A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Thursday’s BASN X-Sports Notebook
NEW YORK — Here is a look at the latest major happenings surrounding the X-sports world.
SEEDS, WILD CARDS ANNOUNCED FOR 6.0 LOWERS PRO
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star 6.0 Lowers Pro and Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior will bring 192 of the world’s best professional surfers and 32 of the world’s best professional juniors to Lower Trestles, April 29 to May 3, 2008.
The event will unite top seeds, local and international talent, wild cards and even one female vying for an increased prize purse of $80,000 for the WQS and $10,000 for the juniors, as well as, valuable ASP points and the possibility of a Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series bonus.
ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) vets Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), who won the event in ’94, and local favorite Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA) will come in as top seeds this year.
They’ll be joined by fellow WCT surfers Adriano de Souza (BRA), Ben Bourgeois (Wrightsville Beach, NC) and Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), currently off of the Tour due to injury,
2006 Surfbout champion Dustin Cuizon (HAW), as well as, current WQS points leader Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), Cory Lopez (Dana Point, CA), Shea Lopez (Daytona, FL), Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), Joel Centeio (HAW), and 2005 Macy’s California Trifecta Champion Asher Nolan (Neptune Beach, FL) are also top seeds.
Other local favorites and top contenders include 2006 Macy’s California Trifecta Champion Nate Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 2007 Macy’s California Trifecta Champion Adam Virs (Ventura, CA), Mike Losness (San Clemente, CA) and 2007 fourth-place finisher Shaun Ward (Huntington Beach, CA), who was the only non-WCT surfer to make it to the final last year.
Nike 6.0 has extended wild cards to three young guns who are sure to represent the up-and-comers in a major way. The event’s only female, Carissa Moore (HAW), and Evan Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL) will be seeded into the Round of 64, and Koa Smith (HAW) will debut in the Round of 96.
Other up-and-comers to watch for include Oakley Pro Junior graduates Nick Rosza (Oxnard, CA), who claimed the 2007 Oakley Pro Junior Trifecta championship, Brent Dorrington (AUS), who won the Trestles Oakley Pro Junior in 2007 as a wild card entry, and Mitchell Coleburn (AUS), who established himself as a premier talent in 2007′s event by advancing to the semi-finals in both the WQS and Pro Junior events.
With an increased Trifecta bonus and qualification spots into the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge added perks, the 2008 Oakley Pro Junior field is impressive.
As the only competitor who made it to last year’s final who hasn’t aged out of the division, last year’s third-place finisher Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA) returns as the number two seed. 2007 Macy’s California Trifecta Oakley Pro Junior runner-up Adam Wickwire (Satellite Beach, FL) will enter the event as the top seed.
Rounding out the top five junior seeds are three East Coast talents: Travis Beckman (Vero Beach, FL), Cody Thompson (Jacksonville Beach, FL) and Blake Jones (Melbourne Beach, FL).
Oakley wild card spots have gone to Shaun Jobert (ZAF), who won the Durban Oakley Pro Junior last month, and Sebastian Zietz (HAW).
Others to watch for include 2007 Santa Cruz Oakley Pro Junior champion Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA) and super-local-grom Riley Metcalf (San Clemente, CA), who is each also in the round of 192 in the WQS event.<
All 6.0 Lowers Pro action will be viewable online with streaming video and live scoring at www.nike6lowerspro.com.
LAY DAY FOR DAY ONE OF THE O’NEILL OPEN
Day one of The O’Neill Highland Open and it was an easy decision for contest director Matt Wilson to call a lay-day.
Speaking at Brims Ness, one of the possible contest sites, Matt said: “It was a pretty easy call to make. We came down to Thurso East at 6am and there was absolutely nothing happening there. Then we headed to check Brims, which is basically the option when there is no other option and there was nothing happening there either.”
The surfers, now all congregated in the remote northern Scottish town of Thurso, are patiently waiting for the prediction of a favorable swell over the next few days.
Sunny Garcia (HAW), a former ASP World Champion and multiple Triple Crown Of Surfing winner, is among them. It is his first time in Scotland as he looks to cut his way on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) this year, and back onto the ASP World Tour for next season.
“I am used to surfing cold water,” he said. “I have been living in California for a while now and the water gets a bit colder there in the winter. I have not been in the water here yet though. It is my first time over here. I love the countryside. I love the fact that there are no buildings or anything around.”
Garcia retired from the ASP World Tour in 2005, but this season he is making a fighting comeback. “I am trying to qualify,” he said. “I actually thought it was going to be easy but now I have seen the level of surfing, it is a bit different.”
“It is a lot of fun meeting all the new faces. It is different to the era I grew up in. A lot of these guys weren’t even born when I was competing. They are all friends, but when I was competing we would step on other peoples toes a lot more.”
Standing looking out at Thurso East, where no wave was breaking, he said: “I haven’t seen this wave working yet but I have seen photos. I can’t wait to surf it.”
Matt Wilson will be checking the swell tomorrow morning at 6am, when everyone will be hoping for a decent swell.
“Looking at the forecast we are expecting conditions to improve Thursday,” said Matt. “Then leading into Sunday and Monday next week, we expect quite good conditions possibly seeing the event move to Thurso East which is what we are here for.”
All news, videos, podcasts and photos are available on www.aspeurope.com