Willian Cardoso (BRA), 23, won the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic today in Galicia, North West of Spain, after defeating fellow finalist Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), 35, in clean off-shore two to three foot (0.5 to 1 meter) waves in a 100% Brazilian final.
After another week of intense action and close exchanges, Cardoso was crowned twenty-second champion of the Movistar Pantin Classic for the second consecutive time wrapping-up his 2009 European summer lef atop the 120-man field of surfers from around the world, his second win this summer after the ASP WQS 6-Star Azores Islands Pro.
Cardoso, who dominated proceedings again through the final day of competition ousting other favorite Glenn Hall (IRL) in the Semifinals before defeating former ASP Top 45 surfer Dorneles in the final bout of the 2009 edition, stepped-up to deliver an impressive performance.
Renowned for his powerful style and big-wave ss, Cardoso adapted to the fast-breaking smaller waves on offer to clinch a second win in three events moving up to No. 13 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings.
“It’s unbelievable, that win is the best I could have imagined coming here,” Cardoso said. “It’s been a testing last couple of weeks for me, my father passed away and I stayed here because he would have wanted me to do so. This win is for him and I thank the massive support I’ve had from all my friends here and in Brazil. It’s just amazing to be the champion again here.”
Cardoso, who was sitting out of the Top 30 three weeks ago, showed he was to be counted with for next year’s ASP World Tour qualification race, leaving Pantin with 11151 points, a significant step for his ultimate goal. Powerful, fast and smart tactician, the 23-year-old wrapped-up an impressive European leg where his mental strength and determination left his opponent away from the title.
“The waves went from small to consistent, windy to clean, and I was always feeling well this week,” Cardoso said. “I have a special feeling with Pantin and with a second win in a row it’s gone even more solid. I am stoked to claim this one and can’t wait to be home with my family.”
Placing runner-up for his best result this year was Rodrigo Dornelles, the experienced competitor going to No. 20 on the international ratings keeping alive his hopes of re-qualification for the ASP World Tour. Dornelles, an example of endurance and patience for many, was able to best local favorite Zubizarreta in the Semifinals before leaving Cardoso get away with the title.
“It would have been good to win but making the final is already a great result and I am stoked to remain close to the leading pack on the ratings”, Dornelles said. “The waves were hard to get and Willian (Cardoso) was in rhythm during the final. I’ve seen a lot of new surfers come up these years and I believe Willian (Cardoso) is a great surfer whose style will suit the ASP Dream Tour quality waves very well. He’s a great representative for Brazil and a very professional athlete. He deserved to win today.”
Gony Zubizarreta (Vigo, ESP), 24, who was stopped in the Semifinals after a series of twelve consecutive wins since the event in Zarautz, left the water surrounded by massive crowds cheering the Spaniard for his run in the event at Pantin. Lacking a second good wave against Dornelles, Zubizarreta finished with a 14.50 point result to his opponent’s 14.90 score and netted another valuable 1500 ratings’ points that will push him further in the ratings.
“It was a very tricky battle with the conditions making it hard for both us,” Zubizarreta said. “Rodrigo (Dornelles) is super experienced and was smart during the heat. He was more patient than me and got that one big score in the ning. I think I surfed well, got a high seven pointer but I couldn’t get a second one. He deserved to make it and I am still pretty happy with my result.”
Being a true ambassador of the sport and famous here at Pantin, Zubizarreta needed half-an-hour to make it back from the water’s edge to the beach marshall, spectators and media chasing the 24-year-old star along the way.
“It’s pretty crazy but it’s great to have all this support,” Zubizarreta said. “It’s been unbelievable the last couple of weeks for me and I would never have thought it could go that good after the event in the Azores. It also shows how fast things can change ratings’ wise and I am going to keep training for the next events. It all comes down to the end of the year and it’s starting now for me with Brazil, Canada, Lanzarote and Hawaii coming-up. It’s a long way to go but a very exciting time ahead.”
Australian-Irish surfer Glenn Hall (IRL), 26, was not able to reach the final leaving the water with a third equal 3rd finish in five events, a good but frustrating finish for the ASP World Tour contender. Hall, who posted two of the best ten heat results of the event, showed once again how strong and progressive he was throughout the week, the light-weight competitors nicknamed Micro coming short of one good ride in the Semifinals.
“As I’ve said yesterday, it’s good to make the Semis but you never get a shot at the title and this is what I wanted today,” Hall said. “It’s a long way to go before the end of the year and things are close so I will keep working hard. Making the Top 15 at this stage is good, but remaining inside that same Top 15 after the tour finishes is a whole different story.”
Being the ninth of eleven events counting for this year’s ASP European WQS tour, the Movistar Pantin Classic saw Zubizarreta consolidate his second position behind front-runner Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA) who keeps on with a strong hold over the regional ratings before the tour wraps up in Lanzarote.
MOVISTAR PANTIN CLASSIC FINAL
1 - Willian Cardoso (BRA) 16.33 pts
2 - Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 12.34 pts