Top Seeds Survive Tough Conditions at ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro

Photo: ASP

SAO MIGUEL, Azores Islands (Tuesday, September 27, 2011) - The ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro completed the remaining six heats of Round 1 of competition with all Top Seeds advancing in tough wind affected 3ft waves at Praia de Santa Barbara. An afternoon call for a possible start to Round 2 of competition proved fruitless as gale force off-shore winds continued to batter the event site. The ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro was postponed this morning as action remained focused on the final ASP women's event of the season.

Young Kiwi sensation, Sarah Mason (Gisborne, NZL) 16, took top honours for the day punching out a combination of strong forehand snaps to register an 8.17 (out of 10) the highest single-wave score of the event. The explosive goofy-footer adjusted to conditions as the heat progressed to find her best scoring rides in the later part of the clash.

"It is really difficult out there and you have to paddle really hard to get into the waves but if you can get one you get the good scores. I was building in my heat and it was hard to get used to the conditions. It has been quite nice the last few days so hopefully it will get back to those kinds of conditions."

Mason, ranked nº8 on the women's ASP Star tour, is hoping to cap off a sensational year and qualify for the 2012 ASP Women's World Tour. Another solid result here would guarantee her spot and the chance to come up against the world's best female surfers.

"It is in the back of my mind for sure but I am taking it heat by heat and looking for a good result here for sure. I would love to make the World tour next year so we will see what happens."

Fellow Kiwi, Paige Hareb (Taranaki, NZL) 21, had a convincing win to advance along with Freya Prumm (AUS) in a controlled heat which she dominated from the very outset. Opening up with a solid 6.83 (out of 10), Hareb then hooked into a peeling right peak to let loose a combination of two backhand smashes to receive a 7.67 and a combined two-wave heat total of 14.50 (out of 20) the highest of the contest.

"It is a bit like days in New Zealand sometimes. (laughs) It was hard to see on a few of the waves and a bit of luck was involved out there with so much wind. You had to get waves and I was lucky to get through for sure. The swell is good today but unfortunately we now have the wind. Hopefully we will get at least a couple of good days during the contest."

Hareb, who was a member of the elite 2011 ASP Women's World Tour, is also on the verge of re-qualifying for 2012. Her experienced gained this year on the world stage has helped pull her through the difficult heats and has placed her in a great position to once again mix it with the best female surfers on the planet in 2012.

"I am right up there on the bubble to re-qualify again for next year but I don't really want to risk my results in these kinds of conditions and have it come down to luck of the draw. We should get better waves and then the best on the day will win the heats."

Pauline Ado (Hendaye, FRA) found her feet as the 25-minute heat progressed to follow the pattern of many of today's competitors with their best scores coming late in the heat. Adjusting to the strong winds took time and Ado controlled the situation to perfection finding lefts and rights to eventually advance in a comfortable position.

"The waves pretty small and it is hard to get some speed up on the face. A lot of times I got caught out too deep and couldn't make the section. I think we are surprised at the beginning because it is so windy and then we start to make a better wave selection and that is definitely when you get the good scores. In the second half of the heat I got some waves and it was enough to make the heat. So I am happy."

Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara, USA) 16, pulled some lightening fast backhand snaps on a punchy left peak to rack up the points and finish ahead of current ASP World Junior champion Alizee Arnaud (FRA) who both advance into Round 2. Peterson explored the peeling rights on several occasions to no avail as the strong winds halted her progress. She finally settled on surfing the favourable lefts which proved the winning edge.

"I was a little bit stressed out in the beginning. The wind is so tricky and when it is small like this as well it makes it hard to navigate but I found a little left towards the end. I tried a bunch of rights at the beginning and it just wasn't working and I was getting blown off the face. Going left, the wind is going with you opposed to blowing at you so I got a couple of lefts and it was a lot easier to surf."

"I was looking at the swell forecast this morning and the swell forecast is meant to back off a little bit so it is a good call," continued Peterson on the decision to hold off because of the wind. "It is definitely contestable. There are still some fun waves but the wind makes it really tricky so hopefully that dies down and everyone can just have a good time."

