Surfing Olympics 

The first meeting for the organization of the South American Beach Games took place in Montevideo and Punta del Este this past weekend. The Games will be carried out from February 27 to March 8 at Montevideo and Punta del Este beaches in Uruguay.

It will be the second time an Olympic Movement Beach Games are held. The first one finished on October 27th  in Bali, Indonesia where surfing had been successfully included. In fact, surfing was the favorite sport in the on-line voting at the Beach Games website.

Authorities of the Uruguayan Bureau of Tourism and Sports, the Uruguayan Olympic Committee, the South American Sports Organization (ODESUR) and different representatives of the ten sports that will be part of the Games – Beach Rugby, Beach Handball, Open Sea Swimming competitions, Beach Volley, Triathlon, Water Sky, Sailing, Soccer, Fitness and Surfing- gathered together in the Radisson Victoria Plaza Hotel at Montevideo and in Solanas at Punta del Este.

In the meeting, all the technical details for the different sports were set and Surfing had its own place side by side with some Olympic Sports. Another step in the long path of surfing’s inclusion into the Olympic Games.

Surfing will have three events: Open Men, Open Women and Aloha Cup (Tag Team). Each country will participate with four Open Men and Two Open Women surfers to have a full team. Medals will be delivered to individual men and women performances and to the Aloha Cup team. Surfers will compete as members of their National Olympic Committee delegation.

Montoya is the beach chosen for the surfing event. It has a left pointbreak, a right pointbreak and a consistent beachbreak between the two points.

The following will be the fifteen countries that invitated to participate in the Games: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Aruba and Uruguay. Ten of these countries have a national federation recognized by the International Surfing Association, thus these ten countries are expected to compete in surfing, for a total of 60 athletes.

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ASP 2009

Following one of the most historic board meetings to date, the ASP has introduced the option for a new competition format to be implemented in ASP World Tour events in 2009.

While the traditional 48-man format will still be available, events can elect to implement an altered 48-man format consisting of the following: two opening elimination man-on-man rounds. Round 1 will consist of 32 surfers, those rated 17 – 27 on the ASP World Tour, three Tour/Injury wildcards, the Top 15–rated surfers on the ASP WQS and three event wildcards.

The seeding formula will remain the same as the traditional format, with the No. 17 seed up against the No. 32 seed in Heat 8, the No. 18 seed against the No. 31 seed in Heat 9, etc. After Round 1, all remaining competitors will be reseeded for Round 2.

The Top 16 on the ASP World Tour are seeded directly in Round 2 where they will meet the 16 victors from Round 1 in the re-seeded draw. The Top 10 from the previous year’s Dream Tour will be guaranteed a Round 2 seed all year long, while the next 6 seeds have to maintain their seeded position and can be replaced by better performing back 32 surfers after the third ASP World Tour event of the year. This means that the Top 16 seeds in 2009 will remain unchanged until after the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.

After Tahiti, only the Top 10 from the previous year will hold their spots (which is probably a good incentive to do Brazil and Pipeline this season), while the next 6 could be replaced if guys from the back 32 secure more seeding points. Seeding points going into Snapper will remain in effect.

The new format has already been adopted by the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, the Billabong Pro Mundaka and the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the opening event of the 2009 ASP World Tour, has opted to run with the traditional format, and Rip Curl are undecided which format they will implement at their Bells Beach and Search events.

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Nat Young 

Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 17, won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic in great four-to-six foot (2 metre) surf in front of his home crowd at Steamer Lane. Young defeated fellow finalists Chris Waring (Seal Beach, CA), 21, Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI), 18, and Sean Moody (North Shore, HI), 25, and reclaimed the O’Neill Cold Water Classic title for the Santa Cruz locals in a close Final.

The ASP WQS offers valuable ratings points towards qualification for the ASP World Tour. Each surfer looks to earn a top 15 position on the ASP WQS by year’s end in order to qualify for the ASP Dream Tour for the following year.

Young came out on top after a nail-biting Final against his fellow competitors. The Steamer Lane local displayed some of the best backside surfing throughout the event and continued his amazing form to claim the O’Neill Cold Water Classic win.

“I’m super excited,” Young said. “I lost in the junior’s and just wanted to do good in this. Just making the Final in this was good, and to win it…”

Young’s Final berth came after a long day of competition. The goofy-footer won both his Quarterfinals and Semifinals heats in the last few minutes of each heat on the way to his event victory. Young ousted fellow Santa Cruz locals Jason Collins (Santa Cruz, CA), 34, and Randy Bonds (Santa Cruz, CA), 31, in his Semifinals heat, taking top honors over his local idols.

“It’s been a long day,” Young said. “I’ve been in my wetsuit since about 7am and I squeaked through a couple of heats and made the Final and everyone was surfing so good.”

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