Zarautz’s Aritz Aranburu is one of the good guys. I caught up with him this morn at the Quik Europe house at Ehukai nursing a wounded ankle for a season’s end pow-wow.

Tell us about your year Aritz. You’re currently ranked 37th, with one event (Sunset) to go…

It’s been a real long year. I’ve surfed a lot of comps, trying to figure out the new system, I’ve just been focusing on the Primes and the 6 stars, and it’s been pretty good really. I had a couple of results in the 6 stars – two wins and a second, and some OK results in the Primes but nothing exceptional. If I had a regret looking back at 2010 it would be that I had a disappointing run through Europe, I didn’t do much in the home Euro leg events.

How do you deal with peaks and troughs. Down to form or down to luck?Well this year I guess I lacked consistency compared to the year I qualified, if I had a school report card it would say, ‘Could do better.’ But the thing is, you do like 20 something events and only 8 count, so you don’t even really need to be that consistent. It’s not like the CT where consistency is vital. I mean you can do crap in loads of events, or even not show up, and as long as you go big in 8, you’re in. Like Josh Kerr for example. But anyway, I’m happy coming in to Hawaii with a chance of qualifying. That’s OK.

What’s your take on the new system?

My take is that it’s fucked up. It’s a step back for a QS surfer to the days when we first started out and needed to make like 6 rounds in every event, it feels similar. It feels like its much more in favour of the CT surfers and much less in favour of us. I don’t agree with cutting 45 down to 32, it cuts job opportunities. Even if I was in the Top 5 on the CT I would feel the same, I would never be for cutting job opportunities. I mean sure, having 32 guys the standard is higher, but I would still have more opportunity and more X-factor of a bigger field. I think the QS guys aren’t really represented in ASP meetings, we need more voice. As it stands now nobody really knows what’s going on, not even the ASP. We wont know who’s qualified even after Sunset, it’ll be after Pipe before the final ratings are done. I guess if I were to get a good result at Sunset it would be agonizing watching the Pipemasters seeing others decide my fate.

Tape on AA’s ankle from a backwash at Backdoor. ‘If the comp were this afternoon, I don’t know if I’d be able to surf,’ he admitted.

It seems like there are less Europeans in Hawaii this year…

I think this year in general a few guys are taking a back seat because nobody knows how the new format will work out. It’s weird not having clear goals or targets, so some guys kind of sat back. I mean to get in you have to go really really big in results, like Heitor Alves. He has to get in, there’s no way they can not let him in after the year he’s had.

You’re one Euro who loves Hawaii. Why’s that?

It’s my 11th year coming here, and I love it every year. What’s not to love? Quiksilver rents us a sick house right on the beach, you get to surf every day and hang out with the guys. Leo (Fioravanti, who is running through the yard for a shred) is doing the dishes, which is great. Last year it was Maxime, but now Leo’s the grom. It’s a lot of fun here. It’s crowded, but it’s OK. If you wanna make a name for yourself as a pro, you have to come here and blow up at the main spots, so there’s no getting away from the crowds really.

What’s happening back in Euskadi? Are you missing it?

Well it’s freezing cold and flat right now, so no. I mean I’m missing my chick and all my buddies, but not really missing being there. I’d much sooner be here, just with all my bunch here with me.


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