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Possible Saturday Start for Quik Pro, Great Match-Ups for Rd. 1

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

quik pro france

The holding period for the 2008 Quiksilver Pro France officially opened today, however the Atlantic Ocean just wasn’t giving up any love for the French leg of the ASP World Tour. Conditions at Hossegor were about as weak as it possibly gets today. The call for a lay-day was a pretty easy one to make for the event organizers, especially with a solid swell making it’s way there as early as tomorrow. With the possible 3-5 ft. swell on tap for Saturday, last year’s rookie of the year, as well as one of the hometown favorites Jeremy Flores could very well be taking to the water to lead off what is a fantastic 1st round of match-ups scheduled for the Quiksilver Pro.

Kelly Slater will get his march to #9 going in the 8th eat of Rd. 1 as he comes up against San Clemente, Ca. surfer Chris Ward and wild-card contestant Joan Duru from France. Kelly is obviously very aware of what needs to take place in order for him to move onto Mundaka with his 9th world championship in hand. “I know I have to win the event to clinch the title and a second won’t be enough, that’s the math,” Slater said. His past experience and lack of typical Slater success in France makes this an even tougher task for Slater. Slater has only one French ASP World Tour win to his credit 14 years into his career. “It is a great event but I got third place four years in a row which is pretty frustrating,” Slater said. “The first and only time I won here was in 1996, 12 years ago.”

This years U.S. Open of Surfing runner-up, as well as likely full-timer on the ‘09 Dream Tour Tim Boal, also from France, won the Komunity Trials to join Joan Duru and Michel Bourez as the final wildcard into the event. Boal will surf in another heat likely to produce epic surfing when he hoes up against Trestle’s runner-up and current world no.2 Taj Burrow and Huntington Beach phenom Timmy Reyes once action gets underway. Other top heats include Heat 4, featuring Andy Irons and Dane Reynolds, and Heat 7, which features Joel Parkinson and Dane Reynolds.

The official call for the beginning of the ‘08 Quik Pro France will be made tomorrow at 8am local time, stay tuned!

Quiksilver Pro France Heat Draw:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 4: Andy Irons (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Chris Ward (USA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS), Mikael Picon (FRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Bruce Irons (HAW), Heitor Alves (BRA), Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 13: Luke Stedman (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 14: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Dayyan Neve (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS)

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Boost Mobile Pro Running at Trestles, Andy Irons Makes Early Exit

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

joel parkinson

The 2008 Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley is well underway and to this point has been full of spectacular surfing in the 3-5 ft. summer swell at Trestles. The last two days have seen the completion of Rounds 1,2, and the first four heats of Round 3. The current swell is expected to hold tight and build throughout the week. The competition at Lowers is likely to ensue Wednesday morning.

3-x world champion Andy Irons continues his less than stellar year with a surprising Rd. 2 loss to Yadin Nicol. Andy came into the event at Trestles ranked 7th in the current ASP standings but will obviously be taking a slide with this early exit. Andy has had runs of classic A.I. surfing this year but has yet been able to put it together for a whole event.

Joel Parkinson, Dane Reynolds, and Bede Durbidge are among those already making their way into the 4th round. Round 3 still holds several interesting match-up as current 8x, as well as eventual 9x world champion, Kelly Slater meets up with former world champ Sunny Garcia in the 8th heat. Sunny has been battling his way through the WQS this year in hopes of making it back onto the WCT full-time in 2009. Sunny vowed to make Slater’s year on tour a living hell next year if succeeds in his goal to get back on the Dream Tour. Although the words were given somewhat in jest, it doesn’t take much to get Kelly motivated to go for the kill.

UPCOMING ROUND 3 HEATS for 9/10/08:
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 6: Kai Otton (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 7: Roy Powers (HAW), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 10: Tim Reyes (USA), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 14: Chris Ward (USA), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 15: CJ Hobgood (USA), Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 16: Bruce Irons (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS)

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One Track Mind: Latest From Woodshed Films

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

One Track Mind“It’s hard to be really competitive with a good friend, whether it’s over a wave or a contest or a girl.” – Kelly Slater

“It doesn’t matter how much confidence you have; you can’t just run down and go for a surf and expect to win.” – Jordy Smith

The drive for excellence and progression that lies within surfers, especially those that are leading the way for our sport, is a unique one and such that trying to explain that drive is nearly impossible. We all see the wave differently, we all have our own views on the equipment best suited to ride that wave, and what it is that drives us as surfers to continually push ourselves differs from one surfer to the next.

