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THE BUONDI BILLABONG PRO

Tiago Pires Rules The Buondi Billabong Pro For The Second Year In a Row

Press Release ERICEIRA, Portugal (Sunday, September 3, 2006)

The final day of the 5 Star Buondi Billabong Pro got underway at 9 AM under clouds, in 3 ft clean sets. With a light offshore wind softly blowing, even though the swell had dropped a bit offering fewer options, the conditions for a finish were very good. Ben Bourgeois (USA) was the first surfer of the day to grab his white vest and paddle out. Surfing at the inside section, Dustin Cuizon (Haw) and the former WCT surfer battled close to the shore, pleasing the few early crowds. With three to four turns on each ride, the difference came from style and wave choice, Dustin taking off on the best potential ones to defeat Ben.

The Round of 16 brought a lot of very close heats, both competitors of every duel using their priority experience to secure best waves coming in. Foster’s Men’s World Tour surfers Roy Powers and Victor Ribas were the first victims of this psychological battle, Glenn Hall (Aus) securing the first 9 pointer of the day to beat the Brazilian experienced surfer. “I’m happy for that result. I could have made it better but I know I am doing well on the ratings so far so I’ll move to the next event confidently. It’s been a good time here in Portugal, thanks to all organisers,” said the Brazilian currently sitting #7 on the WQS international ratings. Jake Paterson (Aus) was another upset loss just before the break was called, in order to wait for the tide to go out.

The time off changed the look of the beach; hundreds of people had had time to settle down and wait for their hero Tiago Pires (Prt). Troy Brooks (Aus) and Russell Winter (Gbr) restarted the duel in consistent 3 ft waves brought by the changing tide. Current WCT #29 and Scotland 5 Star Open winner struggled in a very close battle, both of them finding some 6+ scores, Russell finishing with a qualification. “Pretty stoked to get through that one. It’s been a good year for me with that win in Scotland, but I am looking to back up that result with another one and it’s on the good way,” said the British former WCT member.

Heat #6 of the round of 16 saw the upset of the day when QS World leader Mick Campbell (Aus) got eliminated by an outstanding Jihad Khodr (Bra), the Brazilian reaching the fourth highest total of the event thanks to a perfect wave selection to end Mick’s supremacy that started two weeks ago. After winning the 6 Star event and the Super Series in France, Campbell leaves Europe with more than 6 000 pts and a lot of dollars. “I didn’t find the good waves, and Jihad went on really well. It’s been a tremendous time in the last weeks for me, I’ve secured my goal for next year, can go home the best way before restarting in Hawaii next November. I cannot be disappointed after what I’ve achieved in Europe this year,” finished Campbell.

Quarterfinals started at 2.30 PM with an increasing swell. Two Australians, three Europeans, one Brazilian, and two Hawaiians were ready to face each other and avoid the losers’ $1 700 cheque to go into the last four spots of the event. Dustin Cuizon (Haw) then got the ultimate ride when he linked huge vertical re-entries from the outside to the rocky inside section, giving the impression of flying over the white water pocket with an amazing control. The reward was the first perfect 10 of the event, taking his total to the highest step with 19.5 pts to beat Glenn Hall (Aus).

Pushed by his fans, Tiago Pires (Prt) defeated Russell Winter (Gbr) in an on-fire heat to take another step towards his secret goal during the quarterfinals. Jérémy Flores (Fra), after showing great consistency once again in Ericeira, surfed in quarterfinal #4 against Jihad Khodr (Bra). With the same speed and flow the 18-year-old has been using to reach the final in Lacanau and the quarters in Hossegor, he waited for the best waves of the increasing swell to surf his way in a last minute exchange against the Brazilian ripper, into the all European semi-final against Tiago Pires (Prt). In a friendly battle, the two Europeans surfed with pleasure and offered the cheering crowd a great time, Jérémy offering Tiago his second final in two years, at his home spot of Ericeira.

The thirty minute decider started at 5.15 PM, in consistent 3 to 5 ft waves, as bigger sets were coming in. Wearing the red singlet, Patacchia Jnr opened the ultimate heat of the event with two throw away scores, looking under pressure. The Portuguese flags were standing high on the beach of Ribeira d’Ilhas, while the Hawaiian contingent was still sitting loud and clear. Tiago’s first ride brought him a 6+ score to take the advantage and get on with his will. The glare had settled over the Atlantic Ocean giving our judges an ultimate challenge. Knowing the wave like his pocket, the Portuguese defending champion looked calm and patient to secure a good wave choice; in an amazing exchange, the two competitors answered each other on two great rides, until Tiago went off taking the maximum of risks to secure a 9.3 pointer and reach the 17+ total. With the crowd going crazy, the local boy then finished his victim going over the top to get a 9.77 after huge carves added to two up-side-down vertical front side re-entries.

Totalizing 19.20 pts as five minutes were remaining, Tiago Pires could already celebrate an historical second win in the Buondi Billabong Pro, getting the third highest score and second heat total of the event in the last duel of the day. With the crowd going off, flags covered the hero taken by his fans to the award ceremony stage. “It’s what I could hope most. Getting another victory in two years is just crazy. The crowd has been so much with me, I just cannot believe it. I’ll now focus on the rest of the year because I still hope to get back on the track for a spot in the top 45,” finished Tiago. It’s been an insane finish here at the Buondi Billabong Pro at Ericeira. Congratulations to Tiago Pires.FINAL RESULT

1st - Tiago Pires (Prt)
2nd - Fredrick Patacchia Jnr (Haw)