.”

Frederico Morais (Cascais, PRT) 18, advanced along with Kerr to find himself with his best career result in a major ASP Star Series event. Knowing the tide was filling in and afraid of a wave starved final stage, Morais got his score count going early. Modest scores mixed with well thought out wave selection secured his pass into Round Four of the Quiksilver Pro Portugal.

“This is the best result of my career and the first time for me in the man-on-man round in a big event. I have competed in two-man heats in the Pro Juniors so I am going to give my best and show I can surf.”

Morais can consider himself fortunate to have had many years of experience at Ribeira D’Ilhas despite his young age and guidance from the watchful eye of local legend Tiago Pires (PRT).

“I used to stay at Tiago’s place surfing here and I used to come here with my dad on the weekends so I have surfed a lot at this break. It is not easy to surf this spot as it breaks here on the inside and then on the outside too so he (Pires) helps me a bit with strategies for here.”

Jonathan Gonzalez (Tenerife, CNY) 30, kept his campaign rolling with another strong performance which never looked in doubt. Building on a series of recent results Gonzalez is finding the confidence he was lacking in the first half of the season.

“I went out with the same plan as yesterday and that was to get off to a quick start and then try and keep going and build on that start. Today I got that 8.00 and from then on I was more relaxed.”

Sandwiched between fellow Brazilians Leonardo Neves and Beto Mariano the task on paper looked daunting however following his consistent plan of attack, Gonzalez weaved his way onto a backup score thus avoiding any possible shut down from his opponents.

“I was lucky to get a few more average waves because there are not many and also I was up against two Brazilians in my heat and it was tough for sure. I am going to keep with the same game plan and hopefully keep it all together and on a roll.”

Justin Mujica (PRT) 33, advanced behind an inform Hodei Collazo (EUK) into Round Four of competition. Throwing caution to the wind, Mujica laid down some trademark forehand smashes on his first wave to nail an 8.00 and a comfortable second placing. Mujica now finds himself pitted against Jeremy Flores in his next encounter and the thought does not daunt the former ASP European title holder.

“Any result here will be good for me and I am stoked to be in the contest. I have nothing to lose so I am going to go back out there again to do my best. It will be a tough heat but I don’t care, he (Flores) is not unbeatable and maybe he is in better shape than me but it is already a great result for me so let’s see what happens.”

On somewhat of a comeback to full time competition, the flamboyant Mujica, originally from Venezuela, hopes with results like those achieved so far in the Quiksilver Pro Portugal will help his return to the winner’s circle.

“I had a couple of bad years so I had to make some choices and now I have been making a couple of trips. My team manager is supporting me a lot so maybe with a couple of results I can get back a little bit more of my goals. Surfing is so complicated but step by step is the way to go big.”

Adrien Toyon (REU) 21, was pleased to get into Round Four with a real chance to advance even further. One of the stronger backhand surfers in the event, Toyon looks comfortable where many others have struggled. If the swell increases again overnight Toyon is very capable of causing more than one upset.

“I am happy with the result so far and I hope I can get through a few more heats because I feel good at the moment. I have been training pretty hard the last month and I surfed in Brazil and now I am here on this point break so I am so stoked.”

“I don’t think there is an advantage for guys on their forehand,” explained Toyon. ”You really have to catch the best waves and surf them the best you can. On my backhand I am ok. I feel my legs are a bit sorer now because I did maybe ten backhand turns on the wave but I like it.” (laughs)

Surfers competing in the Quiksilver Pro Portugal are out to claim valuable ASP World Ranking points in their endeavour to qualify for next year’s elite ASP World Tour. European surfers are on stop nº 10 of 12 in their bid to claim this year’s ASP European Men’s Title currently lead by Marc Lacomare (FRA).

Quiksilver Pro Portugal Round Three Results
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.00, Adrien Toyon (REU) 12.10, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 8.77
Heat 2: Hodei Collazo (EUK) 14.77, Justin Mujica (PRT) 13.57, Nic von Rupp (DEU) 8.77
Heat 3: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 12.93, Leonardo Neves (BRA) 11.80, Beto Mariano (BRA) 8.67
Heat 4: Pablo Paulino (BRA) 14.00, Eneko Acero (EUK) 13.30, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 12.20
Heat 5: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.00, Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.84, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 7.50

Quiksilver Pro Portugal Remaining Round Two Results
Heat 9: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.17, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.00, Damien Chaudoy (REU) 9.74, Ivo Cacao (PRT) 6.03
Heat 10: Hugo Savalli (REU) 14.00, Charles Martin (GLP) 11.27, Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 11.24, David Raimundo (PRT) 6.27
Heat 11: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.17, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.06, Yuri Sodre (BRA) 11.00, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.40
Heat 12: Tiago Pires (PRT) 15.53, Bruno Rodrigues (BRA) 10.90, Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 10.43, Stephen Walsh (AUS) 9.73

Wave pools: Owen enjoyed Malaysia

Wave pools are one of the biggest potential markets in the surf industry. Who's telling you that? Well, a man called Kelly Slater. In a very interesting debate he had with Surfing Magazine, the 9-time world champion believes wave pools are the future of time saving.

Slater showed a two-week trip to the Mentawais, as an example.

"Any one hour you’re in the water, you’re probably going to catch six or seven waves an hour. So for any hour in the water you’ll surf for a minute, meaning five minutes of surfing a day, or 50 minutes of surfing. In two weeks. if you could go an hour from your house and get five minutes of good wave-riding any day you wanted, who wouldn’t do that?", he stated.

That's why the Floridian believes an excellent wave pool might be a good bet for the future, even if surfers demand the "organic experience of going surfing", in an open ocean. Slater says a quality wave pool is a 10-20 million dollar investment and spends a lot of electricity.

Pools in water sports are not new. One of the most famous venues is ExCeL London, an international exhibition and convention centre that has already seen an indoor windsurfing competition of the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA).

In the last years, there was a special project for the Docklands, in London, but the main developer of Silvertown has gone into liquidation and the surf centre with it. Another surf park - bigger and better - is currently being studied for the same area of England's capital.

One of the best and most clever technical suggestions has been made by Webber Wave Pools. This Australian company presents waves that break constantly around a circular island within a doughnut shaped pool. The pool generates at least 5 waves at all times. Watch in action.