Chris Malloy and Woodshed Films (The Moonshine Conspiracy) are set to release their latest production, One Track Mind, to stores on Oct. 7. The film features many of world’s top surfers in Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Tom Curren, Jamie O’Brien, Mark Occhilupo, Dane Reynolds and many more in it’s quest to dive into the their thought process and views on surfing, where it’s at currently, where it’s headed, and who is at the forefront of the march for progression. Featuring footage from Mexico, Indonesia, Micronesia, Trestles, and other world-class waves, One Track Mind is set to be a film you’ll want to keep your eyes on.

“To have that single-mindedness about things other than surfing is a challenge” – Tom Curren

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Heading Down the Home Stretch of the Dream Tour

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

ASP World Tour LogoA golden opportunity lost by the Usual Suspects not named Kelly Slater at the Rip Curl Pro Search turned into a golden opportunity seized by Bruce Irons. How will Bruce finish out his last year on tour with that monkey off of his back? Does anyone still really have a shot at stopping Kelly on his march to number 9? How will the very highly-touted rookies Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds complete their first full year on tour?

The 2008 Boost Mobile Pro Trestles is the beginning of the descent down the mountain that is the Dream Tour. While many believe Kelly’s 9th is inevitable, there are still a lot of interesting story-lines to follow. And aside from all of that…. a hell of a lot of amazing surfing to be seen from some of the best surfers in the world! Here is how the Top 10 is sitting at the moment.

CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10 AFTER STOP NO. 6
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 5620 points
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4548 points
3 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4382 points
4 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 4370 points
5 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 4353 points
6 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 3950 points
7 – Andy Irons (HAW) 3938 points
8 – C.J. Hobgood (USA) 3870 points
9 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 3628 points
10 – Bruce Irons (HAW) 3392 points

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Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Slater, Reynolds On Fire

Monday, March 24th, 2008

rip curl pro bells beach 2008With the ASP Tour making the transition from Snapper Rocks to Bell’s Beach we have seen a big part of what makes the tour so great year after year. Each stop provides unique conditions that pose new challenges.

In the early rounds at Bell’s we have seen a stark contrast in conditions with those that presented themselves for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. We have gone from endless 2-4ft. waves giving competitors unlimited opportunities (Taj Burrow’s mind-blowing 13 turn wave at Snapper for example) to score, to thick, unruly, doubled up 6-8ft. walls with limited sections to open up on. Each wave at Bell’s may present only 2 or 3 opportunities to let it fly. The surfers that have taken advantage of that by placing themselves in the right section at the right time have found themselves with massive scores. As we await the completion of Round 3 at Bell’s, here are some of the story lines to keep an eye on-

Mick Fanning – By having to surf in the second round, the reigning world-champion found himself in a very unusual position. By posting a meager 7.24 score in Rd. 1, Fanning found himself in a spot he hasn’t been in for 15 events- Rd. 2. I was curious to see how he would perform as he spent the weekend leading up to Bell’s strapping on the proverbial ball and chain. He righted the ship in Rd. 2 however, and now faces a tough third round match-up with Bell’s local Troy Brooks.

Kelly Slater – This really goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – Kelly put on a clinic. The amount of speed he generated from his bottom turn on his 9.5 is almost unfathomable. “I didn’t do a whole lot on that wave,” Slater said. “I did one turn to start off with and then this section loomed up ahead of me that was crazy – it was so smooth, especially for what’s out there. I had a ton of speed and I held the bottom turn as long as I could and was able to get that carve in. It reminded me of the turn I had in the final against Parko (Joel Parkinson) that one year.” The 35 yr old 8-timer is aging like wine and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Dane Reynolds – Dane’s putting up a 9.73 in Rd. 2 was amazing. His humility and attitude when talking about the score even more so. “I got pretty lucky,” Reynolds said of his heat against Alves. “I went out there with a good, positive attitude feeling like the waves were going to come my way and they did. I didn’t see another wave out there that looked like the ones I got, so I was pretty fortunate.” With Jordy going out, this leaves Reynolds as the feature rookie at Bell’s and it will be intriguing to see if he can keep this level of performance going.

