Instead of saying, "How does second place warrant an article?" let's go with, "If there are any guys in the USA who are ready for the big leagues, it's San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas.” Glass is half full today kids…
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, June 14, 2009) – Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 23, finished runner up to Australian prodigy Owen Wright (Cullburra, AUS), 19, in an epic final despite posting a perfect 10-point-ride in an attempt to overtake the young Aussie. The talented regular-footer was narrowly defeated in the high scoring Final by a score of 19.23 to 18.93.
"You know, I feel like I've won the event even though I lost,” Gudauskas said. “It was just such an amazing event and incredible Final to surf in and I'm really stoked to have pulled those aerials. I think surfing's heading to exciting places with these moves and I'm fully pumped for the rest of the year."
Gudauskas made history earlier in the event when he landed the first rodeo flip in competition and successfully completed another flip in the Final against Wright. Although Gudauskas was unable to overtake the goofy-footed talent, his amazing showing in the Maldives was one for the record books.
"I knew I needed a very solid score on that wave and as that final section approached I could see it lining up ideally so I focused on going for the rodeo, it was there to be done and I had to do it" Gudauskas said. "Riding out of it I was nervous as there were bumps to deal with and while the aerial rodeo was complete I had to ride free of the white water. It was a relief when I had realized the move was complete. It's a move I regularly practice and I'm really excited to be the first to achieve it at the ASP level."
Gudauskas' valiant effort at the Srilankan Airlines Pro saw the ASP Dream Tour hopeful win six heats over some of the world's finest competitive surfing talent including current ASP World Tour sophomore Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK), 23, former ASP World Tour surfers Cory Lopez (Dana Point, CA), 32, and Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), 35, as well as Brazilian talent Wiggoly Dantas (Ubatuba, BRA), 18, on the way to his runner up finish.
My warm up surfs yesterday and this morning were really ordinary and I was concerned with my surfing but then right on time I had a fantastic heat" Gudauskas said. "It's my third year here and we always get great waves here, it's just an ideal contest venue."
The heroic effort by Gudauskas throughout the event will play an integral role in the Orange County native's campaign towards qualification for the 2010 ASP World Tour. His second place finish in the event launched him into the No. 7 spot amongst his international competitors.
Austin Ware (Solana Beach, CA), 27, was also a marquee performer at the critical ASP WQS pit stop. The North San Diego County local finished in third place before falling to Wright in the Semifinals.
Ware topped current ASP Dream Tour rookie Drew Courtney (Umina, AUS), 30, and young Hawaiian Sebastien Zietz (Kilauea, HI), 21, and the third place finish in the significant event was his best finish of the year.
Ware is now rated 15th overall on The Grind, setting him right on the bubble for qualification for next year's ASP Dream Tour.
The next stop on the ASP WQS is the ASP 4-Star O'Neill Cold Water Classic in Cape Town, South Africa from June 20 through 24, 2009.