Tiago Pires 

With the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Azores Islands Pro crowning its champion tomorrow, all remaining surfers were psyched today to deliver their best performance and keep the title chase alive, knowing a win in this first ever ASP sanctioned event in the Azores would go down in surfing history books. From current ratings’ leaders to the few remaining outsiders, performance went through the roof today with massive airs and power surfing displayed by the variety of styles seen in the water, rising stars shining along with experienced soldiers.

Today’s action took the event down to its final-four contenders, the remaining heats of Round 4 being followed by the eight battles of Round 5 before moving into the exciting Quarterfinals where the levels of surfing left everyone breathless, wrapping-up an intense show, with Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) dominating the day in the final bout against ASP World Junior champion Kai Barger (HAW) with a 18.00 point heat total.

Pleasing his Portuguese fans, the current ASP Top 45 member, 28, closed the show with a series of 8.50 and 9.50 point rides, the national surf star a.k.a the Portuguese Tiger advancing through to the Semifinals where he will be the favorite. Pires, who had scored the only perfect 10.00 point ride of the event earlier in the day, was in unstoppable form getting an immense support from the hundreds of spectators on the beach to keep his roll going before tomorrow’s showdown.

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Mark Richardson 

As the curtain closed on the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival nine Australian Surfmasters Titles were awarded at Lighthouse Beach today.

Having seen 344 competitors in 260 heats over the past two weeks with 23 Australian Titles handed out, the final day of competition was certainly one to remember.

Led by some amazing performances from a host athletes the biggest amateur surfing event in the country closed with a bang,

Mark Richardson (Palm Beach, QLD) was the king of Lighthouse Beach today, taking home his third Australian Title in the Open Men division.

“I’m lost for words,” the 37-year-old said, brimming from ear-to-ear.

“To have beaten the likes of my fellow finalists is something I’ll remember forever.”

Defeating Josh Johnson-Baxter (VIC), Eli Criaco (Coolum, QLD) and Jirrah Laws (VIC), who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Richardson was in amazing form from the get-go.

“The level of surfing in this event was first class,” he continued.

“I wasn’t even good enough to qualify for the Queensland team and here I am with the Aussie flag draped around me!”

Fellow Queenslander Dimity Stoyle (Buderim, QLD) continued where she left off yesterday with a commanding performance en-route to her maiden crown.

“I can’t believe I won my first Australian Title,” said the 17-year-old with glee.

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Joel Parkinson 

The world’s best surfers are preparing for an assault on one of the world’s most high-performance waves as the Hurley Pro Trestles, Event No. 6 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, bringing the ASP Top 45 to Lower Trestles from September 13 – 19, 2009.

The site of some of the most electrifying performances in the sport’s history, the cobblestone A-Frame not only provides the ideal canvas for the world’s best to unleash upon, but Lower Trestles will also play a pivotal role in the hunt for this year’s ASP World Title.

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, current ASP World No. 1, has had a landmark season in 2009, collecting three wins, a 3rd and a 9th en route to his position at the top. Although currently sitting a comfortable 1,402 points ahead of the nearest challenger, the phenomenal natural-footer has been guarded this season when commenting on his ASP World Title campaign as well as details regarding his preparation.

“When you do something that excites you and you enjoy doing it, then it is not hard to stay focused on what needs to be done,” Parkinson said. “As far as preparation is concerned, I have just continued with what I have been doing all year, but at the same time you just think about the opportunity of surfing a wave at Trestles and there’s that excitement again.”

Having proven victorious at the venue before (2004) and given his near-unstoppable form in 2009, Parkinson remains an event favorite going into this season’s Hurley Pro Trestles, and the high-performance lefts and rights will allow the well-built Australian to utilize his impressive repertoire of tricks.

“I think one of the necessary ss of any professional sportsperson is adaptability,” Parkinson said. “Being able to adapt to different environments, opposition and conditions. I think about the wave at Trestles and I believe my surfing can adapt to it pretty well. I know I am looking forward to it.”

C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, former ASP World Champion (2001) and current ASP World No. 2, will be first in line of those looking to put a halt to Parkinson’s juggernaut run this season. The ultra-fit goofy-footer holds an ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) event title at Lower Trestles (2007), but his results at the elite level of competition at the venue have been mixed with two 5ths in ’07 and ’05, a 33rd in ’06 before a 17th last season.

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