It was a short day of competition on Day 3 of the waiting period of the Rip Curl Pro pres. by Sprite as four heats only were done this morning getting the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime event to its second round.
Dion Atkinson (AUS), 22, runner up in the ASP WQS 6-Star event in Lacanau and WQS No. 18 before coming to Hoseegor, was in top form in Heat 24 of Round 1 finding his way out of the tricky testing six to eight foot (2 to 2.5 meter) waves on offer to advance through to Round 2.
Atkinson, who posted an impressive 17.33 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) dominated his battle and will meet some serious opponents when Round 2 resumes including ASP World Tour surfer Neco Padaratz (BRA), Australia’s wonderkid and Rip Curl wild card Owen Wright and Jean Da Silva (BRA).
“It was pretty fun down there," Atkinson said. “I am in a very good shape since the Lacanau Pro last week. I just tried to surf my best in these messy conditions today and it worked out well. I had a few good waves so I am stoked I got through."
Atkinson, who secured his best result to date in Lacanau, nows stands as a favorite among the world’s best qualifiers.
“I am not thinking of any ratings," Atkinson said. “I am still young and it is still a long way to the end of the year so I am not worrying about the qualification yet. I just want to have fun and keep surfing good."
Also advancing today was French talented rising competitor Vincent Duvignac (FRA) who managed to get away with a win ahead Shaun Ward (USA) and secure his ticket for another heat against top seeds Drew Courtney (AUS), Rhys Bombaci (AUS) and Marco Polo (BRA).
“It was pretty testing out there and I am stoked I found that big score," Duvignac said. “I feel at home here so it is good to get a heat out of the way and get another chance in the event."
Mike Losness (USA), who surfed first heat this morning coming straight from his excellent equal 3rd place in Lacanau last sunday, was able to get the pressure off him and secured another win. Losness, who sits No. 43 on the international ratings at the moment, was an outsider in Lacanau but has become the “Giant Killer" and will face a serious resistance when he comes up against current Top 5 WQS member Patrick Gudauskas (USA) and former ASP World Tour surfer Yuri Sodre (BRA).
The messy waves and strong currents forced organisers to put the event on hold after assessing conditions and all Round 2 surfers will meet at 7.15 AM tomorrow to get the Rip Curl Pro pres. by Sprite under pressure with the hottest action in the some of the world’s best beachbreaks.