Daniel Ross (Yamba, AUS), 25, won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star Ocean & Earth Pro pres. by La Caja de Canarias in pumping five to six foot (1.5 to 2 meter) waves at the world famous venue of El Confital today. Ross, who defeated Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head, AUS), 18, in an exciting 100% Australian 35-minute Man-on-man clash, rose throughout the week with excellent skills and variety in his surfing to end up 1st of the 2008 edition and clinch the valuable 1500 winner’s ratings’ points.
Ross ended up his run with an excellent performance posting a 16.60 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) to secure his win in a tricky final after his opponent had opened the battle well. Ross did not surf any wave in the last fifteen minutes leaving Kennedy almost catching up but missing out by 0.53 points.
"I was very relaxed out there and I felt good," Ross said. "I knew there were not that many excellent waves so I chose mine very carefully and got some good scores. That last wave put me ahead and I just sat there with priority and waited. Patiently. It was such a good event and to surf against Stuart (Kennedy) was even better. He is such a good surfer to watch."
Ross, who has had a tough time for his first year on the ASP World Tour, gets back on track to requalify thanks to his win and will move to the next events confidently.
"The last event I won was years ago when was still a junior so this one is even better," Ross said. "I was definitely here to win because it was as well about business and points and I could not hope for a better end. It is just perfect and I hope I can keep it rolling next week."
Ross, who impressed all week with his power-surfing, was in excellent form and did not leave much option to runner-up Stuart Kennedy.
Kennedy, ASP Australasian champion and renowned rising surfer from the Gold Coast of Australia, secured his best result to date by reaching the final and gets his Fall European campaign underway with a 2nd place finish. At 18 years of age, Kennedy was definitely representing the "news school" of surfing and came up with impressive vertical tricks throwing the fins out on many of his turns but failed to get the 8.41 point ride (out of a possible 10) he needed to take the win.
"I tried hard in the final and went on for any tricks I could but it just didn’t pay off," Kennedy said. "It has been a great week and we had fun surfing the good conditions on offer. I am stoked for Daniel (Ross), it is good to see all of us Australians doing good here on this wave so I am happy."
Kennedy, who will surf in the upcoming events in Lanzarote and Portugal, accomplished his goal which was to start off his three-week serie with a good result.
"I was hoping to get a result here and I end up in the final which is just excellent," Kennedy said. "Hopefully I can finish the year in the top 100 and have a good seeding for next year. There is a good chance I go full time on the WQS so I need to get more results in the upcoming events."
Jonathan Gonzalez (Tenerife, CNY), 28, and Owen Wright (Sydney, AUS), 18, both placed equal 3rd in the Ocean & Earth Pro being stopped in Semifinals of the prestigious event after going down respectively to Ross and Kennedy.
"I am pretty bumped not to make the final and get to surf these conditions again today," Gonzalez said. "It was a tough heat with few very good waves and we both waited for the better ones but Daniel (Ross) got that excellent one with five minutes remaining and it made it a lot more difficult for me."
Gonzalez, who led the 30-minute encounter until the last five minutes, waited patiently before disappearing deep inside a crystal-clear water barrel with all the crowd holding his breath but failed to reappear and gave Ross his ticket for the final battle.
"I did two mistakes in that heat and it cost me the final," Gonzalez said. "I used my priority a bit too early then I got stuck by the foam ball inside the barrel and couldn’t make it. It is a shame because I really wanted to surf again today. I know the wave so well I know I could have found another barrel but this is how it is and I am still happy with that 3rd place."
Gonzalez, who made several finals at El Confital, has never won the Ocean & Earth Pro and is the second most consistent surfer in the last three years behind Michel Bourez (Tahiti, PYF) who won in 2005 and placed 3rd and 2nd in 2006 and 2007. Gonzalez leaves with 1125 ratings’ points.
Wright was the other Semifinals’ loser of the Ocean & Earth Pro placing equal 3rd as well but still securing his best result ever in an ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) event.
Wright, who was the only surfer on his backhand here to reach the Semifinals, opened the battle of rookies with an impressive 9.5 point ride (out of a possible 10), nailing half of his ticket for the final in the first minute but was not able to secure a good enough back-up score to catch up with Kennedy’s very good 16.43 pts heat tally (out of a possible 20).
"I got that first great wave and I felt pretty in rhythm out there because it was definitely pumping," Wright said. "There were few waves with really good scoring potential and I got that second one but my leash held my front foot back and fell off. It was close I got that second wave but I am stoked for Stuart (Kennedy)."
Wright, who was one of five Australians to reach the Quarterfinals, stayed ten minutes after his heat enjoying the surf and left the water happy with his run in the Ocean & Earth Pro.
"I came to Europe to compete in the last three events of the year and I want to get some results," Wright said. "Starting the leg with a 3rd is excellent and definitely makes me happy. The Australian crew has done good here and we are always stoked for one another when there’s a result and it is great to see Daniel (Ross) and Stuart (Kennedy) in the final."
The ASP WQS European caravan will fly out to the beautiful island of Lanzarote tomorrow and the next event will start Tuesday, October 14 at the famous lefthander of San Juan on the North Shore of the island.
The Ocean & Earth Pro pres. by La Caja de Canarias is webcast LIVE at www.aspeurope.com
1 - Daniel Ross (AUS) 16.60 pts
2 - Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 16.03 pts
Heat 1: Daniel Ross (AUS) 16.83 pts Def. Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 14.50 pts
Heat 2: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 16.43 pts Def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.73 pts