SAN JUAN, Lanzarote (Thursday, November 5, 2009) - The ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Islas Canarias Santa Pro got closer to its business-end today with last sixteen men decided in wind-blown consistent five-foot (1.5 meter) waves at San Juan. With Round 3 wrapping-up by the day's end after an exciting series of 3-Man battles, things are set for an intense finish when the first Man-on-man match-ups hit the water tomorrow.
Final event on this year's ASP European WQS Series and third-to-last event of the 2009 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), the Islas Canarias Santa Pro got into serious business with crucial ratings' points up for grabs as the competition field decreased from ninety-six to sixteen.
From experienced athletes to surprising outsiders, today's action saw the rise of serious event crown contenders with ASP World Tour rookie Drew Courtney (AUS) leading the pack in style.
Courtney, 30, dominated the messy line-up of San Juan using his favorite backhand attack to display solid top-turns and show his Round 3 opponents he was expecting something big out of the Lanzarote contest. Finishing with an impressive 17.50 point result (out of a possible 20) after a 9.10 point opening ride, Courtney made a big impression today and secured his Round 4 ticket confidently.
"It looked worse than actually was and Eneko and I got a couple of pretty waves out there," Courtney said. "I took it fairly safe yesterday and didn't really get rewarded so I just went forward today, waited for the better waves and finished with a massive turn. I've been averaging thirteen or fourteen points and it's good to get a 17.00 point result."
Courtney, a Quarterfinalist in the Islas Canarias Santa Pro in 2008 who went to qualify for the ASP Top 45 a month after the event last year, looked at ease during his heat hitting the lefthanders of San Juan fast and strong to net the event's third best wave score of 9.10.
"I've been hanging out with the right crowd I guess and they are giving me a lot of support," Courtney said. "It's good to get back in form and to surf on the ASP WQS and do well. I love surfing on my backhand and that's one of my strengths. I haven't done worse than fifth here at Lanzarote in the past so hopefully I can improve on that and make the final."
While Courtney led proceedings on Day 3 of competition, solid performers followed closely to grab their precious Round 4 passes making most out of the tricky surf conditions on offer. With the tide filling-in throughout the morning, the line-up changed from shallow fast breaking lefthanders to solid fifty-meter waves, forcing competitors to adapt their game plan.
Using his longtime experience at San Juan and surfing on his forehand, French Polynesian Alain Riou (Tahiti, PYF) was a standout getting through two rounds of competition and finishing-off with a convincing 15.67 point result. Riou, whose best result at Lanzarote is an equal 9th in 2007, combined his smart wave selection to a sharp explosive style netting an 8.17 halfway through his battle before wrapping-up his win with a 7.50.
"The waves were tough but it's been tough all week so I am glad to eventually get some good scores," Riou said. "I got through the two previous rounds with low results so I changed my positioning out there today and got to catch the better set waves. I let go on the big moves and I am stoked it worked out."
Riou, a former ASP European Junior Champion, ousted former ASP Top 45 member Royden Bryson (ZAF), 26, advancing through to Round 4 for the third time this year on tour.
"It's been a good year for me and it was time after a couple of very slow years," Riou said. "I've had a few good results here and there at the beginning of the year and to make it through today really pumps me. I am looking forward to competing tomorrow."
Day 3 of competition, fifth day of the waiting period running until November 7, saw defending champion and event highscorer Nic Muscroft (Victoria, AUS) suffer elimination in Round 3 of competition. Muscroft, a rookie on this year's ASP World Tour, came short of a solid score in his battle with inform surfer Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) and Patrick Gudauskas (USA), and leaves Lanzarote with an equal 17th place finish.
First out tomorrow will be Drew Courtney up against Tanner Gudauskas (California, USA), 21, at San Juan.
The Islas Canarias Santa Pro is webcast LIVE at aspeurope.com.
ISLAS CANARIAS SANTA PRO ROUND 4 UPCOMING MATCH-UPS
Heat 1: Drew Courtney (AUS) Vs Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 2: Eneko Acero (EUK) Vs Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY)
Heat 3: Leonardo Neves (BRA) Vs Romain Laulhe (FRA)
Heat 4: Abdel El Harim (MAR) Vs Eric Rebiere (FRA)
Heat 5: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) Vs Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 6: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) Vs Alain Riou (PYF)
Heat 7: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) Vs Patrick Beven (FRA)
Heat 8: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) Vs Clay Marzo (HAW)
ISLAS CANARIAS SANTA PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS
Heat 1: Drew Courtney (AUS) 17.50, Eneko Acero (EUK) 15.34, Miguel Ximenez (PRT) 7.90
Heat 2: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 13.56, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.16, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.26
Heat 3: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 11.67, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 8.70, Romain Cloitre (REU) 8.44
Heat 4: Eric Rebiere (FRA) 12.66, Romain Laulhe (FRA) 8.97, Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 7.26
Heat 5: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 14.23, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.90, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 9.34
Heat 6: Alain Riou (PYF) 15.67, Marco Polo (BRA) 11.00, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 7.94
Heat 7: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.83, Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 13.74, Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.43
Heat 8: Clay Marzo (HAW) 11.67, Patrick Beven (FRA) 10.67, Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 9.74
ISLAS CANARIAS SANTA PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS
Heat 1: Eneko Acero (EUK) 13.16, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.87, Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.73, Joao Guedes (PRT) 8.50
Heat 2: Drew Courtney (AUS) 14.27, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.03, Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 9.90, Borja Agote (EUK) 7.07
Heat 3: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 11.77, Miguel Ximenez (PRT) 11.27, Ruben Gonzalez (PRT) 9.50, Simon Marchand (FRA) 7.93
Heat 4: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 11.66, Eric Rebiere (FRA) 9.27, Joan Duru (FRA) 5.24, Gregory Weatherall (NZL) 3.77
Heat 5: Romain Cloitre (REU) 11.80, Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 10.43, Julian Cuello (CNY) 9.67, Lenny Perdomo (CNY) 5.96
Heat 6: Romain Laulhe (FRA) 12.04, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 12.03, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.74, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 11.47
Heat 7: Nic Muscroft (AUS) 14.50, Marco Polo (BRA) 12.66, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 12.10, Igor Morais (BRA) 8.26
Heat 8: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 14.67, Alain Riou (PYF) 8.96, Frederic Robin (REU) 8.00, Jean-Sebastien Estienne (BLM) 7.17
Heat 9: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 12.16, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.10, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.00, Andre Texeira (BRA) 5.16
Heat 10: Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 13.43, Txaber Trojaola (EUK) 12.00, Jose-Maria Cabrera (CNY) 10.83, Medi Veminardi (REU) 5.77
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.50, Clay Marzo (HAW) 12.66, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 12.23, Shaun Burrell (USA) 8.33 Heat 12: Patrick Beven (FRA) 14.17, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 13.63, Anthony Walsh (AUS) 8.67, Alan Stokes (GBR) 8.60