EL CONFITAL, Gran Canaria (Friday, October 23, 2009) – With the swell direction changing and the wave size settling in the five-to-six foot (1.5 to 2 meter) range, the Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro witnessed some of this year's best surf conditions, El Confital turning into a tube generator for the second day of action.
With the completion of Rounds 2 and 3, competitors had to get through an action-packed day of exciting exchanges, the ASP WQS 2-Star event turning into a "Professionals Vs Locals" bout where ASP touring surfers were to take a clear advantage. From one perfect ride to many eight and nine point scores, the tube festival put the usual cheering crowds on fire.
Advancing through to the Man-on-man Quarterfinals with two heat wins today was inform Portuguese veteran Ruben Gonzalez (Cascais, PRT), 31, who opened his Day 3 campaign with the only perfect 10.00 point ride of the event thus far, adding a solid 7.17 to wrap-up his show in style.
"I went out there with a game plan, to look and wait for the better set waves and be patient," Gonzalez said. "I knew there were a few perfect ones so I waited and managed to stand deep in that one wave, raced along the wall inside the barrel and made it. It was pretty intense."
Ruben Gonzalez, who confirmed his supremacy later on in Round 3, made his intentions clear today and stands as the favorite for the title, along with nearby Tenerife Island resident Jonathan Gonzalez who followed the Portuguese closely in the high-performance scale today.
"The locals are very dangerous, they know their wave so well and can find a deep barrel anytime," Gonzalez said. "It's true that it makes it a bit easier for the few of us professionals who have made the trip here but it's not going to be easy."
Securing a couple of wins with excellent surfing, Jonathan Gonzalez (Tenerife, CNY), 28, was in superb form again showing his knowledge of El Confital by delivering a relaxed but detonating assault with a combination of clean tube-rides and slicing cutbacks.
"I was expecting some cleaner conditions today and I had a great time today," Gonzalez said. "I am glad I got those good scores because it gives confidence for the Quarterfinals and the Man-on-man format where the wave choice is going to be crucial."
Gonzalez, a longtime ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) competitor who made the finals a couple of times in the Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro, will be first out against local representative and solid performer today Antonio Marques (Gran Canaria, CNY).
With ten Canarian surfers in Round 3 including three El Confital riders, the battle for a spot in the coveted eight-man quarterfinals' contingent raged, experienced and talented competitors Felix Ortega (Tenerife, CNY), Antonio Marques (CNY), and local surfer from the beach of La Cicer on the other side of the bay Damian Moro.
Despite his loss in Round 3, Manuel Lezcano, 19, made a big impression today. Considered one of the best young surfers in the Canary Islands, Lezcano was in excellent form displaying perfect wave-reading to find one of the best barrels of the event scored 9.50 points by the ASP judging panel.
"I was lucky to get that one perfect ride because nothing else came to me the whole heat after that," Lezcano said. "This event is one of the best every year and it's just so nice to hang out here and get to surf such good conditions. It would have been good to get through to the Quarters but it's already a good result."
Eleven heats remain before the Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro wraps-up, possibly tomorrow, more likely to happen Sunday as the surf forecast are looking good again for the weekend. Eight men will battle tomorrow in four Man-on-man heats for a place in the coveted Semifinals, meeting at 1.30 PM for the call.
The Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro is webcast LIVE at aspeurope.com.
MOVISTAR OCEAN & EARTH PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS
Heat 1: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 16.36, Felix Ortega (CNY) 12.44, Norman Landa (EUK) 9.50, Carlos Marques (CNY) 9.40
Heat 2: Alejandro Diaz (CNY) 9.60, Antonio Marques (CNY) 8.57, Alexander Zirke (CNY) 7.83, David Acevedo (CNY) 6.00
Heat 3: Ruben Gonzalez (PRT) 14.26, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 12.57, Julian Cuello (CNY) 11.20, Tatsuya Fukagawa (JPN) 9.00
Heat 4: Igor Muniain (EUK) 14.66, Javier Medina (CNY) 12.10, Manuel Lezcano (CNY) 10.23, Damian Moro (CNY) 7.40
MOVISTAR OCEAN & EARTH PRO QUARTERFINALS MATCH-UPS
Heat 1: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) Vs Antonio Marques (CNY)
Heat 2: Felix Ortega (CNY) Vs Alejandro Diaz (CNY)
Heat 3: Ruben Gonzalez (CNY) Vs Javier Medina (CNY)
Heat 4: Abdel El Harim (MAR) Vs Igor Muniain (EUK)