Azores Islands Pro: sunny waves in volcanic soils

The Portuguese volcanic islands of the Azores, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, will be welcoming the best surfers in the world, again in 2012, for the SATA Airlines Azores Pro, in Sao Miguel.

For the first time the event will split the Men's and the Women's divisions to run on two different waiting periods throughout the month.

The Men's 6-Star event running from 4-9 September will open festivities and will welcome a larger field of surfers with the larger format available this year. This will see more surfers travel to the Azores and battle it out in 2012.

"The event rating this year is 6-Star which opens the format to a maximum of 144 surfers", said Rob Gunning, ASP Europe's Tour Manager.

"This increase means more opportunities for not only European surfers but also visiting International surfers to gain valuable rankings points in the second half of the season before the all important Hawaiian leg of events at year's end."

Mobile on the Island, the SATA Airlines Azores Pro will have the possibility to run on different banks along the beautiful beach of Praia do Santa Barbara depending on the conditions on offer throughout the competition.

For the first time apart from the Men's event, the 6-Star Women's SATA Airlines Azores Pro will be a great opportunity for the Women to take full advantage of the waiting period and select the best conditions to let the girls showcase their best abilities in the best of waves. Rodrigo Heredia, organizer of the event, explains his choice of running both events separately.

"The idea is to give more time to both events, the men have six days unique to them and women also have a waiting period exclusively for them" Rodrigo said.

"This decision allows the surfers to be able to surf the best conditions making it all for the athletes, the event and the public. We'll get double chances of showing the world what incredible potential for waves we have here in Azores!"

Pauline Ado currently one of two European ambassadors on the ASP Women's World Championship Tour is a regular participant in Azores and will once again travel to this Atlantic paradise.

"It's a superb island and we usually all get to escape a little and visit the volcanic areas and warm water sources within the island. This year it'll probably end the Qualifying series so this will be a very important event for both surfers trying to qualify for the World Tour and European surfers after the Regional Title !"