Americans Tackle Tasmania
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, March 29, 2009) – Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL), 29, led the American charge at the inaugural O’Neill Coldwater Classic Tasmania when he finished second overall behind event winner and fellow ASP World Tour campaigner Jordy Smith (Newport Beach, CA), 21, at the first Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event of the year. ASP WQS standout Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 23, kicked off his 2009 campaign in stellar form, finishing in third place at the exotic cold-water locale.
The ASP WQS acts as a qualifier for the ASP World Tour, and Hobgood is now rated eighth overall on The Grind after surfing in just one event. The top 15 surfers at year’s end advance on to the ASP Dream Tour and since Hobgood is currently an ASP World Tour surfer, if he were to earn a qualifying spot via the ASP WQS and requalify via the ASP World Tour as well, the next seed would advance on to the coveted series due to his double-qualification.
After two injury-plagued years on the ASP World Tour, East Coast talent Damien Hobgood is back in his usual form in 2009. Damien hopped over to Australia’s island in between the Australian leg of the ASP World Tour and donated a Final berth in the wilds of Tasmania after his impressive start at the Quiksilver Pro. Hobgood fell just short of the event victory against Smith in the Final.
“I was hoping to dedicate that trophy to the Marrawah pub,” Hobgood said said. “I had needed to step it up. I just didn’t do it. It was hard for me. Sometimes I was really hanging on with my toes so hard. It’s a little bit more bumpy out there than it looks for sure.”
Although Hobgood’s goal was to win the event, he enjoyed competing at the first of five O’Neill Cold Water Classic destinations.
“Thank you to O’Neill for thinking out of the box,” Hobgood said, “And thank you to all the people in Marrawah who have been so welcoming and so open.”
Gudauskas picked up where he left off last year and finished third at the first ASP 6-Star event of 2009 in the cranking Tasmanian surf against some of the world’s finest competitors. Patrick defeated surfers such as former ASP World Tour surfer Jay Thompson (Burleigh Heads, AUS), 25, amongst other top international talents on his way to the notable result and now finds himself rated 11th overall on the ASP WQS after competing in only one event.
Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 24, also grabbed his fair share of the valuable ratings points at the right hand Tasmanian slab. The talented regular-footer earned an impressive fifth place finish in the event and is now rated seventh overall on the ASP WQS ratings.
American surfers are back on The Grind this week and will tackle the ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River in Western Australia. The event runs from March 30-April 5, 2009.
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