LA SAUZAIE, France (Thursday, April 21, 2011) –The opening day of the Protest Vendee Pro an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star event saw the top seeds step into top gear as Round 1 and six heats of Round 2 were held in rippable 3-4ft peaks at the main event site of La Sauzaie.
The huge Easter weekend tides forced a break to proceedings after the completion of Round 1 early this morning to allow for the afternoon push of the incoming tide. Surfers took full advantage of the clean high-performance conditions and pushed the level of surfing to its limits.
Two-time and defending Protest Vendee Pro Champion Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA) 22, advanced through to Round Three with a solid performance in his first appearance at this year’s Protest Vendee Pro. Duru got off the mark in the opening minutes of his 25-minute clash with a series of power-house backhand turns on a clean peak to claim a 7.17 out of 10 and lead the heat from start to finish.
“It’s good to start off the heat with a seven because after you can control the heat a little better. The tide is coming in now so it is a lot better than this morning for sure but the sets were changing. One would come in from the left and then another from the right so we had to move to find the good ones but I enjoyed myself out there and it was a good call to wait for this afternoon.”
Duru faced a stacked opening encounter that included current ASP European Champion and good friend Marc Lacomare (Hossegor, FRA) 19, who failed to make his entry on time and surfed from the first Round of competition, as well as young Portuguese promise Vasco Ribeiro and Australian Perth Standlick. However it was Lacomare who had the better of the consistent sets pushing in to overcome a late charge from Standlick and the always dangerous Ribeiro.
“Mark (Lacomare) forgot to do his entry,” explained Duru. “He got through this morning and we had the heat together which was different in the second round for us. It was a tough heat but because I got a good start it made it easier and in the end we both got through.”
Brent Dorrington (Gold Coast, AUS) 24, fresh from last week’s victory in Scotland, kept his form rolling with a mix of powerful carves and vertical turns to claim the highest single wave score a 7.67 out of 10 and win the heat ahead of young up-and-coming Portuguese junior Filipe Jervis.
Jervis 20, who led early in the heat, opened his account with a solid 6.67, and kept his head to find his back-up score and a pass into the next Round along with Dorrington.
“When I looked at the heat list the first time, I saw I was up against Brent Dorrington who just won the 6-Star in Scotland and the other guys are also good surfers,” Jarvis said. “I knew I had to focus on my surfing and catch the good waves and it happened.”
“I went looking for the lefts out there because it is my stronger surfing and I found two not too bad waves and I got through. This wave with the high tide is such a good wave and you can choose between the left and the right so I hope tomorrow there are going to be good waves and I am stoked to be in the next round.”
Chris Friend (Sunshine Coast, AUS) 20, relied on a combination of strong forehand smashes and flowing carves to amass a combined two-wave heat total of 14.70 out of 20 to advance in his debut heat at the Protest Vendee Pro.
“I surprised myself actually because I went out thinking to get a couple of scores and build on that but I got out there and the waves were fun with good sections and a lot of scoring potential.”
Friend suffered a serious ankle injury late last year and has only started to make a slow come back to the top level of competitive surfing this season. A first timer to Vendee the young natural footer was surprised at the changes in conditions with the tides and the true ambiance of the French way of life.
“I have never been in this part of France before and the town is so beautiful that I am just amazed by it. It is crazy how tidal it is on this break. I was planning on riding a 5’6” because of how small it looked when I first came down to look at it. Then the tide came in and before you know it there are 3ft waves out there so it is a lot different from the waves we get at home for sure.”
Gordan Fontaine (Brittany, FRA) 21, rose to the occasion performing turns and carves in the critical sections of the La Sauzaie peak to secure a heat total of 14.17 and hopes to shrug off his nerves and go on to make a result in the Protest Vendee Pro.
“Usually I go into my second heat and I am sometimes not sure if I should be here or not so I will try and go with no pressure this time and try and surf as I did in this first heat.”
