Pat Gudauskas. Photo: Surfing Australia
History created on day five at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME 6-star rated SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives with USA surfer Pat Gudauskas successfully executing one of surfing's most difficult manoeuvres, the aerial "rodeo clown", the first time ever at a high level ASP event.
Under extreme pressure Gudauskas was in third place and looking at elimination with 30 seconds remaining in his heat when he found a reasonable wave and chasing a 7.23 score completed some good turns but still required something special toward the final stages of the ride. The powerful 23-year old Californian surfer then went for broke and launched into the air, rotating the 540 degree inverted flip and riding out of the manoeuvre.
Smooth and precise in execution, the ride was awarded a perfect 10 points and Gudauskas moved from 3rd to 1st to advance to the final 16 surfers remaining in the event. "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" said Gudauskas.
"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 realised the move was complete" added Gudauskas. "It's a move I regularly practice and I'm really excited to be the first to achieve it at ASP level."
Owen Wright. Photo: Surfing Australia
In excellent 4feet (1.5m) waves most of the final 24 surfers combined power surfing with aerials in a day of memorable performances. Exciting 19 year old emerging surfers Owen Wright (AUS) and Jadson Andre (Brazil) were again dominant in their winning performances.
Jadson Andre. Photo: Surfing Australia
Andre continues to successfully perform multiple aerial moves on every wave while Wright focuses on power on face moves but is always ready to include aerials when the opportunity looks right.
"These waves are really ideal to drive powerful turns from start to finish and I'm trying to blend power turns and aerials to maximise my scores" said Wright.
"It's exciting to see all the surfers really pushing the levels up and you enter every heat knowing that excellent scores are essential to progress."
Veteran ASP World Tour surfers Cory Lopez (USA) and Travis Logie (South Africa) continued their charge and both surfers progressed to the final 16.
Other impressive heat winners today included Jonathon Gonzales (Canary Islands), Drew Courtney (AUS) and Daniel Ross (AUS).
With good clean waves forecast throughout the weekend organizers stopped the event today after round four was completed, leaving 16 surfers remaining in the event.
An early start is expected tomorrow and finals at this stage likely to run on Sunday.
Follow this event live at www.srilankanairlinespro.com
Round five draw when event resumes tomorrow:
Heat 1: Pat Gudauskas (USA), Cory Lopez (USA),
Heat 2: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 3: Shaun Gossman (AUS), Romaine Cloitre (FRA),
Heat 4: Travis Logie (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 6: Heitor Alves (BRA) ,Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 7: Leigh Sedley (AUS), Jonathon Gonzales (CNY)
Heat 8: Austin Ware (USA) Drew Courtney (AUS)
SriLankan Airlines Pro 2009 is made possible thanks to the following sponsors: SriLankan Airlines, John Keells Group, Chaaya Island – Dhonveli, Atoll Travel, Atoll Adventures, Ocean & Earth International, Dhiraagu, Maldives Tourism & Promotions Board, ASP Australasia.