2011 ASP World Tour rookie Alejo Muniz (BRA), notching the highest single-wave score of ASP PRIME Hang Loose Pro comeptition, a 9.87 out of 10. Photo: Courtesy of ASP

CACIMBA DO PADRE, Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco / Brazil (Friday, February, 18, 2011) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime 2011 Hang Loose Pro made the debut of the new ASP PRIME format, which is now similar to the ASP Dream Tour. The 24 surfers remaining competed in 12 heats and the winners go to a three-man, no-losers round. There are two chances to reach the Quarterfinals, with the winners advancing directly into the Quarterfinals and the losers moving into a man-on-man elimination round.

In today's competition the highlight was young ASP World Tour talent Alejo Muniz, who took a big barrel followed by two strong turns on a right-hand set wave to score a 9.87 (out of 10), the highest single-wave score of of the 2011 Hang Loose Pro Contest. Brazil's new rising star on the ASP World Tour defeated Frenchman Tim Boal in the second man-to-man heat this Friday afternoon at Cacimba do Padre.

"I was not expecting to get such a high score, because the conditions were still difficult, even with the tide going in", said Alejo Muniz. "At first I chose the lefts, but my best wave was a right-hander. It was an awesome the tube ride."

Two judges out of five gave him a perfect 10 point score score. Muniz's heat was marked with big gaps in between sets, with few waves being ridden by the athletes. France's Tim Boal only got one good wave in the beginning of the heat and another one only nearing the heat's end, which ended up closing out.

After winning by a score of 14.14 to 5.00 points over Tim Boal, Alejo Muniz was confident for the next challenge, where he will face off against Japanese standout Masatoshi Ohno and Hawaiian Kai Barger.

"Last year I went to the semis here, and it was the most important result of the year for me. Now I will do everything possible to repeat the result or do even better," said Alejo, who's going to Australia next weekend for his debut on the ASP Dream Tour.

The new generation also highlighted today. Kai Barger won his confrontation against fellow Hawaiian Fredrick Patacchia and Gabriel Medina won the most awaited heat of the day against the experienced ASP World Tour surfer Neco Padaratz, who was the last surfer in the contest with the chance to win for the second time in the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco.

Gabriel Medina defeated Neco Padaratz in a repeat performance from his first ASP event in 2009 at Praia Mole, Florianopolis. Neco got to the best tube ride of the heat (an 8.10), but failed to add another good wave to his scoreline. Medina also started with a nice tube ride which scored a 7.67 and minutes later he took off on a set wave to get a 6.73 from the judges after laying down three big turns on the wave.

"It was very nice to move through to the next round, especially since I won over my idol, Neco (Padaratz). This only makes me more eager to win this contest and I'll go for it", promised Gabriel Medina, who also spoke on the tube in his first wave in the heat. "It was a hard tube, but I had enough speed in there to pull through when the wave closed out, it was pretty cool."

To finish off this Friday, a thrilling duel happened among Heitor Alves and Ricardo Santos, With Heitor (Alves) finding the tubes to make the highest combined score of the day, 16.44 points (out of 20 pts). Ricardo Santos put in an impressive performance despite the loss, earning a solid 14.27 heat total, a mark that would be enough to win six of the other eight matches of the Round of 24.

Tomorrow, the contest starts once again at 7am in Fernando de Noronha (PE).

To watch the Hang Loose Pro LIVE log on to http://www.hangloose.com.br/procontest2011/