Competitors have completed another packed day of competition as the ASP 6- Star Islas Canarias Santa Pro powered through 24 heats in the clean 3-4 ft surf. As the last event on the European schedule, surfers are focusing not only on the European Championship title, but the re-qualifying points for the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour as well.
Brazilian power shredder, Willian Cardos,o scored an impressive 9.77 and 8.60 making his opponents scramble to match his tough combination score.
“I missed the first set and only started on a white wave after it. I did a couple turns and got an 8.7 and I thought, ‘Wow, if I get an 8.7 for that one I can’t wait to get a clean one!’ I got a good one and had that massive score of 9.77; it’s so cool! I got two ninth place finishes in Europe and I was hoping to get a Quarter or better, so I’m hoping to get a good result here and get to Hawaii in a better position.”
The only New Zealand representative in the event, Billy Stairmand, defeated Hawaii’s Fredrick Patacchia in the most disputed heat of the day. With a heat total of 16.97, it was obvious that Stairmand went into his heat with a purpose.
“That was fun!” Stairmand said. “Everyone was sitting wide and I just wanted to sit deep and have my own little peak, just go out there and have as much fun as I could. I saw a big set coming; I just took off and I knew I only had to do two or three turns to get a good score just because it was a bigger wave. I had a good first turn and a sucky section came along and I just tried to go big and throw some spray for the judges.”
Stairmand and Pattachia battled wave for wave in a close heat, even sharing an impressive set, with the Hawaiian attacking the first wave with his frontside maneuvers and the New Zealand throwing massive turns on his backside. With both waves coming in at the 9-point range, Stairmand set himself apart with a strong backup score.
“I had a good start to the season in the Aussie Open with third place finish,” Stairmand said. “I’ve just been traveling heaps and have been down a little, but trying to keep my rankings up. I’m feeling food, trying to be as happy as possible and having fun! The Top 100 is what I aimed to be at the start of the year, so I’m stoked to be in all the Primes and 6-Stars. It’s always good to surf against the best guys, I actually feel more relaxed cause Freddy P. (Patacchia) is on the World Tour and has been there for years, he’s one of my favorite surfers, it’s just cool to be out there with these guys and we’re just having fun and doing the same thing.”
With the highest wave score thus far in the event, Gabe Kling (USA) managed to place first in his heat despite a rough start. The former WCT competitor wrapped up an incredible 9.33 from a series of powerful turns on a peeling left.
“I had a really bad start to the heat,” Kling said. “ I just couldn’t catch a wave, and then I was surfing bad on all of them, the first good wave I got caught out the back and fell, and right behind there was a perfect left. I just started in that inside spot and got to do like six good turns on it. That was like halfway through the heat and with the first terrible half, all it takes is one big score. I got a decent backup but it was a pretty nerve wracking heat up until that point.”
Kling has been working hard this season to balance his new family situation as both a young father and professional surfer.
“It’s been a different year for me; I got a couple results at the start of the year and not much since, but I got married and I got a little boy,” Kling shared. “All of that happened this year, so my focus has been a little more on that. He’s 3 months old now so it’s a bit harder to travel, but I’ve still been doing contests and enjoying the time I get to spend at home and away as well.”
Hawaii’s Granger Larsen moved one heat closer to his overall goal of winning the event. Currently the young Hawaiian is sitting just outside the qualification zone for the 2013 WCT.
“I got a 7.83 on my second wave and tried to build house from there,” Larsen stated. “There were actually some pretty good sets in that heat; I’m pretty stoked to get through that one. There’s definitely some pressure of course, but I just try to block it out. I want to win an event super bad and hopefully this is my first one.”
As another one of the highest heat total owners, the Maui local used his backhand game on the left reefbreak.
“I’ve been here one time, two years ago when it was a Prime. I thought this place was really cool; it kind of reminds me of home,” Larsen said. “I love reefbreaks, that’s all I surf at home and I have a place there that’s almost similar to this and I’ve been surfing it everyday preparing for this event, so I can’t wait for the next couple of rounds.”
Sitting at 28th on the World Rankings, Jean Da Silva (BRA) obtained a high wave score of 9.07 out of 10 to push him that much closer to the 2013 WCT.
“I’m relaxed and just having fun,” Da Silva said. “I’ve been here a few times before, I feel like home with all the other guys here. I definitely need a good result; I’ve been trying to qualify for the last six years and have been really close a couple of years in a row but hurt myself. Right now I’m in good shape and feeling good, so I hope it works out.”