Sao Miguel, Azores Islands (Monday, September 26, 2011) – The ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro ran through to complete the first half of Round One of competition in punchy 2-3ft peaks at the main event site of Praia de Santa Barbara. After a beautiful morning session of competition which was stopped due to the high tide, heavy torrential rain storms passed through during the afternoon accompanied by strong off-shore winds making it impossible for competition to resume.
Earlier in the morning, Sage Erickson (Ventura, CA) 20, nº2 on the Star rankings, grafted her way through a low scoring heat with several strong turns on the clean peaks to advance through to the following round. Erickson has already qualified for the 2012 ASP Women’s World Tour and is in the comfortable position of being able to work on her technique and mental approach as she looks ahead to next year.
“Already knowing that I have qualified for next year means I am just trying to gain as much experience as I can. They have done an amazing job here to give us another 6-Star at the end of the year. The women’s tour is so small that every event counts and I am trying to carry through some confidence and some contest results to next year.”
“This is the first year I haven’t been struggling for a big result towards the end of the season,” continued Erickson. “I am using that as a confidence boost and just enjoying competing and gaining experience under my belt.”
Erickson explains her fantastic season and puts it down to a new approach to viewing the way a heat is broken down into its various parts and her attention to these facets of competition.
“A lot of focus from me has gone into this year dealing with mentally training and physically as well. I never really understood how much more goes into a heat than just your surfing ability so I have definitely been working on my heat strategy and being mentally aware to surf in the present in my heat.”
Malia Manuel (Kauai, HAW) 18, struggled in her first up appearance to finish runner-up behind Australian power-house Felicity Palmateer who top scored today, in their high tide encounter. After a recent win in the Pantin 6-Star event, Manuel is having to come to grips with the added pressure of coming off her victory.
“It was very nerve racking that heat. It is our last event and I want to take it heat by heat but hopefully we get some good waves. My last heat was difficult and it went flat as no waves came in and they put the contest on standby. You have to do what you have to do and just take it day by day.”
Manuel, nº4 on the Star rankings and positioned to qualify for the elite ASP Women’s World Tour, is focusing on the job at hand in Azores to pass through her heats with explosive, innovative surfing and hopes to be able to display her surfing over the upcoming days in bigger conditions.
“I try to put it into the back of my mind at the moment. I would be so honoured to make the top 17 women in the world. It is so hard to get in and to be up there and to qualify is amazing. It is also very nerve racking too.”
Fellow Hawaiian Alana Blanchard 21, pulled off some of the biggest single turns of the day with her snappy backhand attatck in the peaky conditions. Showing her experience gained over the recent years on the World tour, Blanchard is not discarding a big result in this final event of the season and a possible re-qualification into the World tour.
“I started off slow and I thought my best scores were going to be really low but I ended up getting a couple of waves and got some good scores which was good.”
“It is definitely possible for sure,” noted Blanchard. “I am not thinking about it too much but if it happens it happens. It is fun to be on the World tour with all the girls but if not I can get to do more travelling which I like to do. So I hope to re-qualify but if not I have next year again to try and do it. I am motivated and want to do well in the contests because I haven’t done well lately.”
Justine Dupont (FRA) 20, kept her qualification hopes alive with a win over her nearest rival for qualification Sarah Baum (ZAF) in a low scoring heat which did not allow either girl to show her real surfing potential. Dupont unleashed on a short right hander midway through the clash to gain a slight advantage with a series of forehand snaps. Dupont is surfing with confidence after her 3rd placing in Pantin last week and is set for another great result in the ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro.
A first call will be made at 7.30am for both the ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro and the ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro where event officials will decide on a running order for the day. For the men it will be the first day of their 6-day waiting period which is showing more swell and strong winds for the remainder of the week.
