Opening Day for the Pacifico Belmar Pro Men's 1-Star

The 2014 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 1-Star Pacifico Belmar Pro was called ON today in contestable 1-3 foot conditions. Both Round 1 and Round 2 were completed in their entirety. With a slight decrease in size overnight, competitors battled through the opening rounds with hopes of advancing to the final day scheduled for Sunday.

One of the day's standout performances came from defending Belmar Pro champion Ben Bourgeois (USA) in his Round of 64 heat, where he walked away with a noteworthy 15.17 two-wave total. Bourgeois took full advantage of a right-hander and dropped an excellent 8.27 on one of his rides, looking in rhythm with both the ocean and his equipment.

“Belmar is great, it's been good to me.” Ben said, “I've won the contest here twice before. It's nice to make that first heat because that can sometimes be a rough one. I was lucky to get two good little waves right off the bat, so I didn't have to battle the rest of the heat. I love that we are going to finish with the man-on-man format, so hopefully I can make it that far.”

As a long time ASP competitor, Bourgeois is no stranger to the man-on-man format that will begin in the Quarterfinals. With an impressive track record here in Belmar and momentum going into the weekend, Ben is one surfer to keep an eye on.

Another surfer that made a solid showing today was St. Augustine, Florida native Gabe Kling (USA) who advanced through both his Round 1 and Round 2 heats. The former world tour competitor dropped an impressive 7.50 in his heat this morning on a long left-hander where he connected multiple turns on his backhand.

“It was a little better in the morning and I was stoked to get a couple waves. That left popped up and I got a good first section then finished with a few more turns.” Said Kling, “I've been surfing a lot of small waves lately at home, so that definitely came into play out there. I'm stoked to make it though and hopefully the waves pick up a bit these next few days.”

New Jersey local Rob Kelly (USA) was another competitor who was looking in-form in today's conditions. Kelly was showing superior wave selection in the small surf and pocketed a 7.43 on one of his rides, where he put together three solid turns on his forehand. The regular-footer has surfed the entire East Coast leg of the ASP Qualifying Series and is looking to collect a few more points at this last event in Belmar.

“That left that I got was one that actually had a nice line to it. A lot of the waves out there are just peaks because of the wind swell, but there's still a few that have a little bit more push to them that give you a chance to do a couple turns.” Kelly explained, “It's awesome having all these events on the East Coast and it's a great opportunity for some of us local guys trying to get seeded into more events.”

The ASP 1-Star Fins Pro Junior will return to competition tomorrow.

The ASP Pacifico Belmar Pro and Fins Pro Junior are set to run from Thursday, September 11th to Sunday, September 14th.