ASP Mundaka 2008 

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour wrapped up an exciting week of competition last week at the Quiksilver Pro France, with eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 36, missing his ninth world title by a loss in the Final to dark horse Adrian Buchan (Avoca Beach, AUS), 26. Slater is not far from the 2008 title however, needing only a ninth place finish at the upcoming Billabong Pro Mundaka to seal the deal. Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA) 23, and Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL) were standout performers in France as well.

Slater’s runner up finish in France marked his sixth Final appearance out of eight events held to date and was the only time he entered a Final and did not come out with a win. The second place result forces Slater to look towards Mundaka to claim this year’s title. The ASP World Tour legend will only need two heat victories to be crowned 2008 ASP World Champion and his first heat will include fellow veteran Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 37, and event wildcard Reubyn Ash (Bude, GBR), 20.

“In Mundaka for some reason I haven’t had trouble in those wildcard heats but in Brazil I have before,” Slater said. “Taj and Mick haven’t won this year but they’ve both won in Brazil and they’ve gotten seconds and thirds in Mundaka, so those are good contests for those guys. But worse case scenario for me, it will be narrowed down to one guy at the next event.”

Martinez landed a fifth place finish in France, moving him to seventh overall on the ratings. The Santa Barbara native continues to be a dominating force amongst his competitors after his third year on tour and is still motivated to better his seed regardless of Slater’s dominating season.

“For me it’s different,” Martinez said. “I am new to this tour – I am not going to give up, I’m not going to quit just because Kelly won the title. I don’t care; I still want to do my best. People where I come from never had the opportunity to do stuff and I have one so I’m going to take it and run with it as far as I can. As much as people are over it after watching Kelly win all the time, I look at it like there are kids where I come from who have nothing and this is something big for me. I ain’t goin to quit. Kelly won, but for me it’s different. It ain’t over ‘till it’s over for me. I’m here and I’m going to run with it as far as I can.”

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Thomas Woods 

In hot almost summer like conditions at Jan Juc Beach, talented Gold Coast surfer Thomas Woods and Victoria’s own Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Island) took convincing wins in the blue ribbon 16 year Boy and Girl divisions of the prestigious Rip Curl GromSearch Series in clean small 0.5m surf.

The win qualifiers both surfers for a position in the Rip Curl GromSearch Australian final which will run at Bells Beach just prior to the Rip Curl Pro World Championship event at Bells Beach next Easter and both have the opportunity to then go on and surf in the GromSearch international final which also runs at Bells during Easter.

Thomas Woods (15 years old) was in awesome form today easily winning his semi final and taking command in the final early when he scored an excellent 8 point ride.

“I can’t believe I’ve finally won , it’s the best result of my life and to qualify for the Australian final is such a relief. I’ll surf the rest of the series with no pressure and just go big and try and win the overall ratings as well” said Woods after his win.

“These events are really hard to win with so many great young surfers competing at each event and to defeat Ryan Callinan (Newcastle) who has surfed so well all week is just a great result for me”

Woods ended the final with a score line of 14.83 for his top two rides to Callinan on 13.80 with NSW surfers Wade Carmichael and Jack Scollard in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Nikki Van Dijk’s excellent junior career took another significant step forward with her win in the Girls division. The 14 year old Phillip Island surfer surfed in both the 14 Girls and the 16 Girls division and while she had to settle for 2nd in the 14’s behind NSW rival Ellie Jean Coffey, Van Dijk dominated the 16 Girls division to take a very easy win and secure her position into the national Rip Curl GromSearch final.

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Adrian Buchan 

Adrian Buchan (AUS) has beaten eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) to win his first ever ASP World Tour event – the Quiksilver Pro France – in Hossegor, France today.

Buchan beat Slater 15.73 to 15.16 in a tight heat held at Les Bourdaines this afternoon. The final berth was the first of Buchan’s ASP World Tour career. Prior to winning the Quiksilver Pro France, Buchan he had never advanced from the quarterfinal round.

“I can’t believe it, to have Kelly in the final and to beat him, I am speechless,” Buchan said. “He is my hero. I have watched him win five events this year – he has just been phenomenal. He sets the bar so high for all of us guys, I am really thankful that surfing has got such a great custodian."

Had Buchan lost the heat, Slater would have clinched his ninth ASP World Title. Buchan led the heat for most of the 35-minute affair with Slater needing a very attainable 7.51 to change the situation. The eight-time ASP World Champion caught a wave with seconds to go but came up short.

“I tried not to think about it paddling out for the final,” Buchan said. “I had visions of him winning the title but I just tried to focus on myself and what I had to do out there – get two really good waves. Luckily Kelly did not get that one at the end."

Buchan, who has been on tour for three years, spent the first half of his rookie year injured. He earned an injury wildcard to compete on the tour in 2007 and finished the year rated 19th. He jumps to world No. 9 with this result.

“I have been injured so obviously doing well and to have a win today makes it all sweet,” Buchan said. “My goal this year was to finish in the top 10 so we’ll see, we might have to take a look at reassessing that."

Slater dug deep in an effort to win his sixth event of the season, willing a last minute wave to pop up in the dying seconds. Despite needing a relatively small score, he was unable to pull out the last-minute comeback he’s renowned for.

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