PANTIN, Spain – The kick-off of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic put the ASP Caravan back to work with all surfers and staff getting on with the European leg meant to wrap-up next weekend. After a thick fog forced organizers to wait until midday to send the first heat out, things went on smoothly in clean three-foot waves giving Round 1 competitors their chance to advance and join event top seeds into Round 2 where seventy-two men are directly seeded.
With the inconsistency of the waves making things hard for all competitors, today’s winners looked for precise wave selection and heat tactics to clinch their ticket for Round 2 and the expected better conditions supposed to start breaking from tomorrow morning at Pantin. With a series of close heats and average scores, a couple of surfers only managed to step-up and find some scores in the excellent range, both surfing in Heat 2 of today’s first round and advancing through to Round 2.
Matt Pagan (California, USA), came up with the day’s best heat result of 16.60 points (out of a possible 20) showing the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) judging panel he could go vertical and let his fins go off-the-top to claim a 9.17 point ride, the best of Day 1. Pagan, who has been competing for his first season in Europe this summer, dominated his bout to grab a ticket for Round 2 where he will meet with Hawaiian wunderkind John John Florence (Oahu, HAW), Romain Laulhe (Anglet, FRA) and Marco Polo (BRA).
“The waves were pretty fun on the sets and I just went for classic but efficient turns,” Pagan said. “It was close to three feet (one meter) on the sets during our heat so there was enough potential to get things going for sure. I am pretty stoked to get through with a 9.17 and I am looking forward to my next heat.”
Pagan, 19, who hasn’t had any major result in the pas ASP WQS events in Europe thus far, will be looking to get his Round 3 berth when Heat 3 hits the water tomorrow for a much awaited clash with fellow heat contestants. Pagan’s performance was closely followed by ASP European tour veteran Pablo Solar (Santander, ESP), 35, who came second to the Californian talented young surfer with the second best run of the day.
Having to wait the whole morning before getting things going, Solar could paddle out confidently for his ninth participation in the Movistar Pantin Classic. Solar, who has pulled back from full-time competition, remains a dangerous and experienced surfer and confirmed it today by posting a 15.84 point heat finish to advance in second position through to Round 2 and ahead of solid young guns Adrien Valero (Lacanau, FRA) and Guillermo Alonso (ESP).
“It’s great to be back in Pantin and to compete again here,” Solar said. “I really love the place and I really want to do well here whenever I make it to the event so I am happy to start with a good heat. It was kind of weird because the waves just stopped for the last ten minutes so I am glad I got those two better ones at the start of the heat.”
Solar, a former Semifinalist in the Movistar Pantin Classic, will try and keep-up his Spanish campaign going when he surfs against Brazil’s triple-threat and experienced men Diego Rosa and former ASP World Tour members Rodrigo Dornelles and Victor Ribas.
“I’ve made the Semis here in 2001 and I am confident,” Solar said. “I just have nothing to lose so I will just try and get the better waves then we’ll see if it pays off.”
Also shining today in the small surf conditions was Kieran Horn (USA), the American reaching the 14.00 point mark thanks to an excellent 8.00 point ride to win Heat 8 and join Pagan and Solar in Round 2 tomorrow. With the surf forecasts showing a good increase for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, event officials had no choice than to call the event off after Round 1, the incoming tide making the waves too flat for any world-class surfers.
“It seems like the new swell will give good waves for the next couple of days so we decided to put things on-hold until tomorrow and give top seeds better chances,” Movistar Pantin Classic contest director Pablo “Occy” Romero said.
MOVISTAR PANTIN CLASSIC ROUND 1 HEATS
Heat 1: Simon Marchand (FRA) 12.23 pts, Will Tant (USA) 10.47 pts, Halley Batista (BRA) 7.20 pts
Heat 2: Matt Pagan (USA) 16.60 pts, Pablo Solar (ESP) 15.84 pts, Adrien Valero (FRA) 8.27 pts, Guillermo Alonso (ESP) 7.50 pts
Heat 3: Shaun Burrell (USA) 12.30 pts, Norman Landa (EUK) 10.87 pts, Michael Bailey (USA) 10.84 pts
Heat 4: Nick Riley (AUS) 12.10 pts, Indar Unanue (EUK) 6.06 pts, Cheyne Willis (HAW) 3.74 pts, Remi Betoche (FRA) 1.87 pts
Heat 5: Chad Compton (USA) 12.00 pts, Miguel Mouzinho (PRT) 7.94 pts, Liam Joyce (IRL) 4.67 pts, Reubyn Ash (GBR) 0.00 pts
Heat 6: Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 6.90 pts, Thomas Valente (PRT) 5.43 pts, Oli Adams (GBR) 0.00 pts
Heat 7: Ryah Arthur (USA) 11.66 pts, Igor Morais (BRA) 6.40 pts, Geoffroy Henno (FRA) 4.50 pts
Heat 8: Kieran Horn (USA) 14.67 pts, Brent Reilly (USA) 10.67 pts, Andre Teixeira (BRA) 7.00 pts, Chris Jimenez Garcia (ESP) 3.37 pts
Heat 9: Jose Maria Cabrera (CNY) 9.17 pts, Ricardo Lange (DEU) 8.17 pts, Alexander El Naib (DEU) 1.30 pts
Heat 10: Jesse Heilman (USA) 10.07 pts, Chris Davis (USA) 7.90 pts, Freddie Meadows (SWE) 6.57 pts, Jaymes Triglone (AUS) 4.40 pts
Heat 11: Omer Bar (ISR) 10.84 pts, Mohammed Berrada (MAR) 7.00 pts, Agustin Mario Ruiz (ITA) 5.47 pts, William Pasquet (REU) 5.27
Heat 12: Osawa Nobuyuki (JPN), Medi Veminardi (REU)