An unstoppable Heitor Alves (Fortaleza/Ceara, BRA) claimed the ASP PRIME Islas Canarias Santa Pro taking out Cory Lopez (Florida, USA) 33, on a wild final day of action at the left point break of San Juan. A rampaging Alves was never challenged during the entire day as the 27-year-old took one giant step to securing his position on the 2011 ASP World Tour.
Swells in the 6-8ft (2-2.5m) range and strong on-shore winds combined to produce a savagely wild day of surfing that tested the remaining surfers to their limits. Event officials inspected other breaks early morning eventually deciding to run at San Juan which offered a long walling left despite the winds.
It was Heitor Alves who set the pace from his opening quarter-final appearance right through to the 35-minute final. An ecstatic Alves leaves Europe with a ‘hat-trick’ of victories following wins in the ASP Men’s Star Series 6-Star events in Zarautz and Figueira da Foz.
“One more win here in Europe feels so good right now I can’t believe it. It was not easy at all, the whole time in this contest I have been pushed by the other guys during all the heats. I was very concentrated today in the water and once again the good vibrations were on my side again.(laughs) I had very good luck the whole contest and I have been training so it paid off for sure.”
Not once did he find himself in second position, opening all his encounters with excellent rides which were never contested by his opponents. Alves made it look so easy with smooth bottom turns followed by power forehand smashes in the most critical parts of the waves. His stats from the event speak for themselves; The 2 highest two-wave combined totals of the event and five of the top 10 best scoring rides.
“I got 9.00 point rides on my first waves and I kept my concentration when I was riding to not fall off my board. I also tried to stay relaxed and think about my moves to make the heat.”
The 6500 ASP World Ranking points gained with this victory all but secures Alves in next year’s elite World Tour squad for the 2011 season. Heading into the final two major PRIME events to be held in Hawaii, Alves has now a completely different approach to the upcoming contests.
“Now I am relaxed with this result and I can go to Hawaii knowing that hopefully I am on the World Tour next year. To win a Prime contest is so hard and with the points I have now my position on the rankings is even better.”
Runner-up Cory Lopez (USA) came closest to pinning back a storming Alves with his never-say-die performance in the final. Lopez needed a solid score to take the lead on his last throw of the dice however fell short needing one more major turn to consolidate the score.
“Heitor was on fire all day and every heat he was getting big scores. He started off again in the final with a 7.00 but in the other heats he was getting 9.00’s so I dodged one bullet at least. It came down to the end I needed a high 7 point ride. That last wave was pretty close to it but the final manoeuvre wasn’t there for me. If it had of stayed clean for one more big hit I feel I would’ve got the score. The waves were really tough today and Heitor got the better waves all week and he is a tough competitor.”
In his quarter-final clash against Australian Dyyan Neve, Lopez pulled off an incredible close-out lip launch to oust Neve in the dying seconds. Claiming the score as the crowd erupted on the beach, Lopez knew he had the score he wanted.
“The quarter-final was a tough heat for me. I was losing the whole time and I couldn’t get any waves so lucky that last wave came to me. I was super happy with that and the last manoeuvre I was pretty stoked because you don’t pull turns like that all the time. I gave it a little claim which was pretty funny.”
Nic Muscroft (Jan Juc, AUS) 28, came close to repeating his 2008 victory at the Islas Canarias Santa Pro however he faced a steamrolling Alves who gave him no options in the first semi-final. Muscroft a former ASP ‘Dream Tour’ surfer, found himself against the ropes in the opening minutes of their bout.
“He (Alves) has had the crazy form all event and then he started with a 9.33 against me so I knew I had to do something good. It is almost impossible out there to get those sort of scores so he did very well.”
Despite searching for a high scoring wave, Muscroft got into even deeper trouble and found himself in a combination situation which he was unable to escape. Muscroft’s equal 3rd placing, his best of the season, will boost his World Rankings where he is currently in 56th position.
“I got through the quarter-finals but I felt I didn’t have a great heat but a couple of waves to get me through so I knew I would have to do something special against Heitor in the semis. A third here is amazing. It is my best result of the year especially in a PRIME event with the added points. It gives me a chance of re-qualifying again if I do really well in Hawaii so it is all positive.”
Miguel Pupo (BRA) 18, also finished equal 3rd going down to Cory Lopez in a tight low scoring semi-final to claim his best result in an ASP Prime event. The current ASP South America Junior champion was pleased with his performance through the entire event and the tough conditions did not go in his favour.
“The conditions out there are really crazy and it is like being in a washing machine or something like that. I needed only a 5.7 to get through but I couldn’t hear sometimes. I was thinking about trying to do an air or some big turns to get the score but I couldn’t get the wave. A third here is great. I went heat by heat and lost in the semis so congratulations to Cory.”
Pupo explains how Lopez has been one of his favourite surfers since he was a child and how to be in a semi-final of an ASP PRIME event shoulder to shoulder affected him.
“He is like a hero to me. Before I started surfing I used to play video games with him in it. I played as Cory all the time and now I am in the heat with him now so I was really stoked about that. I wanted to make that heat but he surfed better than me so his experience showed out there for sure.”
“This year I came fifth in Huntington and now a third here is my best result so far for sure,” continued Pupo. “I wanted to make the final but I was kind of nervous and I didn’t make my first huge air. I almost made it and if I did it was a 9.00 but I didn’t and I lost.” (laughs)
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Islas Canarias Santa Pro Final Result
Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.50 Def. Cory Lopez (USA) 12.44
Islas Canarias Santa Pro Semi-final Results
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 17.50 Def. Nic Muscroft (AUS) 6.10
Heat 2: Cory Lopez (USA) 10.07 Def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.90
Islas Canarias Santa Pro Quarter-final Results
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 17.67 Def. Kai Barger (HAW) 3.96
Heat 2: Nic Muscroft (AUS) 9.37 Def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.40
Heat 3: Cory Lopez (USA) 14.76 Def. Dyyan Neve (AUS) 11.50
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.36 Def. Glen Hall (IRL) 11.54
Islas Canarias Santa Pro Remaining Round Five Results
Heat 6: Dyyan Neve (AUS) 14.43 Def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 6.94
Heat 7: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.33 Def. Tanner Gadauskas (USA) 11.33
Heat 8: Glen Hall (IRL) 11.60 Def. Tim Boal (FRA) 8.17
SOURCE: ASP World Tour