The former World Junior Champion from Reunion Island Maxime Huscenot on-point in Azores. Photo: ASP/Poullenot
The ASP Prime in the Azores resumed at praia de Santa Barbara yesterday for another fine day of competition. The playful 3 to 5 foot conditions allowed competitors to once again raise the performance bar and put on a great show of competitive surfing.
Current QS rated number 20 and recent quarter-finalist at the Vans US Open of Surfing Maxime Huscenot continued to build momentum as he moved through to round 5. The Reunion Islander took top honours with exceptional rail-surfing and a fine aerial repertoire.
“That left is super fun and I love to surf on my backside,” Huscenot said. “I knew the backwash today would come into play so I changed boards and I’m stoked cause this one is a gem as well. I’m pretty patient, I know two scores is all you need and I focused on selecting the best options out there.”
19-year-old Portugueezer Vasco Ribeiro also continued his successful campaign in Sao Miguel, placing first in a difficult matchup against current rankings leader Matt Banting and former event champion Tomas Hermes.
“I’m feeling really good and stoked to get a couple fun waves today again,” Ribeiro commented. “To win heats here is even more appreciable because I have family and friends along and I hope the waves keep coming to me in the latter rounds.”
Fellow Euro contender Joan Duru also advanced into round 5, a season-first for the young Frenchman who has struggled to find his form this year.
“I haven’t had a result for some time, and my confidence levels weren’t too high to be honest,” Duru reflected. “That 9 this morning really got me back into it, and to win again this afternoon against guys like Willian Cardoso and my friend Ramzi Boukhiam is cool.”
Duru destroyed the clean righthanders on offer, to post one of the highest single wave scores of the day. As he regains confidence in Azores, he’ll be one to watch going forwards.
Meanwhile Aritz Aranburu, one of only two WCT surfers still in the Azores heat draw, dominated his round-two bout with unmatched speed, power and flow to easily qualify for the no-loser third round. The talented Spanish surfer will face Matt Banting for a spot in the fourth round.
“There’s a lot of guys who rip and I have a lot of respect for all the competitors, a lot of them deserve a spot on the CT,” Aranburu said. “You know it’s hard when you follow both tours, there’s a lot of traveling and we were all pretty tired coming here right after Tahiti. Going from 12Ft barrels to 4Ft faces isn’t easier either to adapt your game.”
UPCOMING SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND 5 MATCHUPS:
Heat 1: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. TBD
Heat 2: Jack Freestone (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 3: Ricardo Christie (NZL) vs. TBD
Heat 4: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) vs. TBD
Heat 5: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) vs. TBD
Heat 6: Joan Duru (FRA) vs. TBD
Heat 7: Yadin Nicol (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. TBD
UPCOMING SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO ROUND 4 MATCHUPS:
Heat 1: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 2: Jesse Mendes (BRA) vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS)
Heat 3: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 4: Tomas Hermes (BRA) vs. Santiago Muniz (ARG)
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Heat 6: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Mitchel Coleborn (AUS)
Heat 7: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Beyrick De Vries (ZAF)
Heat 8: Cooper Chapman (AUS) vs. Michael Dunphy (USA)