SEIGNOSSE, France (Saturday, August 23, 2008) - Chris Davidson (AUS), 31, won the prestigious ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Rip Curl Pro pres. by Sprite today in clean three foot (one meter) waves at Les Bourdaines, main venue of the 2008 edition. Davidson, who defeated an impressive Jihad Khodr (BRA) in the final where he posted the highest heat score of the week, secured his second ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) win this season and confirms his No. 2 rank on the international ratings.
"I cannot believe it, it is more than I could ever hope for," Davidson said. "I felt like it was my day because these conditions usually fit my surfing so well and there was all the potential to surf at my best. I was so amped I got those two big scores straight away and just felt like I was free surfing with Jihad (Khodr)."
Davidson, who posted an impressive 19.27 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) to clinch the crown, has had an amazing year with several finals and two ASP WQS 6-Star wins, enough to make his ASP World Tour qualification dream get closer to reality.
"It has been a tough time for me since I got back on the WQS," Davidson said. "I was injured last year and with very few sponsorship so it has been a struggle but I am already looking forward to competing against the ASP Top 45 next year. So stoked, I cannot believe I have won it."
Davidson, who showed great surfing and radicality all week, was the only one to stop an outstanding Jihad Khodr (BRA), currently No. 42 on the ASP World Tour.
Khodr, who was seen as the potential champion after busting some of the most impressive airs and turns of the event this morning, missed the title not getting the better waves during the final battle.
"It was Davo's day and there was not much I could do in the final," Khodr said. "I am stoked to get this second place and I had a great time in France, had a lot of fun competing in the good conditions today so it is all good for me."
Khodr, who has had a tough year as a rookie among the ASP Top 45, jumps back to rank No. 11 and will have the possibility to requalify through the WQS if he keeps up the good work in the upcoming events.
"It has been tough this year learning against the world's best surfers," Khodr said. "I am trying to improve on every part of my surfing and it seems like I found some answers in this event. It is a great confidence boost for the upcoming events and I hope I can keep the good roll going."
Marlon Lipke (DEU), 23, former ASP European Junior champion, made his way through to the semifinals today getting an equal 3rd in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime rated event for the best result of his career to date. Lipke, who defeated fellow Europeans and friends Aritz Aranburu (EUK) and Tim Boal (FRA) en route to Semifinal No. 1, clinched 2250 points today and now stands No. 7 on the international ratings.
"I never expected I could make a semifinal here, in such a big event with a Prime status," Lipke said. "I am not really into ratings and points but I was hoping for a 9th at least and I end up with a 3rd so I am really stoked."
Lipke, who now totals 10300 points, has gone one step further towards next year's ASP top 45 and could become the first German ever to join the world's elite.
"It has been a crazy year for Europeans with so many of us reaching finals at most main events," Lipke said. "Miky (Picon), Tiago (Pires), Aritz (Aranburu) and Jeremy (Flores) have been a great motivation for us all and it seems like things are paying off."
The Rip Curl Pro witnessed some of the most progressive surfing ever seen in an ASP event with Josh Kerr (AUS) taking his custom-made revolutionnary surfing to another level.
Kerr, who was stopped in Semifinal No. 2 in a wave-starved heat, posted two of the best heat results of the event today, an impressive 19.17 including a perfect 10.00 point ride and an 18.17 (both out of a possible 20).
"I had a lot of fun today but I am still bumped with that 3rd, the second one in two weeks," Kerr said. "I will have to work on that last heat and victory because I want to win. I have had several finals including one here three years ago but I want to win."
Kerr, who has been pushing his competitive surfing towards aerial maneuvers for years, was rewarded a perfect 10.00 point score (out of a possible 10) for pulling one of the highest grabrail frontside air seen in a heat.
"I believe that professional surfing has really gone the right way and I am stoked to see that kind of moves rewarded," Kerr said. "I usually paddle out with no plan except going for the best wave and then I just surf it the way I see it."
Kerr, who surfed among the ASP Top 45 in 2007, has only surfed seven events this year but stands No. 3 on the international ratings, very promissing towards a possible Dream Tour requalification.
Miky Picon (FRA) and Tim Boal (FRA) were the two other European surfers to make the quarterfinals today, missing out the win at home that would have been a huge thing as no French surfer has ever won the Rip Curl Pro.
Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 24, placed equal 5th in the Rip Curl Pro today keeping his ASP World Tour hopes alive with another great result that puts him No. 8 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings. Boal, who placed 2nd in the US Open and 9th in Lacanau, struck once again in the Prime rated event and will go to Portugal confidently.
"I am happy I made it this far but it is disappointing to be so close and miss the final," Boal said. "It would have been great to win here, twenty minutes from home, in such a major event. You want to win when you get that far so I am pretty bumped."
Boal, who remains one of the best European chances to make it through to next year's ASP Top 45, will be looking forward to gaining ground in the upcoming events.
"There is a good feeling inbetween us Europeans and it is good for our region to see that many guys at the top level," Boal said. "But when it comes to competing, you are out there for yourself and you have to get the waves. I have had some good results in Ericeira so I am looking forward to the next event."
Heat: Chris Davidson (AUS) 19.24 pts Def. Jihad Khodr (BRA) 15.60 pts
Heat 1: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 15.23 pts Def. Marlon Lipke (DEU) 12.00 pts
Heat 2: Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.17 pts Def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.50 pts
Heat 1: Marlon Lipke (DEU) 14.67 pts Def. Tim Boal (FRA) 13.60 pts
Heat 2: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 15.16 pts Def. Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.14 pts
Heat 3: Chris Davidson (AUS) 16.33 pts Def. Mikael Picon (FRA) 12.17 pts
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 19.17 pts Def. Drew Courtney (AUS) 7.00 pts
Heat 1: Marlon Lipke (DEU) 12.50 pts def. Aritz Aramburu (EUK) 7.93 pts
Heat 2: Tim Boal (FRA) 12.83 pts def. Shaun Gossmann (AUS) 7.50 pts
Heat 3: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 14.50 pts def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 7.27 pts
Heat 4: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 12.30 pts def. Joan Duru (FRA) 12.00 pts
Heat 5: Mikael Picon (FRA) 16.24 pts def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.00 pts
Heat 6: Chris Davidson (AUS) 13.67 pts def. Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 12.50 pts
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.17 pts def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.67 pts
Heat 8: Drew Courtney (AUS) 13.84 pts def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 11.17