LA SANTA, Lanzarote (Tuesday, November 3, 2009) – After a couple of days off due to small surf and unfavorable winds, the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Islas Canarias Santa Pro kicked-off in clean three-to-four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves at the back-up venue of La Santa today, off-shore wind direction and consistent sets giving the first ten heats of Round 1 a playful line-up.
Back-up venue of this year’s Islas Canarias Santa Pro, the long righthand pointbreak of La Santa witnessed the assault of some of the world’s best surfers including current members of the ASP Top 45 battling with potential qualifiers for valuable ratings’ points and dollars.
Leonardo Neves (BRA), 30, a former ASP Top 45 member, showed he was ready to get on with his Canarian campaign displaying solid surfing with a mix of power-turns and fins-out frontside top turns to net the day’s highest heat score of 15.83 points (out of a possible 20).
“I love Lanzarote and I am enjoying my time here so I guess it showed in my surfing for that first heat,” Neves said. “The waves were fun but you had to be patient and I waited for two good waves to secure some points. I am stoked to surf such fun waves and it’s a relief to get passed Round 1.”
Neves, currently sitting No. 28 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings, opened his Islas Canarias Santa Pro run in style today taking a clear advantage over fellow Round 1 competitors. Netting a convincing 8.10 point ride on his way to winning Heat 7, Neves will be a serious threat to any competitor when Round 2 commences.
“I am still chasing one big result at least and I would love to do well here as I really am feeling good,” Neves said. “It’s looking like San Juan is going to give us some good and solid surf tomorrow and I like that wave when it turns on.”
The clean conditions on offer at La Santa today gave favorites a fun playground to easily confirm their supremacy over lower-seeded competitors, Neves’s fellow country man and other former ASP World Tour surfer Raoni Monteiro (BRA) seizing the opportunity.
Monteiro, 27, was a stand-out on the long right-handers peeling along the black stones of La Santa posting a solid performance to nab a couple of good to excellent scores and finish with a 15.50 heat total (out of a possible 20).
“We were all expecting to compete on a left but things got underway on that righthander today and I believe it was a good call,” Monteiro said. “It was off-shore and the waves were really fun and good which made it a good time out there for my heat. It’s good to get things going with solid scores and I am looking forward to surfing in Round 2.”
Injured in the first half of the year, the Brazilian natural-footer unleashed a series of powerful blasts on the hollow sections of the long right-hander to advance through to Round 2 confidently.
“I was injured for almost three months this year and didn’t really get the chance to try and re-qualify yet but I am feeling good and coming back event after event,” Monteiro said. “With the upcoming Prime rated events, the finish is going to be pretty intense and hopefully I can get back to my best level soon.”
While the Brazilian duo leading the assault on lanzarote’s West coast, top seeds lost no time to secure their Round 2 berths, French 20-year-old and current ASP WQS No. 9 Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA) taking his share of today’s good surf.
Duru, current leader on the ASP European WQS ratings, moved forward towards his maiden regional crown today by securing his Round 2 ticket and will need to get through one more battle to claim the title.
Ten heats of Round 1 were done today until the glare and swell-direction change forced officials to put the event on-hold. A call will be made tomorrow at the main venue of San Juan where solid six-to-eight foot (2 to 2.5 meter) waves are expected to greet early morning competitors.