Portugal will have seven High Performance Surfing Centers

The Portuguese coastal cities of Peniche, Viana do Castelo, Aveiro, Nazaré, Costa da Caparica, Vila do Bispo and Sintra will have High Performance Surfing Centers (Centro de Alto Rendimento de Surf) in a total expected investment of 5.000.000 euros.

Laurentino Dias, the Portuguese secretary of state for Youth and Sports, has laid the first stone for this ambitious project, in Peniche.

The seven High Performance Surfing Centers will be available and open to all surfers, kitesurfers, windsurfers, bodyboarders and kayaksurfers.

They will be fully equipped with a surfcamp, renewable energy systems, formation and conference rooms, gyms, leisure areas, green fields, medical centers and bedrooms.

«Sports like surfing are gaining momentum and respect. This is an unprecedent investment for the wave sports in Portugal», Laurentino Dias said.

The High Performance Surfing Centers will be mainly located in the South of Portugal, except for the Viana do Castelo unit.

Matosinhos, one of the best northern city surfing spots, is out of the planned High Performance Surfing Centers announced by the Portuguese government.

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Troy Mothershead 

In idyllic, postcard conditions at Agnes Water it was Troy Mothershead (USA) and Chelsea Williams (Tweed Heads, NSW) who shone the brightest, taking the inaugural Smarts Concrete Agnes Water Longboard Classic presented by Sandcastles.

Having seen a congregation of the best longboard riders in the world, the final day of Smarts Concrete Agnes Water Longboard Classic presented by Sandcastles did not disappoint, with big scores and great waves on offer.

As the best in the business revelled in the one-metre conditions on Queensland’s famed Discovery Coast, it was Mothershead and Williams who were in a league of their own.

Pitted against a world-class calibre in the final, Mothershead defeated three WLT competitors on his way to the crown – Jared Neal (Coffs Harbour, NSW), Taylor Jensen (USA) and Jackson Close (Currumbin, QLD) – in an entertaining encounter.

“I never ever expected to win,” Mothershead beamed after his win.

“The level of talent in the final was through the roof.”

Having gotten off to a great start in the final, Mothershead held his nerve towards the latter stages, staving off possible comeback’s from all three

“I managed to grab a couple of really solid early waves and my momentum and confidence just grew,” he said.

Having never before seen the beauty and surfing capabilities of the Discovery Coast, Mothershead, a study abroad student, was more than impressed with what he saw.

“This is my first time here,” he stated.

“It’s a beautiful place, that has so much potential, hopefully one day I can come here an score it good.

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2009 Quiksilver Pro 

With the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG Mobile being called off for the fourth consecutive day due to inconsistent surf, the 2009 ASP World Tour European surfers have been driving around to other locations. Dream Tour rookies Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA) and Michel Bourez (Tahiti, PYF) drove an hour South from Coolangatta's Superbank and enjoyed some good three foot (one meter) waves at Ballina for a training session filmed by their trainer.

"It was fun there, it's good to be able to find some better waves than Snappers or D-Bah when the swell is that small," Boal said. "Snappers was barely breaking yesterday and D-Bah is just packed."

Boal, who was one of three rookies to win his heat in Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast last Saturday, will have to wait another day at least before Round 3 resumes. The Frenchman from Anglet, 25, came up with solid surfing for his opening battle on the 2009 Dream Tour against former ASP Rookie of the Year Fred Patacchia (Oahu, HAW) and veteran Mick Campbell (New South Wales, AUS).

Jeremy Flores (Capbreton/New Caledonia, FRA) and Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) who were the two other Europeans to advance straight to Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, have been chilling the last few days, Flores enjoying the time off to leave his injured ankle at rest. Pires, who requalifed for this year's ASP World Tour throught the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), is expected by many to shine in 2009. Talented tube rider, powerful surfer respected by his peers, Pires will try and use his righthand point break experience to start off the season with a keeper at Snapper Rocks.

"It's my second year on tour and I feel a bit more confident, relaxed and mature," Pires said.  "[We had] a good first day but we have five more days to go so it's still a long way but so far so good."

Four of the 7-man contingent will soon paddle out for their Round 2 match-ups as the forecast shows a possible start for tomorrow Thursday, March 5. Miky Picon (Capbreton, FRA), last year's ASP World Tour No. 21, was relegated to Round 2 on Day 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast after finishing third in his heat and will meet Chris Davidson (AUS) when competition resumes.

Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK), who was awarded a wildcard for this year's ASP World Tour by the World Professional Surfers (WPS), the surfers' union, failed to avoid the second round as well and will have a tough battle against former ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood (Florida, USA) when Heat 3 of Round 2 starts. Aranburu, who finished the year with a promissing equal 9th in the Billabong Pipeline Masters last December after almost six months of injuries, is looking forward to showing he is back with hunger. The first Basque surfer ever to join the ranks of the ASP Top 45 last year will have nothing to lose against Hobgood.

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