USA surfer Ben Bourgeois wins Rip Curl Boardmasters WQS in England today

Fistral Beach, Newquay, UK: The Men’s Rip Curl Boardmasters 5 star World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfing contest came to a close this afternoon, with former Foster’s ASP World Tour surfer Ben Bourgeois (USA) defeating Brazilian excitement machine Heitor Alves in tricky, 2-3ft (1m) surf.

The Rip Curl Boardmasters started one week ago with 168 surfers, but at 4pm today there were only two competitors left standing on the winner’s podium. For Bourgeois, the win launches him to second on the WQS Ratings, just 24 points behind WQS Tour leader Tiago Pires (PRT).

“I haven’t won a contest in so long, so just being up there and getting that feeling is so awesome. I’m stoked,” said Bourgeois after the presentation.

“I’ve been on a little roll lately and I just wanted to keep it going here in England. I was just trying to take it heat by heat and it all came out my way at the end. I’m so happy.”

Bourgeois took control of the 35-minute final from the very start, locking in 5.33 and 7.33-point rides on his first two waves. The North Carolina-born surfer then posted an 8.67 on his fourth wave to cement his spot in first with a two-wave combined score of 16.00 points.

Alves fought hard to come back, but the high scoring waves he continually found all week eluded him when the time mattered most this afternoon.

“I am disappointed to not win the final, but I am so happy to finish second to Ben here in Newquay,” said Alves. “I think I surfed well this week, but just didn’t get the right waves today in the final and missed the opportunities.”

The Brazilian’s road to the final was no easy task, facing current WQS No. 3 Jay Thompson (AUS) in the semi-finals and Foster’s ASP World Tour surfer Dayyan Neve (AUS) in the quarter-finals before that. The small, fast conditions were perfectly suited with his radical style though and the goofy-footer overcame both hurdles with ease.

Thompson was happy to place =3rd today and take some winning momentum into the Sooruz Lacanau Pro, which starts in two days time.

“I was pumped coming into this event, because I really wanted to get another big result before heading to France for Lacanau and the Super Series,” said Thompson. “I planned to do well at the start of the year and I think the confidence I got from that has helped me get straight into the European leg. There are still plenty of big events left, so I hope to get a good result in France when the pressure is on.”

Unlike the other finalists, Bourgeois flew under the radar for most of the contest, but stepped up to the mark on the final day of competition. After eliminating European sensation Hodei Collazo (EUK) in quarter-final 2, we defeated current World No. 32 Royden Bryson (ZAF) in the semi-finals.

Bryson failed to find any rhythm in the semi-final, posting a low 8.97 two-wave combined heat score to all but give Bourgeois the win.

“This heat wasn’t easy and neither of us got any great,” said the South African. “It’s definitely a good result as it is the first and smallest event of the European summer leg. I love coming to Newquay, I have friends here and we’ve had a really good time.

“This event is a warm-up and I am definitely looking forward to the two 6 Star WQS and the Super Series. I hope I can do good there as well,” finished the best South African of the Rip Curl Boardmasters.

The 5th place finish for Collazo has moved him up into the WQS Top 50 (No. 46) and cements his position as one of Europe’s best surfers on tour right now.

“I’m a little bit disappointed, because I wanted to keep the good feeling rolling and get into the final,” said Colllazo. “I never expected to reach a man-on-man quarter-final here, because it’s always hard to surf these small tricky waves, so this result makes me so happy.”

The 23-year-old Spanish Basque surfer moves to 4th on the 2007 European Pro Surf Tour with this result.

Foster’s ASP World Tour competitor Troy Brooks (AUS) was another of the standouts this week, but the 28-year-old’s run was ended by Thompson in quarter-final 3. Brooks was disappointed about being eliminated two heats shy of the final, but was happy to finish =5th.

“I am looking for three good results in the next few weeks and I hope the next event will be as good as this one for me,” said Brooks. “I love coming to Europe, because aside from Australia, it’s the only other place I could live,” said Brooks. “I like the waves and I love surfing here.”

The Women’s Davidoff Cool Water Wave 5 star WQS finished yesterday, with ASP World Tour surfer Jacqueline Silva (BRA) defeating 16-year-old European sensation Pauline Ado (FRA) in excellent conditions at Fistral Beach.

All results, news and information about the Rip Curl Boardmasters surf & music festival can be found online at: www.ripcurlboardmasters.com

Men’s Rip Curl Boardmasters 5 star WQS Results
US$100,000 Prize Money

Ben Bourgeois, USA (16.00 points) def. Heitor Alves, BRA (12.77 points)

SF 1: Ben Bourgeois, USA (11.70 pts) def. Royden Bryson, ZAF (8.97 pts)
SF 2: Heitor Alves, BRA (14.17 pts) def. Jay Thompson, AUS (10.16 pts)

QF 1: Royden Bryson, ZAF (14.67 pts) def. Darren O’Rafferty, AUS (11.73 pts)
QF 2: Ben Bourgeois, USA (17.03 pts) def. Hodei Collazo, EUK (13.23 pts)
QF 3: Jay Thompson, AUS (13.97 pts) def. Troy Brooks, AUS (12.10 pts)
QF 4: Heitor Alves, BRA (15.17 points) def. Dayyan Neve, AUS (13.17 pts)

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