Bruce Irons – It’s hard to say what’s going on with Bruce. The bottom line is he is way too talented of a surfer to consistently be going out in the early rounds. He seemed particularly disinterested in his third round loss to Adrian Buchan at Snapper. How sick would it be to see him go the path of Jamie O’brien and just completely dedicate himself to the freestyle thing? Those two alone are surfing as progressively as any, and would serve as worthy pioneers for a new freestyle movement for surfing.

Here are the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Match-Ups:

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs.Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 10: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 11: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 13: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 14: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 16: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)

asp world tourkelly slaterdane reynoldsbruce ironsrip curlmick fanning

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Is Dane Reynolds The Next Martin Potter?

Monday, February 25th, 2008

dane reynoldsWhile Luke Munro, Dane Reynolds, and Damien Hobgood were laying it down at Duranbah during the 15th heat of the 1st round at the Quiksilver Pro, Tom Carroll and Kelly Slater joined Todd Kline and were on the call at the announcers booth over at Snapper Rocks.

I wrote the other day about how intriguing it was to listen to Carroll and Slater and the unique perspective that two legends with a combined 10 world championships between them brought to the webcast. Given the fact that Slater is still active (for now anyway) on the tour it was interesting to hear his thoughts on this years ‘CT. What struck me the most, however, was a question he raised as the conversation became more directed to Dane Reynolds and his potential as a pro-surfer.

Carroll and Kline were calling the current wave when out of nowhere Slater let loose the question, “Is Dane Reynolds the next Martin Potter?” Kline seemed fairly taken back by the question and somewhat surprised, even asking if that was one of the questions that had been submitted by online viewers for the booth to answer. It wasn’t. Slater threw that question out there to the universe and seemed genuinely interested in finding out the answer. He isn’t the only one either.

dane reynoldsIs Dane Reynolds the next Martin Potter? Growing up my two favorite surfers were my father and Martin Potter. Aside from being the first person to put me on a board (Fact:coming in slightly behind giving birth, that is second on the list of greatest things a parent can do for their child), my dad could really charge. And Potter, he was to my gromhood what I suspect Jordy Smith and Dane are to most of surfings newest generation. He was ‘the next big thing’ in surfing. He was the surfer who many in the era of A.P.E. gloves and “North Shore” wanted to surf like. In fact, the 8-time world champ himself even patterned his style after Potter’s, plastering his walls with shots of Potter putting his trademark green-and-yellow explosion boards in positions that no one had ever seen before. That is part of what makes Slaters putting this question out into the universe all the more interesting.

The line on Potter as he made his way up the ranks is the same one that Dane is facing today. Potter was explosive, innovative, and unleashed on waves in ways that were never before imagined, much like the way that Reynolds is currently surfing. With the intense 25-stop tours that were held in those days, Potters style simply wasn’t conducive to winning a world-title. It was renowned conservatives and contest machines like Damien Hardman and Barton Lynch that persevered throughout the tour and stayed consistent enough to win it all. Once Potter admittedly decided to rein in his aggressive, all-out style, he blew away the field in the ‘89 season in a way like no one else had before.

dane reynoldsHere we are at the beginning of the 2008 ASP Tour and the world of surfing is watching closely, waiting to find out. Will Dane Reynolds be willing to rein it in enough to produce the consistent results needed to win it all? Slater said himself that “Dane surfing at 70% is better than most greats surfing at 100%.”

Facing top contest machines like Mick Fanning, Andy Irons, and the fellow rookie Smith, that may be the only way Reynolds will ever finish the year on top. It all comes down to where winning a world championship falls on Dane’s list of priorities and right now, it seems that Dane himself isn’t even sure where that is. When asked about Smith and his future on the ‘CT, Dane said…

He lives to win heats and he loves winning, and I just know that he’s going onto be world champion, and that’s not where I’m headed. I don’t like to be compared to him, because I feel like I’m being put on this big disappointing sort of thing where I’m going to let people down, but I’m just not headed there.

