What: Rip Curl Pro Hossegor/Seignosse, ASP 6 Star Prime WQS Men's Event Where: Les Bourdaines Hossegor, France When: 18 - 24 August 2008
Chris Davidson (AUS), 31, won the prestigious ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Rip Curl Pro this weekend in clean 1-meter waves at Les Bourdaines, France. Davidson defeated an impressive Jihad Khodr (BRA) in the final, where he posted the highest score of the week to secure his second ASP World Qualifying Series win and cement his No.2 spot 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."
Davidson, who posted an impressive 19.27 out of 20 to clinch the crown, has had an amazing year 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."
Khodr, who was seen as the potential champion after busting some of the most impressive airs and turns of the event, missed the title by 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 to secure an equal 3rd finish. "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 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 surfing to another level. Kerr, who was stopped in Semifinal No.2 in a wave-starved heat, posted two of the best results of the event. "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 now stands at No.3 on the international ratings, making a possible Dream Tour requalification very likely.
FINAL Heat : Chris Davidson (AUS) 19.24 pts Def. Jihad Khodr (BRA) 15.60 pts
SEMIFINALS 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
QUARTERFINALS 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