Silvana Lima 

On a beautiful Thursday of sunshine and good waves in the three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) range, the Billabong Pro Ladies Costao do Santinho determined the Semifinalists that will decide the title on the 12th stop of the ASP WQS Women’s Tour on Saturday in Florianopolis (SC).

The first heat will be a true classic of brazilian surfers between the experienced Brazilians Jacqueline Silva and Tita Tavares. Already the other Semifinal will be a dispute between the young surfers Paige Hareb from New Zealand and Silvana Lima also from Brazil.

With the classification into the Semifinals, Silvana Lima has already secureded the title of ASP South American Champion at Costao do Santinho, even before the final stop of the 2008 ASP South America Tour in Arpoador Beach next week at Rio de Janeiro.

"Only yesterday (Wednesday) I saw on the internet that I was in the fight for the title and all South American title is important and nice to win, then I am very happy," Lima said. "It is like a prize for being the best surfer in the three stops of Billabong events in Brazil, so I’m representing very well my sponsor."

Silvana also commented about the tough heat against a former ASP World Tour surfer, the Australian Claire Bevilacqua, who remained tied with the Hawaiian Bethany Hamilton in tenth place on the ASP WQS ranking that is sorting through the ninth to the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour.

"If you give soft, she leads," Lima said. "She already won at me sometimes. The waves was not so good, and she couldn’t get the score that she needed to win. So that’s it, I move through, but it was not easy."

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Kelly Slater 

Kelly Slater (USA) needs to finish ninth or better in the ninth of event of the year to win his ninth ASP World Title. He’s one heat away from doing so after scoring a 9.00 and a 7.33 to win his Round 1 heat at the Billabong Pro Mundaka back-up venue of Sopelana today.

Slater’s 16.33 heat total was the second highest of the day; easily trumping the single digit totals of his opponents Taylor Knox (USA) and replacement surfer Reubyn Ash (GBR). He advances straight to Round 3 with the result.

“Where I surfed, the waves were better,” Slater said. “I had more options. I couldn’t really hear the scores, but once I did I could tell that Taylor was kind of struggling. Then I found a right with a nice open face and a big air section and that was my 9.00.”

Slater came extremely close to clinching the 2008 ASP World Title in France last week. In doing so, he would have secured his 40th ASP World Tour win at the same place he won his first—in Hossegor. It would have also been the earliest he, or anyone else, had ever won a world title.

Just one good-scoring wave away from overtaking Adrian Buchan (AUS) in their French final bout, Slater came up short and had to settle for second place and a trip to Spain. Being so close to the inevitable is taking its toll on the eight-time ASP World Champion.

“I hadn’t really thought about it that much until I was out there in the water but I don’t want to deal with the emotions of worrying about it anymore,” Slater said. “I just want to try to win one more heat and get it done.”

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Maxime Huscenot 

With the cancellation of this year's last event in Portugal, Maxime Huscenot (REU) and Alizee Arnaud (FRA) officially became the 2008 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) European Junior Champions respectively in the male and female divisions clinching their maiden regional crowns after a very consistent season. Both will lead the European contingent at the ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) in Narabeen, Sydney, Australia, next January.

Alizee Arnaud (Hossegor, FRA), 19, who won three out of seven events this year, dominated the tour in the second half of the summer taking all her wins in a month-time with one ASP Grade-1 and two ASP Grade-2 events including the prestigious Billabong Pro Junior at Ericeira in Portugal.

Arnaud, who becomes the region's leader for a year, will fly the European flag against the world's best female under-21 surfers next January with fellow French surfer Lee-Ann Curren (Anglet, FRA) who earned her ticket with her second place finish on the overall ratings.

In the men's division, 16-year-old Maxime Huscenot (REU) becomes the yougest surfer ever to win the ASP European Junior title after winning the biggest event this year, the ASP Grade-4 Santa Surf Pro Junior in the Canary Islands. Huscenot, who started the year with an equal 3rd in the Rip Curl Pro Junior in Portugal, kept the pressure on his closest followers Medi Veminardi (REU) and Marc Lacomare (FRA) during the summer reaching the Quarterfinals of every event counting for his end-of-the-year points' total.

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