CAPBRETON, France – The ASP World Tour European contingent will soon start its South African campaign at the world famous venue of Jeffreys Bay for the prestigious Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, all seven representatives from the old continent having confirmed their presence for Round 1. Fresh off an equal 9th place finish in Brazil a week ago, France’s Jeremy Flores (Capbreton/New Caledonia, FRA) will once again lead the assault with fellow French representatives Tim Boal, Michael Picon and French Polynesian Michel Bourez as well as Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT), Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK) and Marlon Lipke (Algarve, DEU).
Flores, who hasn’t made it passed Round 4 at any of the four first events this year, will be looking to secure a first excellent result for his 2009 campaign, the 21-year-old ASP World No. 15 having the potential to get back to his best level and use his experience to score big at Jeffreys Bay’s world class righthand pointbreak. The Capbreton resident, who remains the leader of the growing European contingent on tour, will be followed by fellow French and Europeans in the event with ASP Dream Tour rookie Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA) remaining inside the ASP Top 30 at the halfway mark of the year, the second best European thus far.
Boal, whose four equal 17th place finishes have already confirmed his capacity to avoid Round 1 eliminations, will have a good opportunity to show his tactics and frontside attack talent when he paddles out for his first ever competition at the famous surf venue. With the strong will to eventually reach Round 4 for the first time this year, Boal’s smart competitive approach should be enough to see the Anglet resident enter the final-16 group and why not run further. With friend and Basque representative Aritz Aranburu standing right behind Boal on the ASP World Tour ratings at No. 26, both surfers have a great opportunity to give themselves a bit of air and possibly jump inside the ASP Top 20 if they manage to get through several rounds.
Other solid European asset will be Billabong teamrider and only Portuguese surfer of the ASP World Tour Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT), 27. Pires, whose second consecutive year on tour has been promising so far with a three 17th places, will be much awaited for the kick-off of the event, the Portuguese surfer knowing how similar the South African wave is to his home wave of Ribeira d’Ilhas in Ericeira. Awaited at all righthand point breaks since his ASP Top 45 inception in 2008, Pires has not been able to use his experience neither at Bells Beach nor at Jeffreys Bay yet, and the man will be more focused than ever to secure a solid run and climb up from his current ASP World Tour No. 32 rank.
Suffering a bit more this year in their ASP Top 45 requalification campaign are Michael Picon and Dream Tour rookies Michel Bourez and Marlon Lipke. Lipke and Picon, who are counting one 17th place and fourth 33rds so far, will be looking to bounce back and possibly reach their year best to escape from the bottom of the ratings while Bourez’s power surfing could give him his first big result as an ASP World Tour competitor.
For more on the seven European surfers of the 2009 ASP World Tour, check out www.aspworldtour.com