Gabriel Medina wins the San Miguel Pro Zarautz
Surfers were greeted early this morning with offshore 3-4Ft sets breaking all along Zarautz long main beach. A decision was made to start running the Round of 48 on two split banks before welcoming all surfers back to the main podium for the rest of the day. The final heats were surfed late this afternoon in difficult conditions with strong onshore winds and rain coming in to play.
Out of the four Brazilians in the Semi-Finals, Medina was the one to step it up and go all the way to claim the victory in the 2011 ASP 6-Star San Miguel Pro pres. by Euskaltel, displaying his exceptionnal aerial abilities in very challenging conditions. Medina collected the two highest Heat Totals of the event as well as five of the ten best scoring waves of the event.
"I am so happy to be here. Thank you God and thank you to my family. They have done a lot for me and I am so happy right now. Last year I lost in the semis by a small margin to Heitor (Alves) and this year I have surfed well and I tried hard for this result and it all worked well. I was on a good board and it was a very good contest for me. I was comfortable in the final and the waves were not easy for the final but I caught two good waves and I won."
Medina went on to win the Final after coming back from an impossible Combination situation in his Semi-Final battle against fellow Brazilian competitor Thiago Camarao. In just under a minute, Gabriel Medina managed to score two waves over 9 points to re-take the lead. He had to sneak the first one under Camarao's priority, and ended up throwing a huge backside Kerr-air to be rewarded an excellent 9.57 out of 10 points possible.
"I was thinking that I had to wait for a good wave because Thiago had two high 9's. I didn't want to lose and all I wanted to do was win and make it to the final. I was thinking 'don't give up, don't give up' and a wave came that Thiago couldn't catch and I got a 9 and then straight after another one came and it was the score I needed to win the heat. It was incredible, I didn't expect it at all."
Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 16, who earned a wildcard at this year's Billabong Pro Rio de Janeiro World Tour event, made a really strong impression from the start of the event, posting high scoring waves, showing incredibly technical skills and eventually finished with a runner-up position.
"This is my first time in the final of a six star event and to come second has made me so stoked. He (Medina) found some good waves and got a 7 and an 8 so I am happy for him. I couldn't find any good ones so it was unlucky. He was better today and he one."
The yound Brazilian is in his first year competing on the Star Series and came to Europe in search of the valuable ranking points on offer in order to progress on the World Rankings.
"After here I am heading to Pantin and then I am going to compete in all the Star events and hopefully build on my ranking and qualify for the World Tour."
Thiago Camarao (BRA) 23, who ended up with an equal 3rd place, enjoyed challenging his friend Medina in their Semi-Final bout, and despite losing the heat by just a very small 0.37 difference, was a very happy man coming out of the water.
"He (Medina) is having a fantastic year and he is getting some great results. He is young and he wants to have fun and that is what he is doing now. Enjoying the waves and giving it his all."
Camarao, who finished 3rd in a Prime Event in California earlier this year, was sitting in #54 position on the World Rankings before coming to the 2011 ASP San Miguel Pro Zarautz pres. by Euskaltel.
"I am happy with the result and it is a good one for me because I am trying to look for a sponsor and now I have a big result to my name. Congratulations to Gabriel and we are good friends and we live close together. I am happy that a Brazilian will win the contest again this year."
Romain Cloitre (REU) 22, the best European in this event finishing 5th, fell short in his quarter final heat against Brazilian Thomas Hernes. The talented french natural footer took advantage of the difficult conditions finding solid scores throughout the entire event before missing out completely on his quarter-final.
"I think the strong winds actually don't change much. Sure it doesn't look as good as this morning but most of the waves close anyway so that strong onshore wind gives them a little more face to work with. We can be happy with the conditions given the flat week we've had it's a blessing to finish the event like that."
Cloitre, collecting 1560 points, secured the lead on the European Men's Tour rankings after fellow frenchmans Alain Riou and Vincent Duvignac were defeated earlier in the event. Winner of the Relentless Boardmasters in Newquay in early August, Cloitre took a serious advantage on his opponents in the European Title race with this result in Zarautz.
"I'm going to try not to think about it too much for now. There's still a lot of events this season and my lead is really short so I'm just going to surf my best every heat and see how it goes. I'm planning on surfing all the Star Series events til the end of the year, finish this European leg and then go on to Brazil, Santa Cruz if can get in and finish in Hawaii. I don't really have a clear objective as far as rankings are concerned, I just want to do my best, have good results and get my confidence back."
Between the second Semi-Final and the Final, Nike 6.0 partner of the event, organized a Cash For Tricks expression session with 14 Top Aerial Specialists incuding the likes of Kolohe Andino (USA) 17, local hero Aritz Aranburu (EUK) and Canarian surfer Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY).
Alex Ribeiro (BRA), who finished 5th in the main event, displayed the most engaged and innovative surfing of this 20mn session, taking his part of a 2,000€ prize-pool in front of en enthusiastic crowd attracted by the high-flying show.
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San Miguel Pro Zarautz pres. by Euskaltel Final
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.87 Def. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 8.07
ASP Europe Men's Ranking Top Five after Event nº6 San Miguel Pro Zarautz
1st Romain Cloitre (FRA) 4605
2nd Alain Riou (PYF) 4251
3rd Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 4082
4th Tim Boal (FRA) 3657
5th Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 3651
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