Gonzalo Zubizarreta 

An action-packed day of competition took the ASP WQS 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic into serious business today as no less than thirty-two heats were held in consistent three to four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves, thirty-two men only making the cut through Rounds 3 and 4. A majority of event top seeds escaped from a shocker loss and the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings’ top competitors could start grabbing valuable points and secure themselves a ticket for Day 3 of competition where things will heat-up fast.

As light on-shore winds and grey skies settled over Pantin’s renowned beach, heat tactics and wave choice were crucial again throughout the day giving a clear advantage to those sitting on the consistent right-handers offering more scoring potential. Advancing through two heats today thanks to a series of solid and committed turns to reach the excellent result range in Round 2 was Australian competitor Shaun Gossmann Gold Coast, AUS), 26, who was at ease despite the changing surf conditions today.

“I really enjoy Pantin, I’ve had good results here over the years and I enjoy the little corner to the right of the beach which reminds me of the Wall at Duranbah,” Gossmann said. “I felt in rhythm today despite the few slow moments but I got a bit of momentum and just carried through with it.”

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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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