“I have been coming here for a few years and the French Cup events,” continued Fontaine. “I have been competing on this wave for a long time and I usually get good scores in my heats but in the free-surfs I don’t seem to get any waves so I hope I get the waves in my next heat.”
The Protest Vendee Pro, stop no 2 on the ASP Europe Men’s Series, offers surfers valuable ranking points on both the ASP Europe Men’s Series and the ASP World rankings.
The Protest Vendee Pro is scheduled from April 21-25, 2011. For more information, and all upcoming results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast log-on to www.aspeurope.com
Remaining Protest Vendee Pro Round Two Match-ups
Heat 7: Adrien Toyon (REU), Demitri Ouvre (FRA), Nicholas Squires (AUS), Jayce Robinson (GBR)
Heat 8: Abdel El Harim (MAR), Frederico Morais (PRT), Lars Musschoot (BEL), Alain Riou (PYF)
Heat 9: Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Robertson Goncalves (PRT), Jules Thomet (FRA), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 10: Romain Laulhe (FRA), Christophe Allary (REU), Borja Agote (EUK), Hugo Debosc (REU)
Heat 11: Marlon Lipke (DEU), Alexander El Naib (DEU), Tom Cloarec (FRA), Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA)
Heat 12: Nic von Rupp (DEU), Adrien Valero (FRA), Vincent Primal (FRA), Nelson Cloarec (FRA)
Heat 13: Mickey Picon (FRA), Yannick de Jager (NDL), Dane Anderson (USA), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 14: Patrick Beven (FRA), Justin Mujica (PRT), Gregory Pastusiak (FRA), Yassine Ramdini (MAR)
Heat 15: Eneko Acero (EUK), Robertson Goncalves (PRT), Luis Eyre (GBR), Charles Martin (GLP)
Heat 16: Chris Salisbury (AUS), Igor Munian (EUK), Joao Guedes (PRT), Jose Ferreira (PRT)
Protest Vendee Pro Round Two Results
Heat 1: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.67, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.84, Perth Standlick (AUS) 9.76, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 7.07
Heat 2: Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 10.67, Frederic Robin (REU) 9.60, Benoit Potier (FRA) 4.90, Paul Tesson (FRA) 4.17
Heat 3: Gordan Fontaine (FRA) 14.17, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 9.50, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 6.77, Oli Adams (GBR) 4.00
Heat 4: Chris Friend (AUS) 14.70, Hugo Savalli (REU) 9.06, Freddie Meadows (SWE) 7.73, Michael Bailey (USA) 5.87
Heat 5: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 13.50, Filipe Jervis (PRT) 10.67, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 8.73, Anderson Santos (BRA) 7.13
Heat 6: Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) 10.40, Norman Landa (EUK) 8.17, Ethan Egiguren (EUK), Gregoire Sylvain (FRA) 4.90
Protest Vendee Pro Round One Results
Heat 1: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.17, Benoit Potier (FRA) 5.57, Emilien Lojou (FRA) 3.97
Heat 2: Oli Adams (GBR) 11.54, Freddie Meadows (SWE) 9.10, Joackim Petersen Guichard (NOR) 9.00, Kevin Lestrade (FRA) 3.73
Heat 3: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 8.63, Ethan Egiguren (EUK) 5.83, Othmane Choufani (MAR) 4.83
Heat 4: Jayce Robinson (GBR) 10.60, Alain Riou (PYF) 10.37, William Aliotti (FRA) 8.43, John Magrath (GBR) 6.03
Heat 5: Tim Boal (FRA) 13.27, Hugo Debosc (REU) 9.33, Pierre Rollet (FRA) 7.23
Heat 6: Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 8.26, Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 6.17, Harry Timson (GBR) 5.43
Heat 7: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 10.84, Yassine Ramdini (MAR) 6.43, Stuart Campbell (GBR) 6.33
Heat 8: Charles Martin (GLP) 9.17, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 7.13, Luca Petersen Guichard (NOR) 6.50, Didier Pitier (FRA) 5.10