Alejo Muniz wins the 2009 Estoril Coast Pro 

Brazil’s wunderkind Alejo Muniz (BRA) won the ASP WQS 6-Star Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 event today finishing on top of the final encounter against fellow finalist Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), clinching crucial 2500 ratings’ points and a US$ 25.000 cheque, the richest winner’s prize of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS).

Muniz, who went through five rounds today defeating favorites and ASP Dream Tour members Tim Boal (FRA) and Marlon Lipke (DEU) on his way to the final, secured his best result to date in Portugal and gets his 2009 ASP season going with a significant confidence boost.

Muniz, 19, whose talent and performances already rocketed him to the status of Braziliam surfing’s next best thing, dominated the Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 througout the week coming out on top of the pack with a couple of 9.60 point rides and an impressive 18.60 point heat combination on Day 3 of competition. Despite the tricky conditions of the final day, Muniz not only showed technical skills but came-up with solid tactics and maturity using his natural talent to defeat two of the world’s best surfers.

“I am just so happy I cannot even realize what I have done right now,” Muniz said. “My only wish coming here was to have fun as much as I could and enjoy my surfing in any kind of waves. It is the perfect day for me and I managed to get the best out of these conditions so I could not have hoped for anymore.”

Muniz, who will be surfing a few ASP WQS events this year, remains focused on his preogression as a junior surfer still and will use the precious 2500 points to build his seeding for 2010 where he shall be a serious contender towards a possible ASP World Tour qualification in the near future. Muniz finishes the Estoril Quiksilver Pro with six of the best 10 results under his belt, a good sign of his potential.

“Defeating Tim (Boal) and Marlon (Lipke) is something I will remember for some time,” Muniz said. “I felt a bit of pressure facing such good surfers but I really thought that focusing on my pleasure and having fun could get me somewhere. I think that’s my biggest lesson from this event.”

Fellow finalist Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), 27, became the first Japanese ever to make the final of an ASP WQS 6-Star event, the experienced competitor being another great surprise in the event after he defeated favorites Joan Duru (FRA) and Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) on his run to the final, two of Europe’s best chances for an ASP Top 45 inception. Ohno, who was running out of energy in the 30-minute decider, heads to Scotland with another keeper for his ASP World Tour qualification.

“I wanted to win and I lacked this last section on my final wave to grab the 6.00 points I needed to get back in the lead,” Ohno said. “It is my best result ever and I am so happy to do well here in Portugal, one of the European countries I like most. Alejo (Muniz) was impressive for sure but I was not far from clinching that crown. Definitely an excellent finish before the next event and a keeper for my main goal which is the ASP World Tour.”

Ohno, who was coming from an equal 5th place finish in Tasmania, leaves Portugal’s surf coast of Estoril with valuable 2188 ratings’ points and will be much expected in the upcoming events where he can certainly cause some damage.

Romain Cloitre (REU), 20, got his best result ever today by reaching the Semifinals of the ASP WQS 6-Star event, the Reunion island born surfer and former ASP European Junior champion confirming his rise in the last couple of years. Cloitre, whose best result was an equal 17 in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in France last year, managed to defeat one of the event’s inform men Heat Joske (AUS), 20, in Round 5 before bettering Morocco’s representative Abdel El Harim (MAR) in the Quarterfinals.


Jesus Pro Am 

The Jesus Pro Am presented by Bible Society and Coastalwatch will celebrate its 25th year in style when it returns to the iconic Manly Beach on May 2 and 3.

The Christian Surfers Australia (CSA) run event is shrouded in history with previous winners including current ASP World Tour surfers Phil McDonald and Amee Donohoe, big wave charger Mark Matthews and old school rippers Simon Law, Rob Page and Matt Cattle.

The Jesus Pro Am always attracts a strong line up of surfers across the 4 divisions and 2009 should be no exception with serious cash and prizes on the line set to attract NSW’s best male and female surfers.

