The twentieth edition of one of the oldest events in Europe got underway today at 9.30 AM in Pantin, opening a week of professional surfing for some of the best WQS members of the moment. After a month of top level 5 and 6 Star WQS events that took the ASP Caravan from England to Portugal, some 2 ft clean waves greeted the international field of 136 surfers.

The best surfer of day 1 was Tahitian Alain Riou (PYF), surfing in heat 13 against Rudy Palmboom (ZAF). The 24-year-old charger from Vairao, Tahiti, was on fire in the small conditions, scoring 16.00 points thanks to a second last ride of 8.67 out of possible 10 that gave him a spot in round 2.

“The waves are fun but hard to read and we have to get the right ones to hope for potential. I’m stoked to score this 8.67 as I have been on a tough roll so far."

Getting a solid back up score of 7.33 points, Riou was unstoppable and left the water confident and relieved.

“Starting an event in the first rounds is always a mental challenge as you can’t miss your start. It is really important to get some solid scores so that you feel confident for your next battle.

The waves are supposed to rise in the next days so I hope we get more consistent surf", confessed Riou.

With an overall heat score of 15.67 pts out of possible 20, former Foster’s ASP World Tour surfer Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) secured a solid qualification for round 2. Because of a last minute entry as Alain Riou (PYF), O’Rafferty had to start in the tricky first round where outsiders are always a threat.

“It was a tough heat as the waves are soft... I just stuck to the righthanders and looked for the best sections to try and get a bit of wall to go vertical. Getting this 9.17 score for my first wave made me more comfortable and I just secured the lead until the end," said O’Raffery after his victory in heat 3.

Scoring the same two wave combined tally of 15.67 pts was South African Antonio Bortoletto (ZAF), defeating Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Todd Mingram (AUS) and Clancy Dawson (AUS) in heat 5.

Bortoletto has been chasing an excellent result this summer in Europe and despite a convincing round 5 finish in the Rip Curl Boardmasters in Newquay, didn’t get anything from the main events. However, fast and fit on small clean waves as he showed in England, Bortoletto can definitely take advantage of the small conditions expected throughout the week.

Surfing in heat 1 of the first round, french rising surfer Romain Laulhé (FRA) was the first winner of the day ahead of former Foster’s ASP World Tour surfer Chris Davidson (AUS). Finishing his battle with an excellent 8.60 pts ride, Laulhé secured a solid win with a two wave combined tally of 15.60 points out of possible 20.

“I’m happy to start with some good scores. I’ve had an average summer despite my round 5 result in Hossegor, and I hope I can remain fit and stong for this event."

Talking about his form, “I felt weak out there and as the waves are soft you have to be fast and dynamic straigt away. I should have surfed before my heat to warm up.. But it all went good in the end so it’s fine."

“We’ve been travelling around for a while but it’s not over and the European Pro Surf Tour ratings are very tight so every event can make a difference," finished Laulhé currently sitting 14th on the regional race.

The Movistar Pantin Classic will restart tomorrow at 9.30 AM with round 2 of the men’s event. For more information log on www.aspeurope.com.