Joan Duru in the Estoril Coast Pro 

The second day of the Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009 saw some spectacular action take place at Guincho, back-up beach of the ASP WQS 6-Star event, with three foot (one meter) greeting top seeds for their start of their Portuguese campaign. The international field of contestants displayed a variety of classic and progressive surfing throughout today's twenty heats with most of the favourites finding their way out of Round 2 and secure their spot in the last 48-man pack.

Dominating by far proceddings today was 19-year-old Brazilian wunderkind Alejo Muniz (BRA) with impressive levels of surfing combining solid classic re-entries with flying maneuvers in the tricky fast-breaking waves of Guincho. Muniz, who has been rising on the international surfing stage for a couple of years now since he won the Under-16 Quiksilver King of the Groms event in France, clearly expressed his building confidence besting ASP Dream Tour Michael Picon (Capbreton, FRA), 29, with an explosive 18.60 point heat result (out of a possible 20) to advance through to Round 3 and secure the event's highest result thus far.

"I just tried to enjoy myself and have fun out there because I knew it would be a tough heat," Muniz said. "Surfing against Michael (Picon) who is an ASP Top 45 member was not going to be easy so I had nothing to lose and just let my surfing speak for me. I was a little b it nervous before paddling out but I got those good waves and I am stoked to make it through today." 

Muniz, who netted 9.00 and 9.60 point rides in twenty minutes, left the water with one minute remaining only, confident with his performance knowing he was guaranteed to move forward in the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star competition. Muniz, with his run today, leads all statistics with both best single wave and heat scores before the event reaches its business end where big scores will be expected.

"It gives good confidence to win a heat like that and especially against good surfers," Muniz said. "I don't have any specific goal here and I am hoping to go as far as possible but there isn't any pressure as I am not focusing on the WQS yet. I just want to better my seeding and get points for next year."

Fellow Quiksilver team riders Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) and Joan Duru (FRA) came-up with equivalent surfing, the 19-year-old Frenchman keeping-up his last-couple-of-weeks excellent form to post a 9.50 point ride (out of a possible 10) and remain confident towards his target. Duru, who ended up with a promising 14.93 point heat score in Heat 11, will now face outsiders Tinguinha Lima (BRA), Estoril B! Pro Junior runner-up Joaquim Guichard (DNK) and Madison Williams (AUS).

"I am pretty happy with that first run today and it is definitely a relief to get out of Round 2 with a big score," Duru said. "I was pretty relaxed but was not feeling too comfortable on my board and fell quite a few times. I was surfing the board I had in the ASP WQS 4-Star Protest Vendee Pro and things went well so I am happy."

Duru, who made the Quarterfinals of the ASP Grade-2 Estoril B! Pro Junior last Sunday, is targeting a qualification for next year's ASP World Tour and will be aiming at a big result this week in the Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009.

"I entered the Pro Junior event to get used to the waves and got through a few heats so I am happy with that event," Duru said. "However, my main goal is to qualify for the Dream Tour this year and I am definitely focused on the major events of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) to achieve my goal."


 Estoril Coast Pro 2009

The Estoril Quiksilver Pro 2009, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Men’s rated event, kicked-off today in Portugal with Round 1 and four heats of Round 2 being held in consistent wind-blown three to four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves at Guincho, back-up venue of the 2009 edition running until Sunday, April 26, 2009. The first day of competition witnessed world class action with ASP World Tour rookies Tim Boal (FRA) and Marlon Lipke (DEU) and Portuguese favourite Tiago Pires (PRT) taking control of proceedings with style.

Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 25, who had to surf in Round 1 due to entering late in the event, came-up with impressive carves and vertical committed maneuvers to easily lead and win Heat 10 against outsiders Dillon Perillo (USA), Nuno Telmo (PRT) and Ricardo Lange (DEU). Boal, who is currently rated No. 24 in the world, was surfing his first ASP WQS of the year and looked very comfortable during the 25-minute battle scoring an excellent 17.27 point result (out of a possible 20), enough to join fellow top seeds in Round 2 tomorrow.

“The waves were fun and I felt pretty relaxed out there,” Boal said. “The wind didn’t affect the conditions too much and things went pretty well for me. I broke my leash halfway through the heat but still managed to get a second good ride so I am pretty happy with that start.”

Boal, who has been travelling through Australia and Tahiti for a couple of months since the start of the ASP World Tour in February, decided to drive down to Portugal and enter the ASP WQS 6-Star event a few days ago only.

“I needed to test a few new boards and the weather and waves in France were not that good,” Boal said. “I saw there were some available spots in the event and now I am here so hopefully I can get a result before heading back to Trestles next week then Tahiti for the ASP World Tour.”

Boal will meet with Californian big wave legend Peter Mel (USA), France’s rising star Vincent Duvignac (FRA) and Dale Lovelock (AUS).

Dream Tour surfers’ domination was confirmed by fellow rookie Marlon Lipke (Faro, PRT), 24, the German surfer netting a 16.23 point score (out of a possible 20) finishing his run with an 8.50 point ride (out of a possible 10) to secure his Round 2 ticket. Lipke, who has had a tough start for his rookie season with two last-place results in Australia, unleashed his powerful attack to get out of Round 1 and get on with his Estoril Quiksilver Pro campaign.

“The waves were definitely contestable and we surfed at a good time of the day with the right tide,” Lipke said. “It was a good day and there had been lots of good scores before my heat so I was relaxed and just looked for the better waves. It’s a great feeling to surf in an event in Portugal after all that travel in the past two months.”

Lipke, who will travel to California next week and join Boal and the rest of the European Dream Tour contingent in Tahiti after that, is a former winner in the Estoril Quiksilver Pro (2007) and will be looking to better his equal 5th place finish from last year this week.

“I have no pressure and I really enjoying the bit of time in Portugal while I can,” Lipke said. “I am surfing here with nothing to lose and I am having a good time surfing a WQS event with this state of mind. Compared to last year when every heat could make a difference, it is really pleasant to paddle out here relaxed with absolutely no pressure.”


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