PLAYA DE PANTIN, Galicia – Spain (Saturday, September 17, 2011) – Hawaiian sensation Malia Manuel (Kauai) 18, has won the ASP 6-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Women's Pro defeating Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA) 19, in a high-scoring final 16.76 to 14.34 in tough 3-4ft waves. The men's ASP 5-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro completed Round Four of competition and will crown its champion tomorrow.
Manuel, who is hovering on the verge of qualifying for the 2012 ASP Women's World Tour, jumped out of the starting blocks in the 35-minute Final with a solid 7.83 out of 10 to take an early head start which was later overtaken by Conlogue. At the midway mark Manuel found her backup score with a combination of forehand hacks to secure an excellent 8.93 and a lead which proved sufficient to win.
"I am so happy. I couldn't believe the luck I had throughout the event and everything coming together and pulling through for me in this contest. It is my first final for a long time on the Star tour and my first final of the year so I'm very thrilled and so happy everything went my way. I was nervous because Courtney can easily get a 9 and she is a great competitor. She has been in every final this year so to come out on top is really satisfying."
Manuel was on an unstoppable role after an incredible semi-final performance which saw her claim the highest single score and heat total of the event, 18.63 out of 20. Another right-hander that was torn apart by Manuel saw her claim a 9.60 out of 10
"I was hoping to have the same kind of Final as I did in the semi-final. Luckily the waves held up and we got some good juicy waves. It was definitely nerve racking thinking that the semi was going to be my best heat."
"It was really fun", continued Manuel about her incredible semi-final. "It got glassy and I just had a really great time. I opened up with a fun wave and just kept building on that. It is good to be with only one other girl in the water and with the priority system. It was nice to have a satisfying heat and get some scores on the board in that semi."
Conlogue, 2010 champion who remains clearly on top of the Star tour rankings, was gracious in defeat and full of praise for her opponent as she passed the ASP 6-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro title over to Manuel. Needing a 9-point ride, Conlogue gave it her all to pull back the lead and only fell short on a punchy right that came close to acquiring the score.
"She (Manuel) was surfing really well and I just didn't find the waves that opened up for me. Stoked her Malia and looking forward to the next event. She did a great job. It was close for sure. I got one but I needed to get that extra turn out of it to solidify the wave. She had that one right that which was insane and I was saying 'damn' as I didn't have priority and I knew she was going to crank the score on that one. I am stoked for her and it has been a great event."
ASP Europe Women's ranking leader Cannelle Bulard (REU) and her nearest rival and close friend Justine Dupont (FRA) finished equal third to distance themselves on the rankings ladder. Claiming their season's best result both girls were pleased with their overall performances and will now head to the upcoming Azores event where the European title will be decided.
The ASP 5-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro held Round Four of competition with event's Top seed Dion Atkinson (Seaford, South Australia) 25, hooking into a series of backhand gouges on a tricky low-tide left to open his account with a solid 7.17 out of 10 and take control of a closely fought battle.
"I got off to a good start and got a 7 straight away and so I tried to capitalize of that. With the boys it was a bit scrappy at first and they were only getting 4's so it made me feel a bit more at ease. At the end everyone was getting 6's so I was freaking and looking at my watch and just begging that time to go down. I was pretty stoked to get a few waves and it is always good to get through those sort of heats. You know the guys really well and everyone are great surfers in these rounds so it is great to get through another heat."
Atkinson, current nº47 on the ASP World rankings, is showing as one of the favourites to take this year's ASP Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro title with his standout performances so far in the event. Swell conditions are expected to increase significantly overnight which is very much to the powerful natural footer's liking.
"It is a good feeling to be one of the favourites but field here is amazing so I am not counting anything just yet. We always get at least one big day here and it is always great fun. It is always a victory at sea sort of thing so I am looking forward to it."
