Bruno Santos

Brazilian Bruno Santos is the new 2009 Hang Loose Pro Contest Champion.

Santos paddled out in two-to-four foot (1 metre) barreling waves at Cacimba do Padre Beach three times today, beating the defending champion of the event Brazilian Raoni Monteiro 15.40 to 8.67 in the great Final. Santos, who is one of the best barrel riders in the world, finished the day with the title and the lead of 2009 ASP WQS ratings.

In the Final, Monteiro opened the heat with an excellent score of 8.67 points, then Santos emerged from a deep left-hand barrel to earn a near-perfect 9.90 and with fifteen minutes to go. Santos was in second with the priority.

With a set approaching, Santos took the first wave in an effort to get the lead, but Monteiro also paddle for the wave and committed a paddle interference, losing his second best wave and his chances to win the Final. After that, Monteiro also scored a 7.67 and a 7.07. In the last 10 minutes, Santos snuck into a small barrel on the wave, earned a 5.50 and won the heat.

"The way I like, I always pray to get barreling waves in the contests, and we had perfect waves in five days of surfing," Santos said.

Before the Final, Santos won the second Semifinal against Brazilian Marcelo Trekinho (who got the second and last 10 point ride of the event) and the Quarterfinal No. 3 against the young surfer Ian Gouveia (16).

"I think I had luck too," Santos said. "The waves came to me and Monteiro made some mistakes today. Noronha is my favorite event of the year and this is the place that I most like to go back every year and win here was great, I really happy with that."

With the result today, Monteiro moves to ASP WQS No. 3. The Final was Monteiro’s second Final in the Hang Loose Pro Contest in a row, he won the event in 2008.

Despite having an amazingly consistent campaign in the event, Monteiro was unable to claim the victory, but started the year with a great result at Cacimba do Padre. Monteiro was gracious in defeat – giving credit to Santos for his impressive surfing throughout the event.

Raoni began the day winning the opening heat of this Sunday against his good friend Leonardo Neves, then we took out of the event Brazilian Marco Polo, who surfed the first 10 point ride of the 2009 Hang Loose Pro Contest.

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Kelly Slater

Reigning and nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, will begin his campaign for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title at the Quiksilver Pro presented by LG Mobile.

Event No. 1 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro will be held at the Gold Coast’s Snapper Rocks from February 28 through March 11, 2009. The Quiksilver Trials and Roxy Trials will take place on February 27, 2009.

Slater, who in past seasons has been reluctant to commit to a full year of competition, has announced his intentions for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and has acknowledged the allure of a possible 10th ASP World Title.

“I commit to where I am,” Slater said. “I’ll be on the Gold Coast for sure. I’m pretty excited about some new equipment and am ready to surf, I think. No. 10 is alluring and is there for the attempt, but I’ll let everyone else worry about the pressure of it as well as I can.”

Despite the Floridian’s dominance on last year’s ASP Dream Tour, Slater admits that the acquisition of ASP World Title No. 10 will be no easy feat, especially considering the hunger and talent of returning ASP Top 45 rippers.

“I’m not sure whether Dane (Reynolds) and Jordy (Smith) will pull straight up to that level to start this year or not, but I know that Parko’s always hungry and Mick (Fanning) goes without saying,” Slater said. “C.J. (Hobgood) got a taste of it last year again and will come out firing for sure. Taj (Burrow) will be hungry, but I wonder how his focus will be after a couple of really great seasons and not quite the results that his surfing shows all the time – he’s always one of the best at Snapper. Bede (Durbidge) will quietly execute more people and Bobby (Martinez) is going to be the hungriest, starting the year without a main sponsor.”

In addition to the returning stars on this year’s ASP World Tour, a new crop of fresh faces will be joining the best surfers on the planet as they traverse the globe tearing apart the best waves in the world.

“I think Kerr could show some big things, but he was never able to capitalize on a great start the other year and never really backed it up when the time came,” Slater said. “I don’t expect him to make the same mistakes this time. Nathaniel Curran could quietly take a few people out. I’m really interested to see Barca and what he will do. He’s finally made the tour and I don’t know if people outside of Hawaii know how good he is yet, especially guys on the World Tour. For all of them, it’s a transition from four-man to two-man, and it’s a different field with more experience. Rookies need a good start to get out of tough seeding position as well – the first three events are key to a guy requalifying.”

Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, former ASP World Champion (2007), jumped seven spots to ASP World No. 8 last season, but the ultra-fit natural-footer is recharged and ready for another assault at the ASP World Title.

“Last year, I wasn’t motivated at all really,” Fanning said. “It was a huge learning curve for me with all the extra attention, but I had fun. I also had a hip problem throughout the year so I took a couple of events off to get on top of that. This year, I feel very focused and motivated for a big year. I am healthy and fit and everything else is going really well.”

Fanning will draw on his hometown experience at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, putting his years of experience at the iconic Snapper Rocks to good use.

“It is great to start the year off at my home break,” Fanning said. “I guess it is like when everyone has an event at their home break and you’re comfortable. You know the waves by heart and you sleep in your own bed and drive your own car. There is nothing like it – it’s great. Obviously the Top 5 will always be huge threats but I think Bede (Durbidge) and Joel (Parkinson) have something they really want this year and they are focused on getting it. I think Michel Bourez will be the biggest standout of the rookies.”

Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, current ASP World No. 2, has improved his standing every year since his elite inception at 2005, and has his eyes set on the ASP World Title in 2009.

“I have had a good steady climb on the ratings so I guess there is only one more spot to go now,” Durbidge said. “It’s always been my goal to win the ASP World Title so I’m in a great spot now to give it a good shot. My preparation has been going really well. It’s so good to have all this time off and work on my fitness and my boards. It’s the longest break we get all year so it’s perfect to build a good fitness and set up for the year ahead.”

“Kelly (Slater) had nearly a perfect season last year,” Durbidge said. “He was in such good form – he was just on at every event. To take Kelly out this year is a big ask, but it is achievable and I feel I’m up to the challenge. I’m just going to focus on all the things I can do to give myself the best chance and hopefully he doesn’t have a season like last year.”

Owen Wright

The ASP Grade-3 Billabong Pro Junior Coffs Harbour was run and won today in epic conditions, as Owen Wright (Lennox Head, NSW) claimed his third straight event on the 2009 ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series.

As conditions rapidly increased overnight with the arrival of a fresh 3-4m swell, competitors were greeted with solid, rugged, storm-like peaks as they battled at Coffs Harbour Jetty.

However, as the swell, rainsqualls and wind abated, what was left was near-perfect four-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves­ which were welcomed with open arms by competitors and officials alike.

None more so than Wright, who dominated the Final defeating, Garrett Parkes(Lennox Head, NSW), Perth Standlick (Bondi, NSW) and Davey Cathels (North Narrabeen, NSW), who finished second, third and fourth respectively.

Wright, who now holds a massive lead on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior ratings after three straight victories, was in super-human form once again, accruing a combined heat total of 17.00 (out of a possible 20).

“It feels great,” Wright said. “To win again is a dream. I’ve just got some really good momentum at the moment and hopefully it can continue onwards.”

High scores dominated the day’s competition as the finest junior surfers in Australasia pushed the boundaries of competitive surfing.

Wright locked in a virtually perfect 9.90 (out of a possible 10) in his Semifinal, Standlick followed suit with a 9-point ride, whilst Dean Bowen (Gerroa, NSW) added an 8.00 (out of a possible 10) only to be eliminated.

While the second Semifinal saw event standout Parkes awarded the highest accolade in surfing ­ a perfect 10 after combining a mind-blowing barrel with a radical combination of turns. Only to be followed up by a 8.65 (out of a possible 10) to Cathels a mere two minutes later.

“The standard of surfing was so high throughout the Final and the Semis, all the guys were ripping,” Wright said. “To beat guys like Davey, Perth and Garrett is awesome. Having grown-up with these guys, to finally get a result over them is a good feeling.”

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Brad Spencer, Annissa Flynn, and Daniel Tarapchak have taken out the 2018 World Flowboarding Championships, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

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