Estoril Coast Pro Gets Underway, Local Hero Pires to Open the Show Tomorrow
The Estoril Coast Pro, a 6-Star event, got underway at the back-up venue of Guincho today, with Round 1 being completed in wind-blown two to three foot (0.5 to 1 meter) waves. Fourty-eight men started their Portuguese run in the tricky conditions with half of them joining the event's top seeds in the upcoming Round 2 where local hero and current ASP World Tour No. 31 Tiago Pires (PRT) will surf first heat tomorrow morning.
With the outgoing tide affecting the waves, all competitors struggled to get some decent scores and France’s Simon Marchand and Australia's Clancy Dawson were the only two surfers of Day 1 to find some vertical enough sections and secure solid heat results.
Clancy Dawson (AUS), 23, surfed in the second to last heat against longtime leading Basque Junior surfer Marcos San Segundo (EUK) and posted the highest result of the day, a promissing 15.84 point tally (out of a possible 20) to advance through to Round 2 where he will face current ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) No. 9 Gabe Kling (USA), Abdel El Harim (MAR) and Hodei Collazo (EUK).
"The waves were really messy for that first heat and it was tough to find any good wave," Dawson said. "It is still good to get a win and I really hope I can surf well in next heat. I know it will not be easy but I want to do good."
Dawson will need to step up against some of the world's best performers in Round 2 but his solid win today is a great confidence boost.
"It is always great to start off with a good heat," Dawson said. "The waves are supposed to be much better so I hope I can get to surf good conditions against some good surfers. I am looking forward to it."
Frenchman Simon Marchand (FRA), 24, surfed in the second encounter earlier in the day and found his way through to Round 2 besting Klee Strachan (ZAF) to get his opporuntiy to surf against recent ASP WQS 6-Star Prime winner Nic Muscroft (AUS). Marchand, who ended up winning his first heat with a good 15.40 point score (out of a possible 20), started the year with a 2nd place in the opening European event last March and has been chasing a second good performance since then.
Tomorrow will see the start of all top seeds including current ratings' No. 1 Nathaniel Curran (USA) and all many of the Top 15 soldiers all looking for a last big result to secure their ticket for next year’s ASP World Tour.
Tiago Pires (PRT), 27, first Portuguese ever to qualify for the ASP Top 45 and already a national hero, will meet former ASP European Junior champion Pablo Gutierrez (ESP), Bobby Hansen (NZL) and Round 1 qualifier Tahitian charger Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) when Round 2 resumes. Pires, who placed equal 9th in last week’s ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in the Canary Islands, is sitting No. 15 and needs to better an 875 point result to keep climbing up the ratings meaning he will need to place 17th or better to keep his requalification hopes alive.
Being the final stop of the 2008 ASP WQS European Series and the last major event before the Hawaiian showdown, the 6-day Estoril Coast Pro will showcase world class action with forecast excellent conditions from tomorrow at the famous beachbreaks of Carcavelos, renowned for delivering some of Europe's best barrels when it fires.