Tanner Gudauskas carried up the beach by brother Patrick and Ian Crane.
Youngest of the Gudang bros, Tanner, has won the ASP 5-Star Soöruz Lacanau Pro, beating 16-year-old Italian tour hopeful Leonardo Fioravanti in fading 2-3ft swell. An exciting final saw the two go head-to-head but eventually it was Gudauskas who solidified his lead, the Californian taking home an impressive $20,000 cheque and 2,000 ranking points.
Gudauskas dominated the final from start to finish, capitalizing on his powerful backside approach to win the event. The goofy-footer with a better positioning managed to surf the best waves and ripped apart the little rides on offer.
“It was fun, you know every heat I was like – ok cool I made it!” said an ecstatic Gudauskas. “I wasn’t looking too far ahead and the guys were ripping, Charly, Vincent and Leo were really in form all event. Just to win an event feels so good I haven’t done that in a long time! The waves today were sort of like what we’re used to surf at home, but still I feel a little lucky today.”
With a recent semi-final finish at the Los Cabos Open of Surf, Gudauskas adds another strong result to his season tally and builds confidence towards the back-half of the year.
“I’m off to Virginia beach now but will be back in Europe for the Azores,” he added. “I’m traveling with my brother Patrick and Masatoshi (Ohno) and the three of us are just trying to get fired up to qualify this year. I love Europe, it’s insane, I just love coming over here and hanging out, the vibe is so punk-rock. I’ll be back for sure!”
Reigning European Junior Champ Leonardo Fioravanti, who placed runner-up to Gudauskas, proved he has the technical skill and competitive fire to take his act to the next level. Although the fast, high-flying Italian had trouble finding the right waves in the final, he still collected his biggest result of his young career.
“It’s been an amazing week, I wasn’t expecting to make it this far,” Fioravanti said. “Final day I was still making heats and coming into the final I felt like, this is it, I can actually do this! Of course I’m a little bummed I didn’t win, but second isn’t too bad!”
Meanwhile defending event champion Charly Martin still managed to put in a very respectable performance by placing equal third.
“I made a few heats and was consistent all event, I have good boards and felt great here again,” Martin reflected. “It’s a little bit frustrating because today we didn’t have the waves to really display what we can do and it really came down to a little bit of luck. But congrats to Tanner, he got a better wave and did the job.”
Currently the highest French surfer on the QS ranks (at no.8), the young surfer from Guadeloupe finds himself in a great position to qualify for the 2015 Dream Tour at this point.
SOÖRUZ LACANAU PRO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.17
2 – Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.33
SOÖRUZ LACANAU PRO SEMI-FINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.53 def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.40
SF 2: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.20 def. Charly Martin (GLP) 9.50
SOÖRUZ LACANAU PRO QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.53 def. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.50
QF 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.33 def. Marlon Lipke (PRT) 9.94
QF 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.54 def. Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 11.57
QF 4: Charly Martin (GLP) 14.96 def. Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 13.66
SOÖRUZ LACANAU PRO RD OF 16 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 15.10, Marlon Lipke (PRT) 14.20, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 12.07, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 11.64
Heat 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.34, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.83, Imanol Yeregi (EUK) 7.13, Heremoana Luciani (PYF) 6.43
Heat 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.60, Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 14.04, Steven Pierson (PYF) 13.33, Matheus Navarro (BRA) 7.37
Heat 4: Charly Martin (GLP) 13.90, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 12.97, Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.96, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 8.86