The Open Men’s and Women’s winners will both walk away with $1000 cash with a 7-day Line Up surf trip to Samoa exclusively for the Men and a luxurious weekend away to Salamander Shores Resort at Salamander Bay for the Women.

The Cadet Boys and Girls will battle it out for their share in $500 cash along with a Misfit Shapes Surfboard for the Boys and MG Surfboard for the Girls division winner.

But the action won’t stop with the regulation contest heats, with 12 of the best surfers in the event being handpicked to take to the skies in the Invitational Air Show. The 20 minute extravaganza will see surfers go all out in their quest to land the most innovative aerial maneuver to take home $500 cash!

While the surfing is certain to be red hot all weekend, the Jesus Pro Am is no ordinary surfing contest. It is a major outreach tool aimed at connecting elite surfers and the wider surfing community with CSA and ultimately the Gospel of Jesus.

“Christian Surfers’ major goal is to be a Christian presence and witness in the Australian surfing community” said Christian Surfers’ Central NSW Regional Coordinator Al Westbury. “The Jesus Pro Am is a major outreach tool for elite surfers – surfers who are focused on competition and who aren’t generally connected with Christian Surfers missions along the coast.”

“Our major aim is to run a professional surfing event that engages elite surfers into continuing contact with Christian Surfers’ missions & ultimately local churches,” continued Westbury.


Alejo Muniz

The ASP WQS 6-Star Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 moved closer to its business today as Guincho’s consistent beachbreak delivered some excellent three foot (one meter) waves allowing organisers to wrap up Round 3 and six heats of Round 4, event outsiders creating major upsets for an exciting day of world class surfing. While current ASP Top 45 surfers Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) and Michael Picon (Capbreton, FRA) suffered early eliminations, ASP WQS rising campaigners stole the show to advance through to the first Man-on-man heats of the event planned to kick off tomorrow at Carcavelos, main location of the Estoril Quiksilver Pro.

Marco Giorgi (URY), 21, flew the South American colours today, the newcomer dominating Day 3 of the Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 with exceptional surfing. Giorgi, who placed equal 5th in the recent ASP WQS 4-Star event in France, was unstoppable throughout the day netting an near perfect 9.83 point ride (out of a possible 10) on his way to Round 5.

“I have been having a great time so far in Europe, in or out of the water,” Giorgi said. “The waves were great all day and I am just trying to stay calm. It seems like things are definitely going my way and to get such high scores is definitely a great boost for my confidence before I get to surf my second Man-on-man heat ever.”

Giorgi, whose trip to Europe has been successful so far, will be a serious threat to his next opponent and ASP WQS No. 9 Gony Zubizarreta (Vigo, ESP) when competition resumes possibly tomorrow.

“I feel like I have nothing to lose and everything is bonus from now on,” Giorgi said. “I am just starting my WQS career so I am not expecting any huge result but I will take that one and try and go further of course. I am so stoked to finish the day on top when there is such a high level.”

Several big performances were displayed in the clean sometimes exceptional conditions breaking at Guincho. The incoming tide made the set-up close to perfect giving any surfer the chance to express his skills.

Other South American performer Alejo Muniz (BRA), 19, struck again with his impressive progressive surfing and breath-taking attacks, the rising star showing rare talent to take control of his Round 4 battle easily. Muniz, who secured a 9.00 point ride (out of a possible 10) and a 9.60 point score earlier in the day, showed he could flare in the conditions suiting his surfing and finishes the day with a new favourite status.

“It was such a fun day and I am so happy to keep things up this way before surfing in Round 5,” Muniz said. “I just had fun today and tried to show what I could do on my surfboard. Getting these scores is definitely another good step for me in this event.”

Muniz, who is considered one of surfing’s best rising talents by many, will now meet with other young man and promising talent from France Vincent Duvignac (Mimizan, FRA), 22, in Heat 6 of Round 5.