Nathaniel Curran holding a 675 point lead. Photo courtesy ASP
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, August 24, 2008) – Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 24, continued to shine over some of the world's finest surfers once again this week at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime event, the Rip Curl Pro Presented by
Sprite, held in Hossegor, France and continues to improve upon his ratings lead over the field. Meanwhile, Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 20, earned the second-best finish amongst North American surfers with a 9th place finish overall.
Curran, who won the previous ASP WQS 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro held in Lacanau, France last week followed through with another notable performance, earning an equal 5th place finish in this week's contest. The Oxnard local took advantage of the substantial points on offer at the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event, improving upon his already impressive ratings lead. Tanner, the youngest of the Gudauskas brothers, earned his best finish of the season in the hollow French beachbreak, dramatically improving the youngster's cause
on the ASP WQS.
Curran began his charge for the ASP WQS ratings lead in June with solid back-to-back results in Brazil and the talented natural-footer has strung together seven consecutive results since the beginning of his charge for the No. 1 position, steadily improving his chances of qualification for the 2009 ASP Dream Tour along the way. The Californian attributes part of his success to a magic board that he hopes to continue to put to good use.
“I am feeling so good riding that board, I will keep it as long as I can,” Curran said. “I won in Huntington and Lacanau, got a fifth in Japan and am still in the event on it here.”
Curran topped ASP WQS No. 4 Yadin Nicol (Margaret River, AUS), Brazilin standout Jadson Andre (Natal, BRA) and Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA) on the way to his Quarterfinals finish.
Gudauskas' top 10 finish at this event launched the San Clemente native up the ASP WQS ratings from 89th to 69th overall, significantly improving his quest for qualification of the ASP World Tour.
"This is definitely the best result of my season on the QS," Gudauskas said. "It just felt great to be having a good run in a main event! I didn’t do that well in Lacanau and I just wanted to rebound and give it my best here in Hossegor. I love the European leg of the WQS, and I wanted to try my hardest each heat."
The prodigious goofy-footer put on an excellent showing at the Rip Curl Pro, besting older brother Dane Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), ASP WQS No. 33 Kekoa Bacalso (Mililani, HI) and ASP WQS No. 37 Matt Wilkinson (Copacabana, AUS) by taking advantage of the excellent conditions on offer for the event. The Californian's campaign came to an end in the Round of 16 by ASP World Tour No. 24 Mikael Picon (Cabreton, FRA).
"The conditions were great on the high tide and good on the low tide," Gudauskas said. "It was a high tide sort of barrel – sort of a Huntington beachbreak set up and at low tide it was a softer right hand sand point. On the mid tide was when things got crazy confusing and lots of top guys weren’t able to cope with the change and lost. Luckily I was surfing usually either at high or low tide."
Gudauskas will continue with the European leg of the ASP WQS where he will support his brothers (Pat Gudauskas and Dane Gudauskas), while using them as inspiration for his own ASP WQS campaign.
"Right now, I am heading off to Portugal with my brothers to keep the brotherhood pushing for more results," Gudauskas said. "Pat and Dane are having a great year and it feels great to be here supporting them and at the same time trying my hardest to do my best! I am going to keep going on the WQS route because my goal and dream is to make the World Tour."
Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA) finished with a respectable 17th place overall, but the natural-footer still slipped down three places on the ratings, putting him at No. 10, while Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL)
improved upon his ASP WQS situation, bumping up three places from No. 24 to No. 21. Kling has made substantial ground since the recovery of the injury-plagued season he began with.
Unfortunately, fellow American ASP WQS soldiers Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), Austin Ware (Solana Beach, CA), Dane Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), Shaun Ward (Huntington Beach, CA) and Mike Losness (San Clemente, CA) were unable to escape the clutches of the testy conditions on offer in the earlier rounds, with each surfer bowing out by Round 2.
The European leg of the ASP WQS continues with the ASP 6-Star Buondi Pro Portugal, held in Ericeira, Portugal from August 26-31, 2008.
ASP WQS Top 10
1. Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13,200 points
2. Chris Davidson (AUS) 12,525
3. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11,325
4. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 10,500
5. David Weare (ZAF) 10,450
6. Drew Courtney (AUS) 10,400
7. Marlon Lipke (DEU) 10,300
8. Tim Boal (FRA) 10,063
9. Pedro Henrique (BRA) 9,988
10. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9,894