With this only being Dane’s inaugural year as a full-timer on the tour, it’s still too early to tell what direction he’s headed. One thing is certain, he is an absolutely phenomenal surfing talent and whether he decides to be a ‘tour-surfer’ or not he will undoubtedly have as big an influence on what goes on in the water as any we’ve ever seen. He is that good and beyond. Will winning championships become imperative enough to surf at 70% as ‘The King’ suggested? Only time will tell, but I have a feeling it will. Right now, Dane is at the very beginning of a long career in surfing. And years from now, after it’s all said and done, Slater, myself, and the rest of the surfing community will have their answer to the question, “Is Dane Reynolds the next Martin Potter?”

dane reynolds

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10 Reasons This Could be the Best Year Ever on the ASP World Tour

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Right around the time the final horn sounded at last years Pipeline Masters putting an end to a year of unexpected outcomes and less than stellar waves on the 2007 ASP World Tour, all eyes turned to 2008 and anticipation has been steadily building as the opening event gets set to kick off at Coolangata, Australia in less than two weeks.

As we move closer and closer to the lead-off contest, the story lines that this year’s tour will be the setting of continue to look more and more intriguing by the day and promise to make this years tour one of the all-time greats. Every year the tour produces dramatic finishes, surprise winners, adrenaline fueled confrontations, the arrival of up-and-comers, and of course, mind-blowing surfing by some of the most creative and talented athletes world-wide. However 2008 promises to be special for a lot of different reasons and here are ten that we think will amp your stoke level just few more notches and make this years tour one for the ages.

1. Will he stay or will he go? – “I’m sure Mick is going to be hungry to back up his title, the new guys will be hungry to make a statement, Andy is going to be hungry to find his place again, and as for me… I don’t think I’ll do a full year on the tour so I’m just going to have some fun.” With this comment, Kelly Slater once again hinted at retirement and has done so for some time. However, he is the first to admit that he has a hard time walking away from world-class conditions should the swell chart for an upcoming event call for them. He has confirmed his spot at the season-opener, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and following that event he has pretty much left it wide open. One thing is for sure, Slater would like to go out on top. If he shows good results early on in the tour and conditions at future contests are forecast to produce, I would find it almost impossible to see any scenario in which Kelly decides not to continue on. His competitive nature is part of what makes him who he is, and if he can feel one more championship in his grasp, you can be sure that he will put it all out there in order to go out on top. Then again, with Kelly, you just never know.

2. Aussie connection – With Mick Fanning taking the ‘07 title, Bede Durbidge winning the Triple Crown, and Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow keeping pace with top 5 finishes, the Australians have a very legitimate shot at dominating and holding the top spots on tour for many years to come. They finished last years tour holding 4 of the top 5 positions with only Slater keeping them from a top 4 sweep. If you throw in Dean Morrison’s 9th place finish that makes half of the top 10 residing in the land of Koalas and Kangaroos. They each take the pressure off holding Australia’s title hopes in their hands and if Slater does indeed retire and others don’t step up, there is a solid possibility of these guys having a repeat of last years domination and once again bringing the title back to the land down under.

3. Andy Irons, Andy Irons, and Andy Irons – For many surfers, a sixth place finish on the tour would leave them content and pleased with the way that they rode throughout the year. Andy Irons is not most surfers. Irons thrives on being the alpha-male on tour, the center of attention, and the face of surfing. Finishing behind Slater and the Aussie contingent has undoubtedly not sat well with him in the off-season and you can be sure he will be as determined as ever to seize his crown and bring surfing glory back to Hawaii. Look for Andy to come out charged up and ready to rock.

4. The Chris Ward Saga – While this story-line is obviously of the more somber type, Ward’s legal issues and proceedings will definitely make it’s own waves throughout the tour this year. Already sitting it out for the first event, Ward is facing some fairly heavy charges and there is a real possibility of him sitting the whole year out. We wish him the best in resolving his legal issues and hope he is able to make it back. This will definitely be one to follow up on.