Wiggolly Dantas (Ubatuba, BRA) 21, late in his heat, caught a heavy left which he smashed two power-house forehand snaps to claim an 8.87 out of 10 and the heat win to advance along with Glen Hall (IRL). Top scoring for today with a two-wave combined heat total of 16.70 to head into tomorrow's final day of competition with regained confidence.
"I watched two heats before mine and I saw some good lefts. It is hard out there with waves on the left and the right and I got two good ones. In Zarautz I came fifth and I have come here to surf with everyone who is surfing really well here. I saw the waves were going to be big so I came here for sure. It is one more contest to warm up a little bit before Azores Prime contest.
Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK) 26, advanced through to Round Five with another polished performance showing his wave selection skills by securing several high scoring rides on both the lefts and rights while his opponents struggled to find momentum.
"I am very pleased with the result for sure. I went into the heat not too sure exactly where to position myself because it is quite tough out there at the moment. I was lucky with my wave selection and found one that opened up and allowed me the chance to do a few turns."
Aranburu displayed fast critical surfing and has quietly progressed with solid heat results. He is maintaining his composure and does not wish to peak too early before the crucial final day of the event.
"The truth is that in all my heats I have had some good scores and I feel good at the moment. You have to choose very carefully your waves because if you leave anything go that opens up you can put a lot of pressure on yourself. I try to remain calm and 30-minute heats in these kind of conditions is really good because it gives you time to choose your two best waves."
A first call will be made at 11.30am for the final day of the ASP 5-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro 2011 and the crowning of this year's champion. For more information, and all upcoming results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast log-on to:
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Women's Final Result
Malia Manuel (HAW) 16.76 Def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.34
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Women's Semi-final Results
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 18.63 Def. Cannelle Bulard (REU) 12.53
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.97 Def. Justine Dupont (FRA) 13.50
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Women's Quarterfinal Results
Heat 1: Cannelle Bulard (REU) 11.93 Def. Sophia Mulanovich (PER) 7.73
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.40 Def. Erica Hosseini (USA) 7.27
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.10 Def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.33
Heat 4: Justine Dupont (FRA) 15.44 Def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.43
Upcoming Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Men's Round Five Matchups
Heat 1: Santiago Muniz (ARG), Alex Chacon (AUS), Nicholas Squires (AUS), David do Carmo (BRA)
Heat 2: Charlie Brown (BRA), Chris Friend (AUS), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Brent Savage (AUS)
Heat 3: Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Glen Hall (IRL), Gavin Gillette (HAW), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 4: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Nic von Rupp (DEU), Sam Wrench (AUS)
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Men's Round Four Results
Heat 1: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 13.97, Chris Friend (AUS) 13.16, Jay Quinn (NZL) 12.67, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 8.07
Heat 2: Nicholas Squires (AUS) 14.03, Brent Savage (AUS) 13.77, Medi Veminardi (REU) 9.70, Charles Martin (GLP) 6.37
Heat 3: Charlie Brown (BRA) 13.60, Alex Chacon (AUS) 11.84, Perth Standlick (AUS) 8.97, Rudy Marechal (FRA) 7.26
Heat 4: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.10, David do Carmo (BRA) 12.64, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 12.07, Tim Wrench (AUS) 11.80
Heat 5: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 14.53, Leonardo Neves (BRA) 10.50, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 9.60, James Taipan Woods (AUS) 9.40
Heat 6: Gavin Gillette (HAW) 12.44, Sam Wrench (AUS) 12.00, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 11.25, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 8.30
Heat 7: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.70, Glen Hall (IRL) 14.76, Romain Laulhe (FRA) 9.20, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3.90
Heat 8: Nic von Rupp (DEU) 16.27, Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.16, Filipe Jervis (PRT) 12.23, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 10.64
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 5-Star Men’s Event
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star Women’s Event
Stop No. 7 of 9 on the 2011 ASP European Men’s Series
Stop No. 3 of 4 on the 2011 ASP European Women’s Series
Playa de Pantin, Galicia – Spain