TAPIA DE CASARIEGO, Asturias, Spain
Ben Skinner (Newquay, GBR), 30, has won the ASP Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 1-Star Goanna Pro Tapia today after defeating fellow British surfer Adam Griffiths (Newquay, GBR), 23, in a hard-fought final, taking home the valuable ranking points and US$2000 winner’s prize. Skinner, who was able to make the best out of the good clean conditions on offer throughout the final day, was unstoppable en route to victory despite a series of solid exchanges with Griffiths.
Skinner, using both experience and great variety of technique to tame the incoming-tide bigger sets, led the battle all the way through to the end, using stylish nose-rides and fast forehand re-entries to secure points. With an accurate wave selection throughout the 40-minute final and pleasing the Easter weekend crowds, the experienced athlete was able to stay ahead and win the ASP sanctioned 1-Star Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) event for the second time in three years.
“I am so stoked right now and it’s pretty emotional,” Skinner said. “I wanted that win so bad, I wanted to do it for my dad, my new sponsor, my wife and kids and it’s just so good to take the win. I really overwhelmed wiith emotions right now and this win means a lot to me.”
With solid experience and using the priority tactics smartly, Skinner was able to capitalize on his opening good rides to patiently wait for the better walling-up waves and sections, using a maximum of speed to throw his nine-foot board off the top and show impressive commitment to the ASP judging panel.
“I started the final falling on my first wave and had to come all the way in to get my board so it didn’t begin well,” Skinner added. “The waves were good but it wasn’t easy to pick the opening ones and I am super stoked I managed to stick to my game and have a grip on the win all the way. Having a final with Adam was also a great thing, we are friends and he is definitely the young guy rising and I am sure we’ll qualify together for the ASP World Longboard Tour. A great thanks to all the support in recognizing our division and I can’t wait to compete at home for the European title and elite qualification.”
Finishing runner-up after the two-day event rally, Griffiths did not let go until the final hooter, paddling back out to the line-up to try and secure a second solid wave. Walking on his board from tail to nose and showing classical drop-knee frontside cutbacks, the other Fistral beach resident lacked some vertical sections to express the full repertoire of longboard surfing.
“I am super happy to have made my first final ever in an ASP event today and to have it against a friend makes it even better,” Griffiths said. “I was disappointed with my surfing in the final as I couldn’t find the good waves and just felt out of rhythm for this final heat. However, it’s a great finish for Ben and I and definitely brings great confidence before the second event.”
Leaving Tapia No. 2 on the ASP European Longboard Series and already eyeing the second and final event which will take place next August at his home beach, Griffiths was satisfied with his run in the Goanna Pro Longboard Tapia event, his runner-up finish to be counted in his career best results on the ASP tour. Considered one of Europe’s best longboard rising surfers, Griffiths will be much expected when he takes to the water in the final event in front of his home crowds.
“My goal is to get on the ASP World Longboard Tour events and this runner-up finish is just a super boost towards achieving it,” Griffiths added. “It’s been a great event for all of us, someone has to lose in the end and I wish next time the tables will turn.”
Placing equal 3rd in the event were French athletes Alexis Deniel and Remi Arauzo, both failing to advance through to the final despite some solid surfing. Both used to Semifinals and top finishes, Deniel and Arauzo came short of a second good ride in their respective battles letting the British contingent surf through to the final.
Having opened their runs on Day 1 with excellent levels including progressive flying maneuvers from Arauzo who landed the only Superman of the event in the Quarterfinals, the French team was not able to counter the Newquay residents’ assaults not failing in their wave pick and fast vertical forehand attacks.
“It was a good event and I felt good on the first day but failed in the Semifinals,” Arauzo said. “I felt I could have got higher scores as I wasn’t surfing too bad but things went Ben’s way and he deserved to make it to the final again.”
The ASP European Longboard Series will be back on from August 8 to 14, 2011, with the Relentless Longboard Masters taking place in Fistral Beach, Newquay in England.
All results, photos and news releases at www.aspeurope.com