Kelly Slater

Tahitian wildcard Michel Bourez may have hindered Kelly Slater’s 2007 ASP World Title hopes by knocking him out of the Quiksilver Pro France last year, but he certainly helped the Floridian’s cause today.

Bourez beat ASP World No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) – one of only two surfers factoring in whether or not Slater can clinch his ninth ASP World Title in France – by posting a near-perfect heat total today. Bourez opened the heat with a 9.80, backed it up with a 9.77 and left Durbidge searching for 19.57 points to swing the scenario his way.

“The heat was really good,” Bourez said. “There were a couple of really good rights and lefts out there but the rip was really strong and I needed to catch the first wave so that is what I did. I got that first left and I didn’t know it was a 9.80, I thought it was just an 8.00 and then I got that 9.77 after and Bede was combed so I’m stoked.”

Bourez is currently rated 14th on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) – the top 15 competitors on that series qualify for the ASP World Tour at year’s end. Having eliminated an eight-time ASP World Champion in Slater at this event last year, and then outside hopefuls for the 2008 ASP World Title in Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Durbidge this week, Bourez certainly seems to have the skills to mix it up amongst the world’s best.

“It doesn’t feel too good to be interfering with the title because those guys are here to win and I’m just here to beat those guys,” Bourez said. “Hopefully I’ll be here to beat those guys next year. I’m just in this event to prove myself and surf good waves – we surf really small waves on the WQS so I’m stoked to have a heat like that.”

Slater is now two steps closer to ASP World Title No. 9 after today’s proceedings. The scenario coming into the event was such that should Slater win the event, with Durbidge bowing out before the Final and ASP World No. 2 Taj Burrow being eliminated before the Semifinals, he would win the 2008 title in France.

Durbidge is out and Slater is into Round 4 after winning a tough heat over wildcard Joan Duru (FRA). Duru had the heat lead until Slater found two 8.00s late in the heat – he admitted that he has been slightly rattled by being so close to clinching ASP World Title No. 9 and that his surfing in France is not what it has been in earlier events this year.

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Cory Schumacher 

Cori Schumacher (Cardiff, CA), 31, won the Roxy Jam Cardiff featuring the Linda Benson World Longboard Pro and ASP North America Women’s Longboarding titles over defending event champion Jen Smith (Pacific Beach, CA), 22, Chelsea Williams (Coolangatta, AUS), 23, and Summer Romero (San Diego, CA), 26, in two-to-four foot surf today at Cardiff Reef.

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 6-Star event acts as a qualifier for the ASP Women’s World Longboard Championships held in France and is the only ASP Women’s longboarding event held in North America.

The competitors in the ASP LQS 6-Star were out to earn valuable ratings points on offer at the Roxy Jam Cardiff to try and find their way into one of the 32 spots available in the ASP Women’s World Longboard Championships.

Schumacher claimed the win in front of an adoring home crowd this afternoon in an action packed Final. The Cardiff local earned a heat total of a 16.50 out of a possible 20 point score to take the win, leaving Smith, who finished in second, needing a near-perfect 9.95 out of 10 point score to take the win.

“I can honestly say that turning around and seeing everyone on the beach and being able to hear the cheers gave us so much more to work for,” Schumacher said. “Roxy, ASP and Linda (Benson) put on such a great event here.”

Schumacher was a finalist in the Roxy Jam Cardiff in 2006, but did not compete in the event last year, leaving her with a low seed for this year’s event. The regular-footer had an unprecedented run leading up to the event win.

Schumacher began in Round 1 and was the one to watch throughout the contest with her long nose rides and big swooping cutbacks. She earned the event’s highest single wave score of a 9.75 out of a possible 10 in Round 1 and continued to build momentum throughout the entire event.

“I was really nervous after not competing in the event last year,” Schumacher said. “I’m glad that I started in the earlier rounds because it allowed me to shake the nerves out.”

Schumacher managed to claim the Roxy Jam Cardiff win by advancing through several stacked heats on the way to the Final.

“The waves are amazing and the people I surfed with, starting with the Quarters, it could have been Finals all the way,” Schumacher said. “I just found the good waves, but it could have been anybody’s game out there.”

The local favorite was thrilled with the conditions on offer throughout the event and took advantage of the excellent surf in each of her heats.

“For whatever reason, there are always amazing waves for this event,” Schumacher said. “Today is no exception. Cardiff is putting on a show for some of the greatest surfers in the world.”

Smith jumped out to an early lead in the Final, but was unable to fend off the local standout. The defending Roxy Jam Cardiff champion earned a second place finish behind Schumacher this year.

“The goal for me was just to make the Final again this year,” Smith said. “It’s awesome with Cori (Schumacher) competing again this year. She didn’t compete last year, but she competed in 2006 and made the Final and now she came back in 2008 and made the Final again. It’s really special to surf a heat with Cori out there because she pretty much owns Cardiff. I love watching her surf this wave.”

Williams, who finished third, and Romero, who finished in fourth, each displayed excellent performances throughout the event, but were unable to put a stop to Schumacher. Romero, also a local in the event, was happy to earn a spot in the Final.

“I am so stoked,” Romero said. “I’ve exceeded all of my expectations. Never in a million years did I think I would make the Final.”

The Roxy Jam Cardiff will return for a fourth consecutive year in 2009.

Roxy Jam Cardiff Results:

1- Cori Schumacher (USA) 16.50
2- Jen Smith (USA) 13.05
3- Chelsea Williams (AUS) 10.60
4- Summer Romero (USA) 8.30

Nathan Yeomans 

Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 27, has claimed his third consecutive event title with a big win at the 2008 Oakley Newport Beach Pro over fellow finalists Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, Travis Mellem (San Clemente, CA), 23, and Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Newport Beach’s 56th Street.

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star event is the second of three stops on the 2008 Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series (an ASP North America Specialty Series), and Yeomans’ emphatic victory vaults the phenomenal goofy-footer into the lead heading intp the third and final stop in Santa Cruz this October.

Yeomans, the two-time defending event champion and 2006 Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series Champion, wasted no time in this afternoon’s Final, picking off an excellent 8.50 out of a possible 10 for detonating on a roping lefthander in the opening minutes.

“I knew that all the other guys were ripping so I wasn’t planning on leaving anything to chance out there,” Yeomans said. “I got that pretty good left at the start and that set me up for the rest of the heat. Dillon (Perillo) was ripping everything that came his way, but I got a solid righthander about midway through and was able to throw a little backhand air and that sealed it for me.”

Currently sitting No. 26 on the 2008 ASP WQS ratings, Yeomans will be looking to use the momentum from today’s win as he continues his campaign to qualify for the prestigious ASP World Tour in 2009.

“I’m a little bit speechless after all this,” Yeomans said. “Everyone is coming up to me and saying that no one has ever won a ’QS three years in a row and that kind of spins me out. It’s great. I love this event and it’s a great confidence boost heading into the rest of the year. My goal is to qualify for the ASP World Tour and I’m planning to do that in the next few months.”

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