Billabong’s top European surfer Tiago Pires (Ericeira, Portugal) has taken the lead of the WQS ratings (the World Qualifying Series to the World Championship Tour), after finishing second in the Drug Aware Pro, a 6-star WQS event staged at the famed Margaret River, in Western Australia.

In challenging conditions, with waves up to ten feet (three meters), Tiago surfed five times to reach the man-on-man final with Kieran Perrow (Aust), taking out high profile US surfer Dane Reynolds in the semi’s.

Perrow easily won the final, but second-placed Pires walked away with $US7,500 and more importantly, 2,625 points on the World Qualifying Series. He is also now exceptionally well-placed to qualify for the 2008 elite Fosters ASP World Tour.

Pires said: “I was really tired in the Final and probably made a tactical error in trying to find a left-peeling wave, while Perrow did the right thing and found some really good rights. It’s a great result for me however. The points are really important and I have never started seasons very well before, and on two occasions I have just missed out on qualifying. Right now, I’m number one on the ratings and that’s really good, but it’s very early days and there’s a lot ahead for me."

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