5. Jordy Smith – Smith, who holds down the 34th place seed after finishing 1st on the 2007 ASP WQS, has lofty aspirations for his debut season. Having already made a Final in an ASP World Tour event as a wildcard (JBay in 2006), he is certainly one to watch. Having recently signed an astronomical deal with O’neill, there will be the proverbial 800-pound gorilla sitting squarely atop his shoulders in the form of lofty expectations for the young South African. Think Jordy is worried? “I would say that I am looking forward to gaining experience and doing my best,” Smith said. “I am just going to put my best foot forward and hope that I can link together some good results. That might see me in the Top 5.” Doesn’t sound like it… does it?

6. Nations collide – The 2008 ASP World Tour is comprised of 17 Australians, 14 Americans (five of which are Hawaiians) 6 Brazilians, 4 South Africans and 4 Europeans – the greatest number of elite tour surfers Europe has ever boasted. The ASP tour obviously holds competitors from all over the world year after year, however with the immensely skilled and talented riders that each nation has produced, this year as much as any gives us the real chance of seeing the title going back to any of the aforementioned countries.

7. Dane Reynolds – The two most talked about surfers outside the Big 5 of Slater, Fanning, Irons, Parko, and Burrow over the past year are the previously mentioned Smith and Dane Reynolds. Both are powerful young surfers with a ferocious repertoire and as expected cut through the WQS with a fair amount of ease. By virtue of their 1-2 finish they have secured mid range seedings and will not meet any of the usual suspects on top until at least the round of 16. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell by his surfing, Dane has admitted to being torn between wanting to surf competitively and simply wanting to free-surf without being limited by the rules, limits, and politics that go along with competitive surfing. The humble Ventura prodigy had this to say when asked about Jordy Smith and the tour, “I just know that he’s going onto be world champion, and that’s not where I’m headed.” This is part of the intrigue with Reynolds, and coupled with his limitless potential he will be very interesting to watch as his career progresses.

8. More of 2007 or will conditions excite? – It’s no secret that the conditions throughout last years tour were sub-par at best. Slater summed it up best with this – “I do think it will be a tougher year competitively this year and the surf can’t be any worse than it was last season, so 2008 will definitely be a better year all around for the tour.” There are 11 events scheduled on the 2008 ‘Dream Tour’ and after a rather lackluster season wave-wise in 2007, the world’s best are eager to start from scratch and return to idyllic locations like Australia, Tahiti and Fiji with another opportunity to ride the best waves on the planet.

9. Expect the unexpected – One of the great things about the sport of surfing is it’s limitless scenarios and possibilities. Put down your cup of java and raise your hands if you foresaw the relatively unknown and unsponsored Bede Durbidge taking last years Pipeline Masters and Vans Triple Crown titles? Me either. There is so much talent on tour that it is impossible to foresee what will transpire. We can talk about Andy, but what about Bruce? We can rave about Dane and Jordy, but cannot forget to throw in last years rookie of the year Jeremy Flores. With surfing growing to be as big as it is worldwide and showing no signs of slowing down, the tour will continue to see the uprising of previously unknown surfers opening eyes year after year. Who will be 2008’s Durbidge? Who will be the tour-regular that puts it all together this year to make a run at the title? You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

10. 2008 Pipeline Masters – Thousands of surf contests are held worldwide year after year. When it boils right down to it, the Billabong Pipeline Masters is the crown jewel of them all and everything else is a distant second. Taking place at the epicenter of the surfing world, year after year all eyes become squarely focused on this historic event. It’s the Super Bowl of surfing and the quickest way for a professional surfer to put his name on the map and go down in the history books. With last years lack of title-drama, big names, and classic bone-breaking, picturesque Pipeline barrels coupled with a tension fueled confrontation out of the water, more than ever all eyes will be on this years event in hopes that lightning doesn’t strike the same-place twice. As for myself? I personally don’t think the surfing gods will allow a repeat of last years event and therefore look forward to the Pipeline Masters returning to its heralded form, captivating the minds of surfers and its fans everywhere. Look for Pipe to be the legendary break that we have come to to know and decide who it is that will be crowned the 2008 ASP World Champion.

ASP world tourandy ironskelly slaterjordy smithdane reynolds

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