Rocket Ross really rates
By TONY WHITE firstname.lastname@example.org
YAMBA'S Daniel Ross has zoomed into contention to gain a berth on next year's lucrative World Championship surfing tour.
The 22-year-old followed up his equal third to Mullaway surfer Shaun Cansdell in the Sooruz Lacanau Pro with an equal fifth placing behind Brazilian star Adriano de Souza in the US$150,000 Super Series at Hossegor in France.
Ross, who was ranked in the 80s before the European leg of the World Qualifying Tour (WQS), moved from 38th after Lacanau into 16th position on adjusted rankings ? best seven results.
The top 15 placed WQS surfers gain automatic entry into WCT events for 2006.
The 48-man WCT tour comprises 12 events world wide, each worth a minimum US$270,000.
Cansdell is ranked No 2 behind Adriano de Souza and almost certain of a WCT berth next year.
Ross, the 2003 Australasian Circuit Pro Junior Champion, is in his second year competing on the tough WQS tour.
Another good performance, in the six-star $125,000 Buondi Billabong Pro ? which opened yesterday at Ericeira, Portugal ? will help shore up Ross's ranking and make him a step closer to living a boyhood dream.
Major contests in California, Brazil and Hawaii later this year will determine Ross's WCT fate. Last year Ross surfed exceptionally well in the Hawaiian leg.
Ross was beaten by a red hot de Souza in the quarter-finals of the Super Series event in France.
The 18-year-old Brazilian's performance to later dust off Australian Adrian Buchan in the semis and countryman Odirlei Coutinho in the final, when he scored an event high 18.76 points for two waves, confirmed his rating as the best surfer in the world outside the WCT stars.
De Souza has had an unbelievable season and sits well ahead of his competition atop the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) WQS ratings.