Chad Compton 

The kick-off of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic put the ASP Caravan back to work with all surfers and staff getting on with the European leg meant to wrap-up next weekend. After a thick fog forced organizers to wait until midday to send the first heat out, things went on smoothly in clean three-foot waves giving Round 1 competitors their chance to advance and join event top seeds into Round 2 where seventy-two men are directly seeded.

With the inconsistency of the waves making things hard for all competitors, today’s winners looked for precise wave selection and heat tactics to clinch their ticket for Round 2 and the expected better conditions supposed to start breaking from tomorrow morning at Pantin. With a series of close heats and average scores, a couple of surfers only managed to step-up and find some scores in the excellent range, both surfing in Heat 2 of today’s first round and advancing through to Round 2.

Matt Pagan (California, USA), came up with the day’s best heat result of 16.60 points (out of a possible 20) showing the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) judging panel he could go vertical and let his fins go off-the-top to claim a 9.17 point ride, the best of Day 1. Pagan, who has been competing for his first season in Europe this summer, dominated his bout to grab a ticket for Round 2 where he will meet with Hawaiian wunderkind John John Florence (Oahu, HAW), Romain Laulhe (Anglet, FRA) and Marco Polo (BRA).

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Ekkarat Sriden 

The Quiksilver Thailand Surf Series 2009 finished up yesterday in spectacular but often testing surfing conditions at beautiful Kata Beach in Phuket Thailand, with this final event culminating in both Island Crown event winners and the overall championship winners of the three-event series. Over 100 surfers participated in the Island Crown, locals as well as surfers from Australia, Japan, France, South Africa, Indonesia, Hawaii, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Over the course of the three-day event, the surf at Kata Beach varied from 2-3 foot glassy faces to stormy 5-6 foot non-stop windswell, giving the competitors in each division a challenging test of their endurance and skill. “If I wasn’t in the contest I wouldn’t have paddled out for some of those heats. In all my years of surfing here in Phuket I’ve never surfed in conditions like this. It was really hard work but I’m glad I did it,” said Decha “Day” Sittidej after his heat on Saturday morning. Saturday’s competition was stopped three times when howling winds brought torrents of rain that blasted the beach for several minutes.

On Sunday the weather and the waves made a miraculous turn to produce a sunny and less windy day with more controlled surfing conditions overall. There were still sizeable waves that at low tide made for lots of paddling, but the surfers were up to the challenge and the spectators enjoyed cheering them on from the beach.

On Sunday evening at the end of the three days of competition, everyone gathered by the pool of the Kata Beach Resort for the awards presentation. After enjoying the delicious food and tapping the bountiful supplies of Kingfisher Beer and Jim Beam, as well as other refreshments, the crowd was treated a Quiksilver/Roxy fashion show by the stunning Maxim models.

Having gotten the crowd’s attention, Mr. Chanin “Joob” Aiyarak then took to the stage and begun the awards ceremony, starting with the Island Crown events winners in the Junior, Women’s, Longboard, and finally Men’s Open Division. Oliver Penmit got his first event series win in the Juniors, Tiffany Riggs from Australia was victorious in the Women’s, Aaron Wright from the USA stole the show in the Longboards, and Jamie Smith claimed his first win at his home break of Kata Beach.

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Charles Martin 

Charles Martin (GLP), 18, won the ASP Grade-3 Santa Surf Pro Junior in Tenerife today after defeating fellow finalist Frederico Morais (PRT) in the last Man-on-man battle of the 2009 ASP European Junior tour.

Martin, who ousted recently crowned ASP European Junior Champion Marc Lacomare (FRA) in the Semifinals, confidently led the final bout of the year against Morais to win his second event this season after the ASP Grade-2 contest at Lacanau mid-August, both men securing their ticket for the 2009 ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) after respectively finishing their 2009 campaign ranked No. 2 and 3 on the ASP European Junior ratings.

Martin, who posted a couple of high-seven scores throughout his two heats today to claim the prestigious title, was in excellent form this week in the consistent surf and let his surfing speak to oust defeat unexpected but solid runner-up Frederico Morais with a good 14.00 point heat result. The 18-year-old rising star, who peaked with an equal 3rd at the WJC in Australia in 2008, was able to display progressive and power-surfing to take out the final event.

“The final wasn’t that great because we macked a few waves,” Martin said. “But overall, it was a great contest with good surf every day and long enough heats. The level was pretty amazing this week since Round 1, and the fast-breaking waves on offer offer a great scoring potential when you get the right one.

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