[Photo credit: ASP/CI/Cestari via Getty Images] ASP World Tour No. 21 Michel Bourez is in contention for the ASP Rookie of the Year award if he manages to overtake Kekoa Bacalso (Oahu, HAW) after the Billabong Pipeline Masters, final event of the 2009 ASP

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OAHU, Hawaii (Tuesday, December 8 2009) – Michel Bourez (Tahiti, PYF), 23, currently leading the European contingent on the ASP World Tour, is about to compete in the final event, the Billabong Pipeline Masters, on the North Shore of Oahu. Bourez, who is in contention for the ASP Rookie of the Year award, will be looking to finish-off the year strong to overtake fellow rookie Kekoa Bacalso (Oahu, HAW) and seal his 2010 ASP Top 45 requalification.

While getting ready for the showdown with fellow European surfers Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK), Michael Picon (Capbreton, FRA), Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA) and Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) who will all be competing in the Pipeline Masters, Bourez sends us a quick blog about his year as a member of surfing’s elite.

“It’s been a year with up-and-downs, with probably more downds than ups (laughs…). I started the year with several losses not getting through Round 3 in the first four events and it affected me quite a lot. I even questioned myself on my abilities to surf against the world’s best and if I deserved to be in the elite.

Then I went on a boat trip with Red Bull where I witnessed the best surfing levels I had ever seen. It had a huge impact on me, I felt more confident amongst these surfers and I started believing again in my potential. Mick Fanning (current ASP World No. 1 and Red Bull team rider) was a great example and living with all these excellent surfers for ten days was a turning point for me.

Next thing was the Billabong Pro J-Bay in South Africa where I think I had the heat of my life. I got my first 10-point ride against Mick (Fanning) and got to defeat him in exceptional surf. That heat is in my head forever, for sure.

I’ve been in Hawaii for almost a month now and the Pipemasters is starting very soon. I am hoping for a good result to secure a second year on tour in 2010. We’ll see how it goes…"

Michel