ARUGAM BAY, Sri Lanka (Saturday, June 19, 2010) - An historic day in Sri Lanka as the first ever Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) surfing event began in this country with Day 1 of the ASP 6-Star SriLankan Airlines Pro at the famous Arugam Bay on the tropical south east coastline of Sri Lanka.
A significant overnight swell pulse delivered excellent surf from four-to-six feet (2 metre) and the high-quality lineup of international surfers reveled in the long walling and powerful waves on this unique sandy point.
“It’s been an awesome adventure coming to an amazing surf break in Sri Lanka,” said USA surfer Killian Garland (California/Santa Barbara) after winning his opening round heat this morning where he defeated highly rated Aritz Aranburu (Spain).
“Waiting to start on the increase in swell was a good move and the wave is super enjoyable allowing for long fast surfing and plenty of sections where you can unleash big moves – I found it suited my style as it has similarities to waves I surf at home so I really like it.”
While most of the highly fancied surfers comfortably advanced through their first round heats today, most heats were tightly fought affairs and surprise results were always on the cards.
Indonesian surfer Dede Suryana (West Java) posted his best ever result winning his opening heat and defeating experienced Australian Nic Muscroft who advanced in second place while Japan’s Naoto Takanashi was eliminated in third.
Suryana finished the heat with an respectable heat tally of 12.50 for his top two scoring rides to Muscroft on 12.34 (out of a possible 20).
“I have advanced through ASP heats before by placing second but I have not won a heat at this level and it is great for me to win my heat today,” said Suryana.
“The location is perfect for me, really warm water just like Indonesia and the long waves at this point are also really good for my surfing – I’m hoping to go much further in this event.”
The biggest upset of the day saw number three seeded surfer and current ASP World Tour surfer Blake Thornton (Australia) eliminated from the event falling to fellow Australian Noah Lane and young New Zealand surfer Billy Stairmand who advanced in first and second place respectively.
A number of Sri Lankan’s surfed their heats today and most performed extremely well however none were able to make it to round two.
The highest scoring heat winner of the day was 21 year-old Australian Jayke Sharpe who scored both the days highest scoring ride of an 8.50 and heat tally of 16.00 in his comprehensive win over Ricky Basnett (South Africa).
Other stand-out performers on day one included Gony Zubizarreta (Spain), Lincoln Taylor (Australia), David Weare (South Africa), Rhys Bombaci (Australia) and New Zealand powerhouse Richard Christie.
Surfers from 15 countries are competing in this event and while most enjoyed a great day Japanese surfers faulted with five of their eight representatives here eliminated and their three remaining surfers are still to surf round one heats.
Strong onshore winds set in during the afternoon and contest organizers decided to halt competition after 14 heats. It is possible they will surf two more round one heats very late on dusk if conditions become very clean. The events number one seed Drew Courtney (Australia) along with the wild-card surfer Julian Wilson are still to surf their round one heats.
It is expected tomorrow morning will see excellent clean surf and round one should be completed along with some of the Round 2 heats.
The event will be web LIVE via www.srilankanairlinespro.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
The SriLankan Airlines Pro will be live web and will include a quality produced and globally distributed television show along with television newsfeeds distributed internationally throughout the event as well as highest quality digital images focusing on the event, the environment, wildlife and of course the abundance of surf from the region.