WQS Update With Al Hunt

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While the Mark Richards and Midori Pros got underway today at Newcastle's Merewether Beach, two hours north of Sydney, in very clean offshore but highly contestable small waves, the {{{Vans}}} Pier Classic was wrapping up in similar conditions at USA's Huntington Beach.

In the men's ASP WQS division, Huntington Beach local Shaun Ward (pictured above) was able to get his maiden ASP WQS win along with Bruno Rodrigues, ex-pat Brazilian also residing in Huntington getting his own maiden win in the Ezekiel Pro Junior.

In the women's ASP WQS Courtney Conlogue backed up her two wins in Virginia Beach in 2006 and 2007 with her first west coast ASP WQS win. Again, Courtney was another Huntington local - obviously a bit of local knowledge goes a long way.

Ratings wise, the men's remain basically unchanged other than Austin Ware jumping from 13th to 8th with his 4th place finish. Event winner Shaun moved into 42nd while Courtney is sitting 67th with her only ASP WQS points this year.

The ASP WQS 6-Star Midori Pro at Newcastle this week will surely see some changes in the women's ASP WQS ratings. Sally Fitzgibbons sitting atop of the ratings with a commanding lead was unfortunate to lose in this weekend's Motorola Pro Junior at Newcastle to Narrabeen's Laura Enever. In the boy's division Owen Wright from Culburra was victorious. Both these two have taken out the last two junior events in a row.

The ASP WQS 4-Star Mark Richards Pro will see some movement in the men's ratings but not at the top end, more to the 10th onwards I would think.

Predictions are for an increasing swell during the week with Friday looking really good.

On another note, I just got a call from Neco Padaratz, one of the ASP Top 45 not competing at Newcastle and hanging out at Bells Beach waiting for the Margaret River event. He tells me the cold weather has finally hit down there with great surf. Typical Bells early winter stuff, which is a change from the 41 degrees centigrade (110 Fahrenheit) of last week while I was there.

That's it for now. Until next week.