Island Style Pro Junior 

Medi Veminardi (REU) and Alizee Arnaud (Hossegor, FRA) respectively won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-2 Men’s and Grade-1 Women’s Pro Junior events today at Sopelana in the Basque Counrty, ending victorious after a four-day long event that saw big upsets and major ratings’ points taken for the regional title race.

Medi Veminardi (REU), 18, won the Island Style Men’s Pro Junior after defeating local Basque surfer Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) in a Man-on-Man 30-minute final posting a good 14.00 point heat score (out of a possible 20). Veminardi, who got through three heats today with victories over underdog Thomas Fok Cheong (REU) in Semifinals and Justin Delanne (FRA) in the Quarters, built his confidence with consistency and heat tactics en route to the final where he waited for a last minute 7.50 point ride (out of a possible 10) to secure his maiden ASP Pro Junior title.

"I was really turned on for this final", Veminardi said. "I had a second place in Portugal in April and I was not going to let this go away from me. I am so stoked to win this event as it is a 2-Star and it will be a very important one for the end-of-the-year ratings."

Veminardi, who moves up from No. 4 to No. 3 on the regional ratings, remains well in contention for the crown and 384 points away only from fellow Reunion Island born surfer and current leader Maxime Huscenot (REU).

"This win keeps well in the Top 5 and it is really important to get this halfway through the season", Veminardi said. "My goals are easy now: regional Top 3 at least and a good result at Narabeen in Australia this winter. Still a long way to go."

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Bruce Irons 

Bruce Irons (HAW) has defeated fellow finalist Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) to claim the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Search in rifling four-foot (1.5 metre) lefthanders ‘somewhere’ in Indonesia.

Stop No. 6 of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search saw a marathon day of action capped off by a stunning barrel shootout finale between the young Hawaiians.

Irons, who took down reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and Dream Tour sophomore Ben Dunn (AUS) en route to his Finals berth, came from behind in last 10 minutes of the event, grabbing an 8.33 and a 9.33 to scalp his first ASP World Tour victory.

“One of my goals when I joined the Tour was to win an event and I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen since I’ll be stepping away after this season,” Irons said. “But the waves pumped this event! This is what the Dream Tour should be like all the time. I’m definitely stepping away from the ASP Tour at the end of this year, but I’m not retiring. I’m still planning on competing at Pipeline and Teahupoo and at venues that I can get into.”

The progressive natural-footer eased into the Final against Patacchia grabbing small scores before unleashing a fury of backhand tubes and commited re-entries over dry reef to take the win and move into No. 10 on the ASP World Tour ratings.

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Tiago Pires 

Tiago Pires (PRT), 2008 Dream Tour rookie and current No. 39 on the ASP World Tour ratings, caused a sensational upset today, eliminating eight-time ASP World Champion and current ratings leader on the ASP World Tour, Kelly Slater (USA), from Rip Curl Pro Search competition in Round 3.

Running in solid six foot (2 metre) waves at the primary venue ‘somewhere’ in Indonesia, Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Search was treated to some fantastic performances, none moreso than Pires’ come-from-behind victory over Slater. Needing a 7.16 in the dying moments, Pires watched a priority-holding Slater take the first wave of the set, leaving the European to pig-dog an incredible backdoor pit for an 8.40 and the win.

“There were two waves at the end of that heat and he went on the first one and I took the second and it turned out to be a really good wave,” Pires said. “When I came out of the barrel and into the channel, everyone was screaming. This is the biggest win of my career. I have won a few ASP WQS events, but to beat Slater here in these conditions is amazing.”

Pires’ victory was well celebrated on the cliff by several members of the ASP Top 45 as the young Portuguese surfer is the first Dream Tour competitor to defeat Slater in 2008.

“When I came up through the cave it felt like I won the event,” Pires said. “There were so many people screaming and cheering. It felt really good. I guess it’s a big deal that no one else had beat him this year, but I’ve been training hard and I hope to be going much further in this event.”

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