2009 seed: 45 Age: 23 Lives: Zarautz, Basque Country

Best result: 9th Billabong Pipemasters 08 Stuttering participation through early 08 meant Aritz could never really develop rhythm in his surfing through the first half of the year, although he showed steady improvement in the five consecutive events he surfed after Trestles with two 33rds followed by two 17ths, culminating with a 9th at Pipe. A skilled tube rider with a great engine and healthy competitive ambitions, if Aritz can step his game up on the open face, surf instinctively in barrels and curry a bit of favour with the judges he could be a good bet to hang around.

Strengths: Dedication, steep learning curve. Weaknesses: Not as fluid in technique as a Boal or a Picon.

What they said: “Very focused and committed to his dream from what I can see. Has a tendency to over-surf, but this should fade as he builds and trusts his turns." Matt Griggs

“Aritz is always super focused on his objectives. I think he could surprise everyone this year especially in powerful surf. He needs to add new turns in his repertoire though." Rebrix

“I reckon he’ll dig in, he’ll realize he needs to make every heat count this year. Handed the injury wildcard for another crack at it, he’ll grasp that opportunity with both hands." Dog Marsh