Ben Skinner and Candice O'Donell 

The first and crucial event of the ASP European Longboard Tour came to an end today, British surfers Ben Skinner (GBR) and Candice O’Donnell (GBR) dominating the LQS 1-Star Goanna Pro Tapia in consistent wind-blown five foot waves. Both event winners and runner-ups have secured their Oxbow World Longboard Tour (WLT) tickets and will represent Europe on the elite longboard tour along with Europe’s leaders Antoine Delpero (FRA) and Romain Maurin (FRA).

Ben Skinner (GBR), longtime top European longboarder, defeated inform Frenchman Alexis Deniel (FRA) in the final confirming his standout status through the event posting both highest wave score and heat result in the 30-minute decider. The British surfer finished the 2009 edition with an unstoppable 18.37 point tally (out of a possible 20). Skinner, who decided to make the trip to Tapia less than a week before the event started, leaves Northern Spain with the precious ticket for the Oxbow WLT, his main goal in the Goanna Pro Tapia.

"It is just perfect to end up the event with a win," Skinner said. "I came here with a big result in mind and to win and get that qualification for the WLT is what I wanted most. I was feeling great with that new board and surfed as good as I could every day. I am going to celebrate that great event."

Deniel, who secured his best result to date by placing runner-up to Skinner, showed how his hard work and training had paid off defeating fellow French favourite Damien Castera (FRA) on the way to the final, and secures as well a berth into the elite longboarding events this year. Deniel, who has been rising on the international stage since 2007, confirmed he had the talent and ss to reach the heights of the regional hierarchy and will be a serious asset for the European contingent aside the big names when the ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT) gets underway.

"I would have preferred to win the final but it’s already great to make it that far," Deniel said. "I came with one thing in mind, reach the final, and I made it so I am pretty happy. It’s been a great event, there was a very pleasant atmosphere and we are all good friends so I am stoked to have made the trip."

Remi Arauzo (FRA) and Damien Castera (FRA) both placed equal 3rd in the Goanna Pro Tapia, missing out the final despite showing exceptional surfing throughout the 3-dat event. Arauzo, who opened his run on Day 1 with the biggest heat score, was not able to counter Skinner’s final day assaults and will not take part in this year’s WLT events. Arauzo still showed again he was definitely ready to rise and the youngest favourite in the event should soon reach his ASP WLT top 32 goal.

The women’s division saw other British Candice O’Donnell (GBR) take the best over Netherlands’ Renate Moerman (NDL), both competitors getting their qualification into the Roxy Women’s World Longboard Championships (WWLC). O’Donnell, who was surfing for the first time in a couple of years in an ASP sanctioned event, went through the trials’ heat then bested favourite Estitxu Estremo (EUK) before making the most out of the conditions during the final.

"I am so happy to get the title after coming all the way down from Great Britain," O’Donnell said. "We had waves everyday and it was great fun to surf in the event. I had a great time and it’s a shame there wasn’t more competitors but I am definitely satisfied with that result."

Renate Moerman (NDL) was not able to counter O’Donnell’s domination in the final, the experienced surfer and former ASP WQS European Women’s Top 25 member still placing second and securing her Roxy WWLC ticket.

"Stoked to make the final but very disappointed with that last heat because I was not able to show my proper surfing," Moerman said. "I am happy I made the trip, I could have done better but it is a good result and I’ll take it for sure."

MEN’S GOANNA PRO TAPIA RESULTS

Final
1 - Ben Skinner (GBR) 18.37
2 - Alexis Deniel (FRA) 13.27

Semifinals
SF 1: Ben Skinner (GBR) 17.17 pts Def. Remi Arauzo (FRA) 14.17 pts
SF 2: Alexis Deniel (FRA) 16.00 pts Def. Damien Castera (FRA) 12.60 pts

WOMEN’S GOANNA PRO TAPIA RESULTS

Final
1 - Candice O’Donell (GBR) 10.83
2 - Renate Moerman (NDL) 5.07

Semifinals
SF 1: Candice O’Donnell (GBR) 7.00 pts Def. Estitxu Estremo (EUK) 5.50 pts
SF 2: Renate Moerman (NDL) 12.17 pts Def. Myriam Imaz (EUK) 7.00 pts


SOURCE: ASP World Tour