Kieren Perrow deafeats Tiago Pires to win the Drug Aware Pro presented by O'Neill

Australia’s Kieren Perrow (Byron Bay, NSW) today won the six-star prime-rated Drug Aware Pro Margaret River, Western Australia, beating Portugal’s Tiago Pires in testing three-metre (10ft) surf.

It was Perrow’s first-ever ASP victory and his most important career win to date, with prize money of $US15,000, together with 3,000 points – the highest possible points on the ASP World Qualifying Series. The historic win sets up Perrow with his greatest chance to requalify for the Fosters ASP World Tour in 2008.

Today’s performance was all the more exceptional, given that finalists were forced to surf five heats in seriously large and stormy surf – a challenge which saw both finalists on the verge of exhaustion nearing the end of their Final.

In a very one-sided Final, Perrow opened early with a strong 7.67-point ride and backed that up shortly after with a 6.7 to put enormous pressure on his opponent. Pires left what appeared to be many good waves in his quest to try and find a great wave which simply did not appear. In the end, Perrow won with a final score of 14.34 to Pires on 7.36.

Perrow surfed on the elite Fosters ASP World Tour from 2002 to 2004, achieving a career high world rating of 6 in 2003. After starting a family in 2004, he chose to miss a number of Tour events, resulting in him dropping out of the world’s Top 44 ratings. Perrow has been aiming to requalify for the Tour through the World Qualifying Series over the past two years.

Following the Final, an emotional and ecstatic Perrow said: “It’s amazing that this is my first-ever win on the ASP World Tour or WQS (World Qualifying Series). It’s a dream come true and it’s taken a long time. It couldn’t have happened at a better place. I love it here – incredible waves and one of surfing’s great locations.

“I’m very confident I can requalify for the World Tour now – 3,000 points is the biggest on the Series, but it’s a long year and I’ll still need plenty more strong results. But a win like this certainly gives me a lot of confidence. “I’m enjoying my surfing and really looking forward to the coming events in South Africa and Scotland. It’s so exciting for me."

Second-placed Pires walked away with $US7,500 and more importantly, 2,625 points on the World Qualifying Series, and is also now exceptionally well-placed to qualify for the 2008 elite Fosters ASP World Tour.

Pires said: “I was really tired in the Final and probably made a tactical error in trying to find a left-peeling wave, while Perrow did the right thing and found some really good rights. It’s a great result for me however. The points are really important and I have never started seasons very well before, and on two occasions I have just missed out on qualifying. Right now, I’m number one on the ratings and that’s really good, but it’s very early days and there’s a lot ahead for me."

In equal third-place today was Daniel Ross (Aus/Yamba/NSW), who was defeated by Perrow in the Semi-Finals, and Dane Reynolds (USA/Ventura) who lost to Pires in his Semi. For both Ross and Reynolds, the results are their best-ever and position them strongly for a great year on the World Qualifying Series.

Reynolds was an absolute standout in this week’s contest. He posted the event’s three highest-scoring heats (18.73, 18.43 and 17.83), along with the event’s two highest-scoring single rides (9.73 and 9.6). Until now, Reynolds had been regarded as one of the world’s top free surfers, but the Drug Aware Pro has seen him emerge as a serious competitive surfer. Taking home 2,250 points from today’s result will see Reynolds seriously challenge for a position on the elite Fosters ASP World Tour in 2008.

Local favourite Jake Paterson (Yallingup, WA) was eliminated in the Round of 24, after Hawaii’s Roy Powers moved from fourth to first position in the final two minutes of the heat, pushing Paterson into third. Paterson finished as the highest-placed West Australian surfer and was later presented with the Highest-Placed Regional Surfer Award by Western Australia’s Department of Sport & Recreation.

“I’m so disappointed with the result," Paterson said. “But the conditions today were really tough. I didn’t have a good time out there – unfortunately it was a shocker for me, but I’m now looking forward to next year."

Men’s Final Results

Final:

1, Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.43

2, Tiago Pires (Port) 9.50

Semi Final #1

1, Thiago Pires (Port) 13.17

2, Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.10

Semi Final #2

1, Kieren Perrow (Aus) 15.00

2, Daniel Ross (Aus) 9.34

2007 WQS Ratins after Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River, W.A.

  • 1 Pires,Tiago (PRT) 6775
  • 2 Padaratz,Neco (BRA) 5769
  • 3 Aranburu,Aritz (ESP) 5700
  • 4 Courtney,Drew (AUS) 5106
  • 5 Boal,Tim (FRA) 4900
  • 6 Lopez,Shea (USA) 4825
  • 7 Sodre,Yuri (BRA) 4781
  • 8 Flintoff,Kirk (AUS) 4750
  • 9 Bourgeois,Ben (USA) 4700
  • 10 Romao,Simao (BRA) 4694

The Toohey's Extra Dry Expression Session was also a feature of the day’s action, with Clint Kimmins (Coolangatta, QLD) taking out the win with some big powerful moves over the shallow Margaret River reef.

This week’s contest at Surfers Point saw 250+ surfers from 19 nations compete in what is the world’s only male and female six-star, prime-rated event on the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) international calendar for 2007. The Drug Aware Pro Margaret River presented by O’Neill is the world’s biggest World Qualifying Series tournament, boasting prize money of US$155,000 (AUD$197,000).

Surfers represented nations of Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, mainland USA, Brazil, South Africa, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Peru, Great Britain, Japan and Mexico.

The week-long event attracted thousands spectators and was watched by millions live on the internet via a real-time webcast. The contest will be televised to over a billion people in more than 48 countries.

www.drugawarepro.com