Gudauskas Stamps Authority before Tomorrow's Islas Canarias Santa Pro Finals
EL MUELLE, Lanzarote – The Islas Canarias Santa Pro witnessed massive winds and solid five-to-six foot (1.5 to 2 meter)) waves today, the event going mobile for the second time of the week to the nearby location of El Muelle. With the eight Man-on-man battles of Round 4 completed in the testing surf, the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime will name its champion tomorrow.
Third to last event of the 2009 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), the Islas Canarias Santa Pro remaining contenders stepped-up to deliver an impressive show, knowing every heat-win from now on can change their fate towards the end-of-the-year international rankings.
Patrick Gudauskas (California, USA), 23, took control of the day’s score board to lead the assault of Round 4 eliminating French Polynesian Alain Riou (Tahiti, PYF) en route to the Quarterfinals. Gudauskas confirmed his status of favorite in the event today taming the solid sets with a couple of fives before sealing his heat win with the day’s highest wave score, a 9.43 point reward.
“It was really hard today, probably the windiest contest I’ve been to all year,” Gudauskas said. “There are good waves coming-in but it’s just really hard to get the good ones. That last wave was pretty good I am stoked to finish off the heat with a big score for sure.”
Gudauskas, ASP WQS No. 4 before coming to Lanzarote, is already guaranteed to qualify for next year’s ASP World Tour and bettered his overall ratings’ points total today by advancing through to the Quarterfinals.
“My goal before this event was to go above the 14.000 point mark,” Gudauskas said. “I am stoked because that win puts me up there but my second goal is to win an event this year so I really hope it can happen here.”
After missing out his ASP Dream Tour inception by one place in 2008, Gudauskas’s exceptional year on the ASP WQS makes him one of this year’s Islas Canarias Santa Pro most dangerous title contenders. The Californian will face other inform and ratings’ underdog Marco Polo (BRA) in Quarterfinal No. 3 on the final day.
With the race towards the ASP Top 45 qualification intensifying fast, ten out of today’s sixteen competitors had a shot at bettering their ranking with a heat win, and Brazilian standout Marco Polo (BRA) did not miss his chance.
Polo, 28, ranked No. 24 before flying to Lanzarote, displayed a solid run for his Round 4 encounter with experienced surfer and former ASP Top 45 member Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA). Netting a good 13.50 heat result, Polo secured a big jump in the ratings’ today, the Brazilian’s ASP Top 45 qualification chase getting back to motion with his win today.
“I really focused on the bigger waves and had a clear game plan in mind,” Polo said. “I was looking for two big turns on each of my waves to secure points and stay ahead. That heat was very important for me as it puts me back in the race for the qualification.”
With the Brazilian contingent seeing three of its representatives advancing through to the Quarterfinals of the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event today, European surfers had to step-up to counter the international assault with current ASP WQS No. 20 Zubizarreta ahead.
Gony Zubizarreta (Vigo, ESP), 24, was another one of today’s winners defeating former event champion Patrick Beven (Biarritz, FRA). Still in contention for the 2010 elite inception and already guaranteed to better his ranking by securing his Quarterfinal ticket today, Zubizarreta used smart tactics to post an average 12.17 point heat score.
“It was so windy out there and it made it hard to surf but the whole island was the same today,” Zubizarreta said. “The event and the ASP moved it down here to El Muelle to get the best conditions possible and we all got to surf similar conditions.”
Zubizarreta, who escaped Beven’s local knowledge which made him win the event four times in Lanzarote, will now face former ASP Top 45 surfer Bernardo Miranda (BRA), the day’s second best scorer and currently climbing-up the ratings heat after heat.
“I am pretty relieved because to defeat Patrick was anything but easy,” Zubizarreta said. “He’s won the event three or four times at San Juan and knows the place so well so I was expecting a tough heat. It is good to be in the Quarters but I am hoping to make the final here so I am looking at tomorrow with calm and hopefully I can keep going.”
With experienced competitors Leonardo Neves (BRA), Eric Rebiere (FRA), Drew Courtney (AUS) and Eneko Acero (EUK) completing the final eight-man field, tomorrow’s finals will bring an intense finish to the year’s last ASP European event. Next call is at the main venue of San Juan, tomorrow at 11.30 AM.
ISLAS CANARIAS SANTA PRO QUARTERFINALS
QF 1: Drew Courtney (AUS) Vs Eneko Acero (EUK)
QF 2: Leonardo Neves (BRA) Vs Eric Rebiere (FRA)
QF 3: Marco Polo (BRA) Vs Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
QF 4: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) Vs Bernardo Miranda (BRA)