Diego Medina from Chile (pictured above) started the year in great form, winning the 2007 ALAS Latin and Caribbean Tour first stage, the Reef Classic Latin Pro Argentina that ended yesterday in four to five feet conditions at Miramar Seis Brujas beach.
The consistent swell and the strong south wind continued at the Argentinean coast, forcing competitors to paddle a long distance to get to the outside and avoid the current.
During the entire contest, given the difficult conditions, Medina did what he needed in order to win: a wise wave selection, a good use of and taking the best advantage of the waves he caught. With a clean and radical surfing, he won in a tough final against the Costa Rican Gilberth Brown, who threatened to take first place throughout the heat.
The final started with a fast wave exchange, both competitors surfed the highest scoring waves within the first three minutes. Medina went first, executing two strong backhand off the lips, that were followed with a long roundhouse cutback and a snaps combination that worth 7.00 points. While, Brown did a great combination of off the lips, and cutbacks to score the highest single wave score of the entire contest: an almost perfect 9.00.
Later, Medina got a 3.83 on a short wave to place first for a little period of time. Brown answered back with a 3.43 to get back to the lead. But with ten minutes to go, after executing a strong snap off the top that was followed with lots of cutbacks and off the lips, Diego scored a 5.6 to lead the heat until the end.
Gilberth needed a 3.7 within the last ten minutes, but he wasted his chances, falling off the board on two occasions. The Chilean waited anxiously on the beach, and when the countdown ended, he was relieved and ecstatic.
"I am really happy for this result, last year I went to almost all the contests and didn´t win any of them. I had a great time in Argentina and that´s why I'm really happy to win here. In the heat I was looking forward to getting good waves, the biggest, to get high scoring rides," said Medina. With this result, Medina is the first Chilean to win an ALAS event, and his endeavours were rewarded with $4,000 and a head start in the race for the Latin Title with 6.000 points.
Brown had a great performance throughout the contest, he surfed the highest single wave score - 9.00 - at the final, and also started the year in great shape. "Maybe I was so confident of myself after that nine, I was feeling I could win it, but that never happened," he said. "Diego was lucky to find a back up ride and that gave him the contest, so I congratulate him. I am really happy about being the runner up, but I am not fully satisfied, I came prepared to be the winner. Is a long tour and you never know what could happen at the end."
The semis were also close matches. In the first, Medina got the ticket to the final after facing the tico Luis Vindas, who caught the best wave of the heat - 8.07 - but wasn't able to find a good back up ride. It was a great start to the year for Vindas who is now rated third on the Latin tour. Meanwhile, Brown beat the Brazilian Ernesto Nunes who had defeated local favourite Martín Passeri in his quarter final match.
Venezuela shined again at the Pro Junior division, placing first and second, with Francisco Bellorin printing a clean and radical style on the waves to get the crown and Jesús Chacón following him. Locals Leandro Usuna and Lucas Santamaría placed third and fourth respectively.
Chile also did it great in the ladies division, with the young Sofía Borquez getting the crown. Locals Melody Ortiz, Agostina Pellizari and Verónica Olano followed her in the final.
The Argentinean Surfing Team Member, Martín Pérez was the Longboard Champ, leaving Daniel Gil Jr. in second and Guillermo Pascarelli in third.