Michel Bourez Takes Top Honours in Hawaiian Waters
Michel Bourez (Rorutu, Tahiti, PYF), 22, made history last Saturday after winning the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian archipelago. Bourez, who bested ASP Top 45 member Jihad Khodr (BRA), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) and Dusty Payne (HAW) in a close exchange of perfect barrels, clinched valuable 3000 ratings’ points that rocket him to No. 2 on the ASP WQS international ratings and guarantees him a spot among next year’s ASP Top 45.
Bourez, former ASP World Junior No. 2 and ASP European champion, who went to Haleiwa ranked No. 17 after a disappointing European leg finish where he expected to secure his last big result to qualify, was the one European with more chances to achieve something big in hawaii’s powerful waves and the Tahitian stepped up to his reputation taming the building conditions throughout an epic final day.
"I never even thought I could win an event in Hawaii," Bourez said. "Making the final was already a great result for me but while paddling out I realized I could maybe win it. I am so stoked with this win, I have no words to express how good the feeling is."
Bourez, who jumped to second with his win at Haleiwa, is now in reach of the ASP WQS championship needing to better a 1350 point result to catch up with ratings' leader Nathaniel Curran (USA) who sits less than 500 points ahead from the Tahitian.
"To qualify for next year's ASP World Tour is a dream coming true," Bourez said. "I have been dreaming of it since I was a kid and to finally join the best guys in the world is unbelievable. I have been aiming at this since I started surfing and now I am in there, and I will surf with all the big guys. It is a great opportunity for me but for all Tahitian surfers as well.I am stoked for Tahiti."
Bourez joins ASP European champion Tim Boal (FRA) and both will be the fresh blood representing Europe next year on the ASP World Tour, with fellow European leaders Jeremy Flores (FRA), Miky Picon (FRA)and Tiago Pires (PRT) which guarantees a minimum of five Europeans among the 2009 ASP Top 45.
With Marlon Lipke (DEU) dropping back to No. 14 after the Reef Hawaiian Pro, the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing will be crucial for the German surfer who is sitting on the bubble right now threatened by an unprecedent 14 surfers still in reach of qualifying and putting the ratings upside down next week.
Aritz Aranburu (EUK), a rookie on the 2008 ASP World Tour, is hoping for a injury wildcard after missing four events for his first year on the Dream Tour. Should Lipke and Aranburu qualify, Europe would have seven surfers on the World Tour in 2009, another step in surfing's history.