The 2009 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) six star PRIME rated SriLankan Airlines Pro began at the famous Pasta Point in the Maldives today and the world's finest surfers wasted no time acclimatising and ripping into the fun 1m (3ft) surf.
Hawaiian Casey Brown opened the event impressively scoring both the days highest heat win (15.66 out of a possible 20) along with the highest wave score of an 8.83 (out of a possible 10) on a ride which saw him complete a series of powered critical turns along with a perfectly executed air reverse.
"It's always good to win through that round one heat, we've all travelled a long way to get here and you'd feel really down to lose out and be eliminated straight away so it's a relief" said Brown.
"It's such a fun event here, great free surfing waves in all directions and you just want to do well and enjoy the whole week."
While today's waves were not perfect there was plenty of scope for strong scores with the mechanical peeling point offering multiple sections for surfers to perform on.
Other heat winners to impress were former event champion Daniel Redman (South Africa), Portugal's Ruben Gonzalez, Rudy Palboom (South Africa), Christophe Allary (Reunion) and Alejo Muniz (Brazil).
Australia's Jack Perry summarized the feelings of most surfers here today after his strong heat win by saying, " I always have a great time here, we're competing in a really important event at the midpoint of the year but the atmosphere is just great, it's like we're all on holidays but a good result here means a lot to your ASP season so you have to remain focused."
"The waves today were nothing like as good as it can get but still they were a lot of fun and you can really perform in these conditions - the outlook is solid and if it gets like last year then we're surfing in amazingly perfect waves so fingers crossed!"
Strong afternoon winds saw event organizers finish the day early with just 8 heats completed and organizers will reconvene first thing tomorrow morning.
SriLankan Airlines Pro 2009 is made possible thanks to the following sponsors: SriLankan Airlines, John Keells Group, Chaaya Island - Dhonveli, Atoll Travel, Atoll Adventures, Ocean & Earth International, Dhiraagu, Maldives Tourism & Promotions Board, ASP Australasia.
ASP Australasia as the event managers will deliver a quality live Webcast along with Television News Feeds, complimentary Digital Images for newspapers and websites, Web highlight packages and a dedicated 30 minute international television program.