HOSSEGOR, France (Friday, Sept. 21, 2007) – Foster’s ASP World Tour rookies, Luke Munro (AUS), Dayyan Neve (AUS) and Ricky Basnett (ZAF) have yet to advance from Round 3 this year, but each are seeded directly into that round after winning their Round 1 Quiksilver Pro France heats today.
Heats 1 through 6 of Round 1 ran in two to four foot (one metre) conditions at La Graviere with Munro beating out reigning Quiksilver Pro France Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) in the last heat of the day. Munro, who is rated equal 43rd, also posted the highest heat total of the day, 16.17 out of 20.00 possible points.
“It’s tough being a rookie, especially for me being the lowest seed,” Munro said. “Each time I come into a competition I draw one of the Top 5 guys, so it makes it tough going up against Kelly, Taj, Mick, Joel or Andy each first heat. I’m really keen to get a few points and get out of that Top 5 bracket. When I drew Joel, I really didn’t want to go up against him, but now I’m fortunate to get a win out of him.”
Neve, World No. 41, advanced straight to Round 3 for the first time in his elite tour career with a last minute victory over Josh Kerr (AUS) and Pancho Sullivan (HAW).
“I needed a 5.0 something and Kerr was in 1st; he was sticking to me like glue and wasn’t really letting me get any waves,” Neve said. “Luckily I started drifting down the beach a bit, saw a wide peak and caught a really good wave. I got two really good turns in and then my back foot fell off a bit and I was thinking, ‘Oh no you’ve blown it again.’ Thank goodness the judges liked those first two turns and I was able to score high enough to put me in the lead.”
Neve, like Munro, aren’t likely to requalify via the Foster’s ASP World Tour, but both have strong campaigns on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and could qualify via that tour.
“I feel amazing, I’m so stoked, I haven’t won a first round heat all year,” Neve said. “I’ve had a really bad year this year but I feel as though I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had some really good results this year in the WQS so hopefully I’ll earn enough points to stick around next year.”
Basnett has avoided Round 2 on several occasions this year but has yet to advance to Round 4.
“I’ve probably won three or four first round heats during my rookie year,” Basnett said. “I win the first one and now I’ve got to make it out of the next one. I’m definitely looking to do that this contest for sure.”
Bobby Martinez (USA) beat Mark Occhilupo (AUS) and Luke Stedman (AUS) in shifting conditions to avoid the first elimination round in Heat 3.
“It was hard because it is such a big area, there are waves everywhere, and it’s really hard to read them,” Martinez said. “This place is weird because it looks like it looks now and then in a half an hour it can totally change – the tide can be doing something completely different and it’s so dramatic. You never know what this place is going to do, there may be lefts one heat and rights the next, it’s just a hard place to figure out.”
Trent Munro (AUS) beat Dean Morrison (AUS) and Adrian Buchan (AUS) in Heat 4, despite Morrison posting a 9.17 in the final seconds.
Munro missed qualifying for the 2007 Foster’s ASP World Tour when he finished one spot outside the Top 27 who automatically requalify via the elite tour at the end of the season. However, as 1st replacement and citing Tim Reyes’ injury the first six events of the year and the withdrawl of Damien Hobgood, Munro has had the opportunity to follow the tour full time.
“I had a terrible year last year, it’s one I really want to bypass,” Munro said. “This year I’m having a great year in general, I’m happier than ever. I’m just enjoying my surfing and trying not to take the contest thing too hard and just letting my surfing do the talking. I love surfing at home and I’ve stayed at home a lot this year, I’m not competing on the WQS this year so we’ll just see what happens. If it’s my last year, it’s my last year.”
Heat 5 of Round 1 was unofficially won by Bede Durbidge (AUS) over Cory Lopez (USA) and Gabe Kling, but do to special circumstances regarding the nature of the heat, the heat will be resurfed first up when competition commences.
A call on competition status for the remainder of Round 1 will be made tomorrow morning at 8:00.