Joan Duru en route to victory. Photo: Aquashot/ASPEurope.com
LACANAU OCEAN – France (Sunday, August 23, 2009) – Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 20, won the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro today in France after defeating fellow finalist Travis Logie (Durban, ZAF), 30, in consistent clean four foot (1.2 meter) waves in front of a massive cheering crowd.
Duru, who had impressed his peers throughout what will be remembered as one of the best editions ever, was unstoppable en route to claiming the prestigious thirtieth edition of the event nicknamed the French Pro. Grabbing 2500 ratings' points and US$20,000 for his performance this week, Duru's result rockets the Ondres native from No. 10 to No. 7 on the ASP World Qualifying (WQS) ratings. Duru became the second French surfer since Thierry Fernandez in 1982 to win the event at Lacanau today, the first French surfer to win an ASP WQS major event in France at the same time.
Duru, who paddled out under pressure knowing a win would significantly ease his ASP Top 45 inception campaign, showed he had the ss to tame the excellent conditions on offer and kept his opponent away from the winner's place posting a 16.47 point heat score (out of a possible 20) to seal the deal in front of a cheering crowd. At 20 years of age, Duru made history today besting former ASP World Tour elite surfer Travis Logie who had posted the event's highest heat score earlier in the day.
"I am just so happy right now, I wanted to win so bad I am really over the moon and can't really realize the result yet," Duru said. "I felt quite uner pressure throughout the event and until the Semifinal I was just very focused and anxious but I managed to get over it for the final and I really let go to surf at my best. Travis (Logie) never let go off me and he is an impressive competitor so I really played my game and used priority and it finishes perfectly."
Duru, who will move to the following event confidently having secured his career best ever result, unleashed a combination of massive vertical top turns and committed maneuvers to get a 9.00 point reward from the ASP judging panel and secure the win. Duru's No. 1 finish in the ASP WQS 6-Star event not only has given him a serious option into next year's ASP Dream Tour but also consolidates his comfortable lead in the ASP WQS European Series ratings where he remains ahead of Txaber Trojaola (Zarautz, EUK) by almost 3000 points.
"All light are green and everything is important to me so those ratings are of course in my mind," Duru said. "Leading the European ratings and possibly winning the regional title means a lot to me and I am pretty stoked to extend that lead. As for the WQS, well, it's still a long way to go and I will just enjoy that win now."
Cheered by the crowds while leaving the water in front of thousands of spectators standing at the water's edge, Duru was raised to the event site ahead of fellow finalist and event runner-up Travis Logie (Durban, ZAF), 30. Travis Logie, who has been on a requalifying campaign since ping out of the elite ASP Top 45 last year, was left with 2188 ratings' points, a crucial result for the South African surfer whose performance rockets him to No. 9 on the international rankings. Logie, who posted several of the event's top scores delivering exceptional backhand ss and heat tactics throughout the event, remained in the race for the title until the last minutes of the heat posting another solid 15.30 point heat result, not enough to steal the crown from French wunderkind.
"I was very happy with the way I surfed and I just didn't get any of the better waves during the final," Logie said. "Joan (Duru) really surfed a smart heat and got the best waves and he had been surfing good all event so congratulations to him. It's a great result and that requalification is always at the back of my mind."
Logie, who came-up with exceptional powersurfing en route to the final, was at ease in some of the best conditions ever seen at Lacanau and commented about the perfection surfed in the last three days.
"It's probably the best waves we've had on the WQS this year and it's been amazing the last few days," Logie said. "It should have been a Prime rated event, I wish it was so I would have got more points (laughs)! The best I have ever surfed Lacanau and it's great for the contest to get that reward as well."
Netting another excellent result counting for his already successful ASP World Tour qualification campaign was Californian renowned competitor Patrick Gudauskas (California, USA), 23, who placed 3rd today in the event to add valuable ratings' points to his overall total. Gudauskas, who was considered one of the best surfers of the week showing an impressive variety of repertoire and tactics, was not able to escape the fast closing barrels breaking at low tide leaving Logie get away with the final berth.
"I am stoked to make this far but Travis (Logie) is a great competitor and I kind of made an error on one wave," Gudauskas said. "Conditions changed fast and I think it was a good call to go because there were a couple of really good barrels and it is challenging to adapt to the waves."
Gudauskas, who suffered a testing fate last year finishing one spot outside the qualifying Top 15 at the end of the year, is in a similar situation to what he was at the same time in 2008 but showed his competitive approach was almost out of reach for most of his oppoenents and heads to the next event confidently.
"I love Europe in general and to do well here is great," Gudauskas said. "I would really want to win, I love Lacanau and hopefully it will happen. That last heat wasn't my best one this week but the conditions made it hard. Looking at the ratings, I have been closer before and it ended just one spot short so I am just keeping this out of my head and trying to win an event."
Other competitor to lose in the Semifinals was 21-year-old Australian Matt Wilkinson (NewSouth Wales, AUS), the renowned surfer known for his spectacular progressive surfing not finding any second wave to counter Duru's smart heat tactics. Wilkinson, who came to Lacanau ranked no. 6 on the ASP WQS ratings, jumps to No. … after his excellent finish and keeps his quailification hopes alive.
"It's my fourth semifinal finish this year and it's pretty frustrating not to get that chance to win the event," Wilkinson said. "But if I had been told I would come here and get third I would have been stoked. Right now I am a bit disappointed because the Semifinals are keeping me, I am always for Sixes and I can't get them. I am happy still. I had a fifth at Newquay, a third this week and hopefully I can keep that roll going. The Azores is pretty exciting as I have never been there so I will see how it goes there."
SOORUZ LACANAU PRO FINAL
1 – Joan Duru (FRA), 16.47 pts
2 – Travis Logie (ZAF), 15.30 pts
SOORUZ LACANAU PRO SEMIFINALS
SF 1: Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.60 pts Def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.76 pts
SF 2: Joan Duru (FRA) 11.17 pts Def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.03 pts
SOORUZ LACANAU PRO QUARTERFINALS
QF 1: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.43 pts Def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 7.50 pts
QF 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 18.24 pts Def. Austin Ware (USA) 10.00 pts
QF 3: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.24 pts Def. Brian Toth (PRI) 9.76 pts
QF 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.04 pts Def. Adam Melling (AUS) 11.66 pts
ASP WQS TOP 10 AFTER SOORUZ LACANAU PRO
1 – Daniel Ross (AUS) 14975 pts
2 – Jadson Andre (BRA) 13350 pts
3 – Owen Wright (AUS) 12838 pts
4 – Adam Melling (AUS) 12801 pts
5 – Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12513 pts
6 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12150 pts
7 – Joan Duru (FRA) 12050 pts
8 – Brett Simpson (USA) 11863 pts
9 – Travis Logie (ZAF) 11326 pts
10 – Blake Thornton (AUS) 10826 pts