- 11 September 2009 | Surfing
It was a short nonetheless intense day of action with the Quarterfinals of the ASP WQS 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic taking place in good quality three to four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves.
The number of title contenders went from eight to four today, the best men of the day securing their berth into the Semifinals of the 22nd edition which will run tomorrow afternoon before the champion is crowned in front expected massive crowds.
After setting pace with a clear advantage throughout Day 3 of competition Thursday, defending champion Willian Cardoso (BRA) was once again unstoppable posting the day’s best result to send solid surfer Dion Atkinson (New South Wales, AUS) packing. Finding a couple of clean right-handers to express his vertical forehand style, Cardoso metted a couple of high eight pointers to post the event’s best score, 17.10 points (out of a possible 20).
“I paddled out there with a game plan as yesterday, thinking the lefts would be more consistent and offer more wall,” Cardoso said. “Once out there, things changed fast and I was pretty stoked to get those two rides almost consecutively and get to relax early in the heat. It seems like things keep going well for me and to be in the Semifinals a second time in two years is really great.”
Cardoso, ranked No. 18 before his Movistar Pantin Classic run, is already guaranteed to better his overall ratings’ points total with his Semifinal run but will be a favorite towards a possible second consecutive title at Pantin when he paddles out in Semifinal No. 2 against consistent surfer Glenn Hall (IRL).
“I almost went home last week as I had family problems but I know my family would have wanted to stay and do what I am here for,” Cardoso said. “I hope the waves remain similar for tomorrow’s finals and I will just focus on the good time I am having here, hopefully can win the thing.”
Readying to battle against the defending champion tomorrow, Glenn Hall (IRL) confirmed he was in his best year ever on tour by making the Semifinals of the event after besting favorite and best rated surfer in the Quarterfinals Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA). Hall, an Australian-Irish competitor well known on tour for his exceptional backhand attack and stoked attitude, was in contest mode today going for a maximum of risks and commitment to come back from Duru’s early lead and grab an impressive 8.33 point reward in the last minutes of their battle.
“It started slow for me but I felt like it could happen anytime and I tried and show the judges I could go big,” Hall said. “I usually don’t do any airs or tricks when in competition but I just realized it could definitely make a difference and I went for it. I am super happy to make the Semis again.”
Hall, who made the Semifinals in the other two ASP WQS 5-Star events this summer at Newquay and Zarautz, ended up his Quarterfinal performance with 16.00 points (out of a possible 20), the third best heat score of the event to show his peers he was in form to eventually make a final tomorrow.
“It’s good to get those thirds because it is a good result but I am here to make the final tomorrow,” Hall said. “It looks like the waves will be good so I will try and do my best, play my game and see how it ends up against Willian (Cardoso).”
Keeping his good roll going today was local hero and current ASP WQS No. 19 Gonzalo Zubizarreta (Vigo, ESP), 24, the event winner at Zarautz guaranteeing himself another significant result with a minimum 200 points increase if he loses in Semifinal No. 1 against Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA). Zubizarreta, who was rocketed from No. 29 to 19 after claiming the ASP WQS 5-Star event at Zarautz, will be supported by thousands of people when he paddles out tomorrow to kick-off the final day of competition.
“I’ve been on tour for sometime already and I know there is a lot to do with the media when Pantin is on,” Zubizarreta said. “It’s been pretty crazy this week but I am just so happy because it means that things are going well for me. To make the Semis is just great after winning at Zarautz and I am enjoying my time a lot doing well these days. The support of Sylvain (Frei) is huge and I hope tomorrow gives us good conditions.”
Advancing along the three men was veteran and former ASP World Tour surfer Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), the 35-year-old experienced competitor causing the upset of the day eliminating Luke Munro (Gold Coast, AUS). A call will be made at 4 PM tomorrow afternoon before the finals kick-off.
MOVISTAR PANTIN CLASSIC SEMIFINALS
Heat 1: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) Vs Gony Zubizarreta (ESP)
Heat 2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) Vs Glenn Hall (IRL)
MOVISTAR PANTIN CLASSIC UPCOMING QUARTERFINALS
Heat 1: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 15.06 pts Def. Luke Munro (AUS) 8.10 pts
Heat 2: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 12.50 pts Def. Shaun Gossmann (AUS) 11.90 pts
Heat 3: William Cardoso (BRA) 17.10 pts Def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.10 pts
Heat 4: Glenn Hall (IRL) 16.00 pts Def. Joan Duru (FRA) 14.10 pts