Pablo Gutierrez (ESP), 26, won the ASP WQS 1-Star Superbock Pro event in Cordoama, South Portugal, today after defeating underdog Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) in the final.
Gutierrez, who won his first ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) event in 2002 in Portugal, defeated Jean-Sebastien Estienne (GLP) and defending champion Eric Rebiere (FRA) on his way to victory and jumps to No. 32 on the ASP WQS European ratings with just two events under his belt.
Gutierrez, a.k.a the Matador, a former ASP European runner-up, used his experience and tactics to patiently wait for the best scoring potential waves and leave runner-up Fernandes away from the crown after he posted a last second 7.33 point ride (out of a possible 10).
"The conditions were very difficult today and I used a lot of patience to choose the better waves," Gutierrez said. "I managed to find two good waves per heat today and eventually secure the win. I am stoked to win a contest, and now that I am a full time free surer for my sponsor I even more happy to keep both things going. So Stoked."
Gutierrez, who ended up winning with a 12.33 point total to Fernandes’ 9.80 pts heat score (both out of a possible 20), was impressed by his opponent’s level.
"Eduardo (Fernandes) surfed really well", Gutierrez said. "I did not know him before this event but I can tell he will be a serious contender among the ASP European events from now on."
Eduardo Fernandes (PRT), 20, who finished runner-up in the ASP Grade-1 Buondi Pro Junior last wednesday, ended up second in the Superbock Pro for his first appearance ever on an ASP WQS event. Fernandes, who defeated some of Europe’s best surfers including longtime ASP European competitor Ruben Gonzalez (PRT), could not counter Gutierrez’ tactics in the last man-on-man heat of the week.
"It has been a great week for me and two runner-up results", Fernandes said. "It was my first WQS event ever and I reached the final so I could not hope for more. I would have loved to win though."
Fernandes will now be much expected by all European surfers and is not an outsider anymore. He aims at competing in other ASP WQS events this year.
"The level is good and I was stoked to be part of these good events", Fernandes said. "I will try and attend as many events as possible this year and just take things relaxed. I have no pressure, I am just starting."
Eric Rebiere (FRA), Superbock defending champion, was defeated by Gutierrez in the Semifinals and leaves Portugal with an equal 3rd place. Rebiere now sits No. 3 on the ASP WQS European ratings.
"I was really focused and was going for a repeat but the conditions were tough", Rebiere said. "I really wanted that win but Pablo (Gutierrez) found the better waves so there was nothing I could do."
Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) who dominated the event posting impressive scores on Day 2 and 3, was eliminated in Quarterfinal No. 1 by Rebiere earlier in the day and missed the opportunity to seize his maiden ASP WQS crown today. Zubizarreta, who has had a couple of solid results this year, remains one of the current European leaders among the international ratings.
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) European Tour will now have a three-week break before the major ASP WQS events get underway in August.
Heat: Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 12.33 pts Def. Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 9.80 pts
Heat 1: Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 10.20 pts Def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 8.50 pts
Heat 2: Eduardo Fernandez (PRT) 11.66 pts Def. Ruben Gonzalez (PRT) 10.53 pts
Source: ASP Europe