TOP SEEDS PREP FOR 6.0 LOWERS PRO

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SAN CLEMENTE, California (Thursday, April 23, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is just days away from kicking off mainland America’s first ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME event at the premier location of Lower Trestles in California from April 28 through May 2, 2009 with the 6.0 Lowers Pro. Running alongside the highly touted event will be the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior, the only North American stop of the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge culminating in Bali, Indonesia in early October.

The ASP World Qualifying Series acts as a gateway to the ASP World Tour, with the series top 15 surfers at year’s end advancing on to the coveted tour the following year. The ASP North America Pro Junior Series is a regional qualifier for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships held in Narrabeen, Australia. The junior seeds from each respective region do battle in an attempt to earn the title of ASP World Junior Champion.

Ben Bourgeois (Wrightsville Beach, NC), 30, who is a former ASP World Tour campaigner, claimed a victory at the 6.0 Lowers Pro last year when the event was an ASP 4-Star, by unleashing a furious forehand attack on the bombing righthanders provided by the famed pointbreak. Now the East Coaster is ready to tackle some of the world’s finest, including current ASP World Tour No. 5, C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 29, who is a two-time champion at Trestles, California aerialist Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), 23, Brazilian talent Adriano de Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 22, and Hawaiian goofy-footer Fred Patacchia (North Shore, HI), 27, amongst others at the top notch event.

“Last year we had really fun surf so I hope for swell this time around,” Bourgeois said. “To take the crown again this year would be insane since it is a 6-Star PRIME. There are going to be a lot more big names in the event this year so to take it out would be epic!”

Bourgeois knows that the repeat victory will be no easy task however, as the ASP 6-Star PRIME venue will attract the hungriest ASP WQS competitors looking to find their way on to the ASP Dream Tour as well.

”Lowers is one of the most high performance waves out there so your true talent comes out at that event,” Bourgeois said. “I’m looking forward to it but have no stress. I can’t wait to just have fun and surf some lowers with three other guys out.”   Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 24, who was the winner of last year’s ASP WQS and is a rookie on the ASP World Tour this year, is looking to utilize the 6.0 Lowers Pro as a warm up for the ASP World Tour event held at Lower Trestles in the fall.

“Surfing in the 6.0 Lowers Pro will be a great warm up for the World Tour event there,” Curran said. “Other than the ‘QS contests in Hawaii, I think it’s one of the best events on the WQS.”

The hard-working regular-footer will tackle fellow ASP Dream Tour surfers competing in the event in an attempt to keep his competitive skills sharp before leaving for the next stop on the ASP World Tour.

“It’s good to surf in this event and to keep up on my game and try and stay consistent,” Curran said. “It’s good to keep competing in between events and to try and keep focused. Everyone surfs well out there. It’s a high-quality wave with high-quality surfers, so as long as we have waves, it should be good.”

Kai Barger (Haiku, HI), 19, who is the reigning ASP World Junior Champion, is only competing in a few select ASP Pro Junior events this year, but the Oakley Pro Junior, the only U.S. Qualifier for the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge, is one of the choice destinations on the prodigious Hawaiian’s calendar for the 2009 season.  Barger earned a wildcard into the inaugural year of the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Finals in Bali last year, and is looking to qualify again this year and improve on his result.

“I’m doing a few ASP Pro Junior events this year, but I’m not focusing as much on qualifying for the ASP World Junior Championships this year,” Barger said. “I’m only going to do a few select events.”

The progressive goofy-footer is changing his focus from the ASP Pro Junior towards the ASP WQS and is looking to utilize his seed into several premier events. His berth in to events such as the 6.0 Lowers Pro was earned from his ASP World Junior title, and the young Hawaiian is looking to utilize the opportunity to continue to improve upon his standing on The Grind.

“My goal this year is to at least keep my seed and hopefully finish within the top 50,” Barger said. “I want to utilize the opportunity I’ve been given from winning Worlds and improve my seed on the ‘QS this year.”

The 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior will run from May 28-April 2, 2009 and will be webcast LIVE via www.nike6lowerspro.com

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