Mike Losness 

Mike Losness (San Clemente, CA), 28, claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star Vans Pier Classic pres. by Jack’s Surfboards today over fellow finalists Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, who won the Ezekiel pro Junior and finished in second in the men’s event, Hank Gaskell (Hana, HI), 22, and Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 21, in windy two-to-four foot (1 metre) conditions at South Huntington Beach Pier this afternoon.

All surfers competing in the Vans Pier Classic were looking to better their seed towards qualification for the ASP World Tour and ASP Pro Junior surfers were out to kick 2009 off on a good note at their season opener. ASP North American Pro Junior Series competitors look to finish in the top five on the series to qualify for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.

Losness jumped out to an early lead in the Vans Pier Classic Final by dropping an impressive 8.5 out of 10 on his first wave with several crushing backside blasts on a right-hand Huntington wall. He eventually put the nail in the coffin over his fellow finalists when he dropped a back up score of 7.65 out of 10, solidifying the win.

“It was tough to hear out there and I could kind of hear that I had the 8.5,” Losness said. “I knew I needed another good score though because all of the other guys have been surfing so well throughout the entire event. It seemed like Dillon (Perillo) was getting an 8 on every wave, so I knew I needed another score.”

The explosive goofy-footer felt the key to his success at the Vans Pier Classic was partially due his relaxed approach to surfing in the event.

“The waves were not amazing all week, they were kind of small, but still contestableand still fun,” Losness said. “I came up to this event not expecting too much, I had the goal of making the Quarterfinals and once I made that I figured anything after this is good. It’s cool once you set goals for yourself like that, if you don’t tell yourself that you have to win the event, for me, once I set my goal, I usually do better because I’m happy with myself and I can go from there.”

Perillo was in domineering form throughout the event’s entirety and tore his way through to both the ASP WQS and ASP Pro Junior Finals. The up-and-coming Californian made his progressive fins-free turns and air-reverses seem effortless throughout the five-day contest and claimed the Ezekiel Pro Junior and finished runner-up in the Vans Pier Classic. The Ezekiel Pro Junior win sees Perillo atop the ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings for 2009.

“I’m so stoked to have won the first contest,” Perillo said. “Every heat I just tried to stay focused and do the same thing and I had three heats back-to-back. I just had fun and tried to not get too tired.”

Despite surfing seven heats on the final day of competition, Perillo gave the ASP WQS Final his all and ran out of gas while attempting to overtake eventual Vans Pier Classic champion, Losness.

“Mike pretty much blew us out of the water,” Perillo said. “I was trying to win, but then I was just trying to get second. I was so exhausted, I tried my hardest, but every time I went to do a turn my feet kept slipping.”


Jordy Smith Wins O'Neill Cold Water Classic in Tasmania Australia 

The solid two metre (6ft) waves of Bluffs Reef proved ideal for South African sensation Jordy Smith.(Durban) to win the O’Neill Cold Water Classic in Tasmania today. 

World no.9 Smith defeated world no.5 Damien Hobgood with a total heat score of15.56 to13.17 (combined two wave total out of a possible 20) in the final of the 6 star World Qualifying Series (WQS) earning USD20000 and 2500 WQS points.

Both surfers known for their competitive prowess suffered slow starts in the 35 minute final. With ten minutes remaining Smith locked in a heat-high 8.73 to back up his earlier 6.83 for victory.  Twenty-one year Smith’s free surfing approach key to his victory today with massive snaps and big aerial maneuvers all part of the young guns repertoire.

Smith a clear standout from his opening heat in the week long event overcame a class international field of 192 surfers to claim victory in the inaugural event held in the wild north-west of Tasmania.

Twenty-nine year-old Hobgood held an early lead with a 7.50 but could only lock in a 5.67 as his second scoring ride to be forced to settle for second place. Today’s result once again proving the nine-year world tour veteran is a proven ripper in solid waves despite hailing from the small wave location of Florida.

“I’ve had the greatest time here in Tasmania, it’s been just amazing with such powerful surf and fun people in this remote location” said Smith after his win.

“I always enjoy surfing waves that offer power and here in Tasmania every wave you surf is straight out of the deep southern waters and the power just makes for great surfing, I love it.”

Damien Hobgood was just as impressed with the wilds of North west Tasmania after placing second said “It’s been a special week for me here in Tasmania, so many great waves and just amazing people who have welcomed us here. It’s been an adventure for all of us and I’ve felt like a young kid all week!”

In the semi finals Smith used a lucky last wave to end the dream run of future world-beater Jadson Andre of Brazil.  Twenty-one year Andre - who had earlier eliminated the tournaments top seed of world no.5 C J Hobgood – led for most of the 35-minute match-up until Smith locked in a last-minute 8.27 score to secure a finals berth. Andre eliminated by less than one point on 15.27 to Smith’s total heat tally of 16.10. Andre finished equal third overall claiming USD 5000 and 1875 WQS points.


2009 ISA World Juniors 

The world's best junior surfers hit the water today for the first round of competition at the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. Unveiling the future of surfing to a full crowd on the beach, some of the most talented Under 18 and Under 16 Boys unleashed their full repertoire of maneuvers on the surf at Playa de las FAE in Salinas, Ecuador.

“We are pleased with the surf today, said ISA President Fernando Aguerre “The point was going off today, with some surfers getting at least 300 meters of open face on their waves. Even I got a few waves with a sunset session after the event.”

Running on double banks (two contest areas) event organizers were able to hold 24 heats of Under 18 Boys and 24 heats of Under 16 Boys. Past ISA Junior event champions Australia, Brazil and Hawaii were in stellar form, posting some of the highest scores of the day. Quiksilver Young Gun of Australia Garrett Parkes threw down a solid combined heat score of 16.50 points (out of 20) followed closely behind by Brazil's Ian Gouveia, son of former WCT Fabio Gouveia, who secured a 15.50.

But as the horn blew on the last heat of the day, it was clearly the French, often an underestimated threat, who showed that they are a force to be reckoned with. Starting off in the morning in less than an hour into the competition, Dimitri Ouvre came out of the gates firing with a 9.0 and an 8.73 for the highest combined score of the day. The rest of the French team fared well in the Under 18 division with all three of today's competing team members taking the top spot in their heats.

“The heat was fun, I love surfing good waves like this,” said Dimitri Ouvre. “I just focused on getting the best waves and tried to surf conservative. I think it is good to start a contest this way, I just want to focus on my own surfing and get to a final who knows maybe even win the Worlds.”

With fresh energy, new uniforms, tremendous talent and a really close team, USA dominated today, taking first place in all of their heats for both Under 18 and Under 16. USA team member Nat Young will take to the water tomorrow morning to close out Round One of Under 18 Boys.

All of the competitors showed tremendous heart and passion today giving it their all to avoid the repercharge rounds. There were some really close heats – most notably heat five's match-up between Brazilian, Ecuadorian and Chilean surfers. Brazil's Felipe Braz took an early lead with a 5.0 with Ecuador's David Villaroel answering back with a 4.77. At the end of the heat, Braz and Villaroel were tied at 8.87 with the win being given to Braz for having a higher single-wave score. Chile's Diego Maria finished third with an 8.40.

Another close race ensued between Canada and Costa Rica in heat 14, with both surfers fighting tooth and nail to avoid the repercharge rounds. In the end, Canada's Janek Peladeau took second to Medi Veminardi of France, while Costa Rican Maikol Torres finished third.