The Rip Curl Pro Hossegor/Seignosse presented by Sprite got underway today at the world famous beachbreak of Les Bourdaines, main venue of the 2008 edition. The Rip Curl Pro, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime event, got twenty heats of Round 1 out of the way in good quality three foot (one meter) waves despite the light on-shore winds blowing over Seignosse.

Several heats featured big scores and great performances for the kick off of the prestigious Rip Curl Pro, fifth of eight only ASP Prime rated events this year. With more points than usual 6-Star events counting towards the end-of-the-year ratings, all Round 1 surfers went big today not losing any time to set the pace and make intentions clear.

Jadson Andre (BRA), currently on the rise among the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) campaigners, was the man of the day winning Heat 9 over European soldiers Jose Maria Cabrera (CNY) and Miguel Ximenes (PRT) with an impressive 18.40 point heat tally (out of a possible 20).

"The waves were tricky out there and I just looked for better potential ones," Andre said. "It kind of came my way then I tried to get a couple of big airs and completed them so it gave me some big scores."

Andre, who got in the spotlights in the ASP WQS 6-Star in Japan last month, is slowly rising with his impressive progressive and fast surfing and will be a potential giant killer when Round 2 resumes.

"I had a good result in Japan and it boosted my confidence pretty good," Andre said. "This event is a Prime one and there are many points to grab so I hope I can get things going well tomorrow."

Andre, who will face ratings’ Top 15 member Yadin Nicol (AUS) and fellow Brazilian Odirlei Countinho (BRA), was not the only one to impress the ASP judges and several European surfers including local competitor and former ASP European Junior champion Joan Duru (FRA) were among those advancing today.

Joan Duru (FRA), 19, came up with excellent power surfing in Heat 10 to advance in first position with ASP European WQS ratings’ No. 2 Romain Laulhe (FRA) and secure a spot in Round 2, the top seeds’ round.

"I was a bit stressed before that heat but once in the water I just let go," Duru said. "I was feeling comfortable and the waves were fun so I just pushed my turns really hard. I have been surfing some really good boards that bring me enough speed so I am trying to get airs and radical manuevers."

Duru, currently rated No. 62 on the ASP WQS, has had two big results on tour this year including an equal 9th in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in Scotland and will be looking to grab more points in front of his home crowd this week.

"I really want to make as far as possible here," Duru said. "When you compete at home you just feel relaxed and you get boosted by the public and cheerings. It really makes a big difference."

Duru joins fellow French representatives Romain Cloitre (REU), Tim Boal (FRA), Miky Picon (FRA) and Michel Bourez (PYF) in Round 2.

Placing second to Duru was current ASP European WQS No. 2 Romain Laulhe (FRA). Laulhe, 23, who placed equal 17th in 2007 here at Les Bourdaines, managed to best Shaun Burrell (USA) and Clint Kimmins (AUS) and will have another chance to shine tomorrow.

“I was kind of shaky before that heat because I really want to do good here," Laulhe said. “I have had several good results here and I wanted to get through that one. Clint (Kimmins) and Shaun (Burrell) are excellent surfers and it was not an easy one."

Laulhe, who won the ASP WQS 4-Star in France last April, placed equal 25th in the Lacanau last week and seems back in good form after several shoker Round 1 eliminations in Durban, Huntington Beach and Newquay.

“It has been good this year but I just need to get more consistency," Laulhe said. “It is tough to travel all year and remain in top form at every event you go but you have to step up and keep the flow. I hope I can have a good one in that 6-Star Prime."

The Rip Curl Pro gathers the world’s best surfers including eleven elite ASP World Tour surfers and all current WQS ratings’ leaders. Remaining Round 1 competitors will meet at 7.15 AM (GMT+2) at Seignosse. Some massive six to eight foot (2 to 2.5 meter) waves are expected to come through the night and officials for conditions to remain contestable.