The ASP 6-Star Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro and the ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro are scheduled from September 26 to October 2, 2011. For more information, and all upcoming results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast log-on to;
Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro Round One Results
Heat 1: Alana Blanchard (HAW) 12.34, Ornella Pellizzari (ARG) 8.96, Nao Omura (JPN) 4.06
Heat 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 9.36, Phillipa Anderson (AUS) 8.43, Meah Collins (USA) 2.34
Heat 3: Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.90, Sarah Baum (ZAF) 6.07
Heat 4: Sophia Mulanovich (PER) 5.94, Georgia Fish (AUS) 4.37
Heat 6: Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 9.33, Malia Manuel (HAW) 7.56, Shelby Detmers (USA) 3.37
Remaining Billabong Girls Azores Islands Pro Round One Matchups
Heat 7: Sarah Mason (NZL), Nage Melamed (HAW), Jordan Hundley (USA)
Heat 8: Paige Hareb (NZL), Freya Prumm (AUS), Francisca Santos (PRT)
Heat 9: Pauline Ado (FRA), Brittani Nicholl (AUS), Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF)
Heat 10: Cannelle Bulard (REU), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Andrianna Mendivil (HAW)
Heat 11: Lakey Peterson (USA), Alizee Arnaud (FRA), Tanika Hoffman (ZAF)
Heat 12: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Erica Hosseini (USA), Anne Cecile Le Tallec (FRA)
ASP PRIME Billabong Azores Islands Pro Round One Matchups
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Nate Yeomans (USA), Davey Cathels (AUS), Filipe Jervis (PRT)
Heat 2: Gabe Kling (USA), Mason Ho (HAW), Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Kevin Sullivan (HAW)
Heat 3: Granger Larsen (HAW), Adam Robertson (AUS), Felipe Luel (BRA), Chris Friend (AUS)
Heat 4: Adam Melling (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jeronimo Vargas (BRA), Brad Ettinger (USA)
Heat 5: Tiago Pires (PRT), Marc Lacomare (FRA), Alain Riou (PYF). Manuel Selman (CHL)
Heat 6: Richard Christie (NZL), Nic Muscroft (AUS), Adrien Toyon (REU), Nic von Rupp (DEU)
Heat 7: Junior Faria (BRA), Jay Quinn (NZL), Tim Reyes (USA), Dale Staples (ZAF)
Heat 8: Kai Otton (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS), Justin Mujica (PRT)
Heat 9: Jesse Mendes (BRA), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Charlie Brown (BRA), Brendon Gibbens (ZAF)
Heat 10: Cory Lopez (USA), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Heat 11: Glen Hall (IRL), Heath Joske (AUS), Jayke Sharp (AUS), Diego Rosa (BRA)
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA), Jano Belo (BRA), Nathaniel Curran (USA), Ruben Gonzalez (PRT)
Heat 13: Brett Simpson (USA), Romain Cloitre (REU), Brandon Jackson (ZAF), Alexander El Naib (DEU)
Heat 14: Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Marlon Lipke (DEU), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 15: Tanner Gadauskas (USA), Dylan Graves (PRI), Brian Toth (PRI), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 16: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Sebastien Zietz (HAW), Matt Pagan (USA)
Heat 17: John John Florence (HAW), Tim Boal (FRA), Mitch Coleborn (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 18: Kolohe Andino (USA), Kai Barger (HAW), Andre Silva (BRA), Eneko Acero (EUK)
Heat 19: Dion Atkinson (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Evan Geiselman (USA), Cory Arrambide (USA)
Heat 20: Travis Logie (ZAF), Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Noboyuki Osawa (JPN)
Heat 21: William Cardoso (BRA), Tonino Benson (HAW), Pedro Henrique (BRA), Teppei Tajima (JPN)
Heat 22: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Shaun Joubert (ZAF), Brent Dorrington (AUS), Stephen Walsh (AUS)
Heat 23: Tiago Camarao (BRA), Masatoshi Ohno (JPN), Robertson Goncalves (PRT), Yujiro Tsuji (JPN)
Heat 24: Pat Gudauskas (USA), Austin Ware (USA), Joan Duru (FRA), Norman Landa (EUK)