Miguel Pupo (BRA), 19, has won the ASP PRIME Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro over local standout Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 22, at Lower Trestles at San Clemente’s San Onofre State Beach in a close final of 13.63 to 13.57. Also clinching a victory today was Hawaiian Keanu Asing (Ewa Beach, HI), 17, who won the ASP 5-Star Oakley Pro Junior.
Pupo will gain the valuable 6500 points towards his ASP World Ranking while Gudauskas’ runner-up finish earns him 5200 points, each helping their campaigns towards qualification for the elite ASP World Tour. The Oakley Pro Junior’s ASP 5-Star status offered the most points on offer towards surfers’ campaigns towards qualification for the prestigious ASP World Junior Tour.
Pupo, who was trailing Gudauskas throughout the first half of the Final, got the best of a crucial exchange by taking the heat’s highest single-wave score of an 8.33 for a steep left that offered several turns which the progressive Brazilian completed with an air-reverse on the inside. Pupo found a back up score of a 5.30 on his last wave to secure the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro victory.
“I’m just so happy to win this event and I’m sorry that I took out the town’s local guy,” Pupo said. “I knew there was going to be a Brazilian in the Final. I was just trying to be that Brazilian and I can’t believe I won. I’m just so happy. I brought my father here and it’s the first time he’s gone to a contest with me and things just went my way.”
The talented Brazilian, who was sitting in 42 on the men’s ASP World Ranking, will catapult up the standings with the win and substantially increase his chances of achieving his dream of qualifying for the elite ASP World Tour.
“I was thinking just about the points when I first got here, and this is great to win this event going into the next PRIME in Brazil,” Pupo said. “It’s my dream to make the World Tour and these points will help.”
Gudauskas, who was in need of a 6.50 to overtake Pupo for the victory, caught a last-minute wave in the Final on a lefthander and earned a 6.07 to nearly overtake Pupo for the win in front of his hometown crowd.
“Miguel ripped and it makes it exciting when it’s a close Final,” Gudauskas said. “Congratulations to him, it’s been a fun week.”
Gudauskas, who had just returned to the water after six weeks due to an ankle injury, entered the event with no expectations and surprised by the result.
“This week has just been classic,” Gudauskas said. “It has been a blur. I am just coming off of an ankle injury and wasn’t expecting anything and I just started making heats and then I was in the final.”
Keanu Asing struggled to find a rhythm in the action packed Oakley Pro Junior Final against defending ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone (AUS), 19, current ASP North America Pro Junior Series leader Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA), 17, and 2009 ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 19, but locked into a left just before the buzzer, linking a series of critical backside turns for an 8-point ride which proved enough to take out the Oakley Pro Junior victory.
“I don’t really know, I was so down in that Final and was just trying to put on a good performance because there are a lot of people on the beach,” Asing said. “I got that one set and got an 8. I needed a 4 and was hoping I would get a wave and as I was paddling I asked Nat (Young) which wave he was going to go and he said he wasn’t going. I’m just glad I got that little wave at a clutch time in the heat, Mother Nature and God gave that one to me.”
Asing, who now sits at No. 2 on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series rankings, was quick to admit that the prestigious Oakley Pro Junior marked a pinnacle moment in his budding career.
“This is huge, to win this big event, it’s a 5-Star, it’s one of the biggest wins of my career for sure,” Asing said. “I’m at a loss for words right now, I’m just so excited and so happy.”
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