For the second year in a row the final of the Hang Loose Pro Contest took place at Cacimba do Padre Beach in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil without the barrels. This time Spanish Aritz Aranburu, 21 won the title of the first WQS prime event of the year.
With the win the Spanish surfer earned $12,000 and 2.500 points to take the first place in the WQS rating. Brazilian Leandro Bastos, also 21 years old finished the event in 2nd earning $6,000 and 2188 points to jump from the 97th to 12th position in the WQS ranking.
Aritz Aranburu overcame the inconsistent conditions with waves in the 2-3 foot range, to defeat Dylan Graves from Puerto Rico in the quarter-finals by only 10,07 x 8,17. In the semis he beat defending champion Jean da Silva (BRA) in a very tight heat (12,77 x 12,00). However in the final against Leandro Bastos (BRA), Aritz started the heat going for as many waves as he could, and it worked, he beat the Brazilian by 13,67 to 11,50.
“I can’t even express what I’m feeling right now, I’m really happy for winning this event, and I hope to come back next year to defend my title,” said Aranburu. “I wanted to have a good start in the final heat, I got really lucky when I found good waves without the priority. I really like this kind of condition, and I knew I could do well here. This is the third time I come here, and I’m always welcomed by the locals.”
“This is the best result of my career, to win at a 5 stars prime event, I couldn’t be happier. I’m actually very ambitious, no matter where I’m competing, I always believe I can win. At any sport if you don’t believe you can win, you’ll never win,” said Aranburu, who competed in 8 heats throughout the event, winning 7 of them. In round 4 he finished 2nd in the heat when Neco Padaratz (BRA) finished 1st.
Both finalists started the event in round 2, however Leandro Bastos (BRA) had an easier run towards the final. The surfer from Rio de Janeiro also established the highest score of the event with a 9,63, and kept advancing in 2nd place until the man-to-man heats. In round 6 he beat one of the favorites to win the event, South African Greg Emslie. In the quarter-finals Leandro defeated the Hang Loose Pro Contest 2004 winner, Warwick Wright (ZAF). In the semis he sent home another surfer from Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Trekinho.
“It was a great result, I’m really stoked. Aritz surfed really well and deserved to win. We had good waves every day here, however in the final day conditions weren’t as good. Surfing is like that, we depend on nature,” said Leandro. “I’m very happy with the 2nd place, I got some good points to go to Australia more confident.”
Even though Jean da Silva wasn’t able to defend his title at the Hang Loose Pro Contest 2007, he was happy about his result. Jean started the year really well, making 3 finals in contests in Brazil, winning two of them and finishing 3rd in one. Last week he finished 9th in Florianopolis, at a 6 stars event. In this event he finished 3rd to take the 7th place at the WQS rating.
“You can’t always win, what matters is that it’s another great result, and hopefully it’ll make a difference in the end,” said da Silva. “I got a 9th place last week, this time I finished 3rd, now I have to keep on surfing well in order to qualify for the WCT. I had one good score, but unfortunately I couldn’t back it up. Here conditions are always unpredictable, I’m still happy though,” admitted Jean who made a great heat against current Brazilian champion Jihad Kohdr in the quarter-finals.
- 1 Aritz Aranburu (Esp)
- 2 Leandro Bastos (Bra)
- 3 Jean da Silva (Bra)
- 3 Marcelo Trekinho (Bra)
- 5 Jihad Khodr (Bra)
- 5 Dylan Graves (PRC)
- 5 Drew Courtney (Aus)
- 5 Warwick Wright (Afr)
- 9 Fábio Gouveia (Bra)
- 9 Greg Emslie (Afr)
- 9 Mike Todd (EUA)
- 9 Ben Bourgeois (EUA)
- 9 Patrick Beven (Fra)
- 9 Nathaniel Curran (EUA)
- 9 Danilo Costa (Bra)
- 9 Chris Davidson (Aus)