Asian Beach Games 

National Team surfing took over the final day at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) sanctioned Bali Asian Beach Games at Kuta Beach today.

After four days of shared fortunes in individual surfing duels, the team event brought national pride and flags to the fore, as the beach crowd enthusiastically supported their teams.  In the four surfer team event, riders enter the water in a set order, surfing allocated waves and then exchanging with their next team-mate.  An aggregate wave point score for the total of the team decides the ranking of the teams.  Three rounds were held to rank the teams for medals.

Indonesia posted three strong wins with a ten point margin over Japan each time.  Philippines was trying to close the gap with Japan in each round but Japan always held them off.  In the final and deciding round, Indonesia’s Made Widiarta and Made Adi Putra picked off the best of the waves and provided the foundation of their team gold medal.  Japan’s power surfer Akihihro Makino provided three good wave scores to set his team up for their silver medal.  Luke Landrigan [Philippines] thrilled the crowd with a string of carving turns across a nice wave early in the final, setting people thinking of an upset, but it wasn’t to be, as the event unfolded.

Team Results:                 Gold                                  Indonesia

                                    Silver                                 Japan

                                    Bronze                               Philippines

                                    Bronze                               Maldives

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Jean da Silva 

Jean Da Silva (BRA), 23, won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Estoril Coast Pro at the back-up venue of Guincho today, in testing six to eight foot (2 to 2.5 meter) waves. Da Silva, who defeated American Gabe Kling (USA) in the last battle of the ASP WQS European Series, clinched 2500 valuable ratings' points and confirmed he was back in form after a tough year.

Da Silva, who ended up winning the event with a low 9.83 point score (out of a possible 20), found the best wave of the final which happened to be enough while Kling was struggling against the strong currents and enduring some hard time with some nine foot sets breaking at Guincho.

"I caught that wave right at the beginning before I even had the time to sit out there," Da Silva said. "It was really hard and we could not hear the scores. It was probably one of the trickiest heats of my career but to take the win here is somethiing really special. I am so stoked right now."

Da Silva, who has had a tough year with no significant result, suffered a serious hip injury and had to stay away from the water for four months, a moment he remembered after the final which made his victory today even more special.

"I got injured and it affected me so much that I almost quit surfing this year," Da Silva said. "It was the worse time of my life but the support from my family got me back to work slowly and I just restarted from scratch in July. I traned hard to come back to this level and this win means a lot. I was focused 150% on winning all week and I made it. It is just perfect."

Da Silva, who was the only one of the four last competitors in the event not to have any pressure points' wise, left Kling with a runner-up finish, an excellent result for the American who is guaranteed to surf among the ASP Top 45 next year.

Gabe Kling (Ca, USA), 28, a former elite surfer who got back in the race for the ASP World Tour qualification in the last three events, did not find any good enough waves during the final finishing with a poor 9.67 point total (out of a possible 20), missing his first win in a couple of years.

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Estoril Coast Pro 2008 

The Estoril Coast Pro resumed at its back-up venue of Guincho today, twenty minutes North from Carcavelos, with top seeds getting their start in the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event in solid four to six foot (1.2 to 2 meter) waves. After a day-off yesterday, it was time for current ratings' leaders to take the dust off their boards and surf in the third to last major event of the year that will be crucial regarding end-of-the-year ratings from which the Top 15 will qualify for next year's ASP World Tour.

Yadin Nicol (Wa, AUS), 22, took top honours on Day 3 of competition coming up with some world-class surfing in the solid waves to advance through to Round 3 with the highest heat result of the event so far, a 17.93 point tally (out of a possible 20), besting fellow Australian and rising star Owen Wright (Sydney, AUS) in Heat 10.

"It was hard out there and to be honest I was just preparing to go home," Nicol said. "These conditions usually fit Matt (Wilkinson) and Owen's (Wright) surfing and I did not know what scores I had. But I am stoked and it is a good motivation boost."

Nicol, who is currently rated No. 16 on the ASP WQS, suffered a shocker in the last event in the Canary Islands and was very disappointed after his loss, seeing all his closest followers jumping ahead.

"That heat in Lanzarote was hard because nothing really happened and I was kind of stuck in a hole," Nicol said. "I am happy to get that behind me and I hope I can get through a few more heats this week. I put a lot of pressure on myself in the last event and it did not work well moreover with every single person who needed a result getting one wether in the Canarys or in Brazil."

Nicol will meet with Gavin Gillette (HAW), Brandon Jackson (ZAF) and ASP Top 45 member Travis Logie in Round 3.

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