A first call will be made at 7.30am tomorrow Wednesday, September 28, 2011 for both the ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro and the ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro where event officials will decide on the running order for day 3 of the official waiting period.

The ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro and the ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro are scheduled from September 26 to October 2, 2011. For more information, and all upcoming results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast log-on to;

Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro Remaining Round One Results
Heat 7: Sarah Mason (NZL) 13.84, Nage Melamed (HAW) 8.87, Jordan Hundley (USA) 2.43
Heat 8: Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.50, Freya Prumm (AUS) 5.06, Francisca Santos (PRT) 3.23
Heat 9: Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.00, Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF) 6.83, Brittani Nicholl (AUS) 3.43
Heat 11: Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.84, Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 10.60, Tanika Hoffman (ZAF) 4.63
Heat 12: Erica Hosseini (USA) 6.57, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 5.40, Anne Cecile Le Tallec (FRA) 2.10

Upcoming Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro Round Two Matchups
Heat 1: Alana Blanchard (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Sarah Baum (ZAF), Georgia Fish (AUS)
Heat 2: Ornella Pellizzari (ARG), Phillipa Anderson (AUS), Justine Dupont (FRA), Sophia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Nage Melamed (HAW), Freya Prumm (AUS)
Heat 4: Joana Rocha (PRT), Malia Manuel (HAW), Sarah Mason (NZL), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 5: Pauline Ado (FRA), Cannelle Bulard (REU), Alizee Arnaud (FRA), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 6: Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF), Dimity Stoyle (AUS) Lakey Peterson (USA), Erica Hosseini (USA)

ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro Round One Matchups
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Nate Yeomans (USA), Davey Cathels (AUS), Filipe Jervis (PRT)
Heat 2: Gabe Kling (USA), Mason Ho (HAW), Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Kevin Sullivan (HAW)
Heat 3: Granger Larsen (HAW), Adam Robertson (AUS), Felipe Luel (BRA), Chris Friend (AUS)
Heat 4: Adam Melling (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jeronimo Vargas (BRA), Brad Ettinger (USA)
Heat 5: Tiago Pires (PRT), Marc Lacomare (FRA), Alain Riou (PYF). Manuel Selman (CHL)
Heat 6: Richard Christie (NZL), Nic Muscroft (AUS), Adrien Toyon (REU), Nic von Rupp (DEU)
Heat 7: Junior Faria (BRA), Jay Quinn (NZL), Tim Reyes (USA), Dale Staples (ZAF)
Heat 8: Kai Otton (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS), Justin Mujica (PRT)
Heat 9: Jesse Mendes (BRA), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Charlie Brown (BRA), Brendon Gibbens (ZAF)
Heat 10: Cory Lopez (USA), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Heat 11: Glen Hall (IRL), Heath Joske (AUS), Jayke Sharp (AUS), Diego Rosa (BRA)
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA), Jano Belo (BRA), Nathaniel Curran (USA), Ruben Gonzalez (PRT)
Heat 13: Brett Simpson (USA), Romain Cloitre (REU), Brandon Jackson (ZAF), Alexander El Naib (DEU)
Heat 14: Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Marlon Lipke (DEU), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 15: Tanner Gadauskas (USA), Dylan Graves (PRI), Brian Toth (PRI), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 16: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Sebastien Zietz (HAW), Matt Pagan (USA)
Heat 17: John John Florence (HAW), Tim Boal (FRA), Mitch Coleborn (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 18: Kolohe Andino (USA), Kai Barger (HAW), Andre Silva (BRA), Eneko Acero (EUK)
Heat 19: Dion Atkinson (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Evan Geiselman (USA), Cory Arrambide (USA)
Heat 20: Travis Logie (ZAF), Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Noboyuki Osawa (JPN)
Heat 21: William Cardoso (BRA), Tonino Benson (HAW), Pedro Henrique (BRA), Teppei Tajima (JPN)
Heat 22: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Shaun Joubert (ZAF), Brent Dorrington (AUS), Stephen Walsh (AUS)
Heat 23: Tiago Camarao (BRA), Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), Robertson Goncalves (PRT), Yujiro Tsuji (JPN)
Heat 24: Pat Gudauskas (USA), Austin Ware (USA), Joan Duru (FRA), Norman Landa (EUK)