Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 25, won the 5-Star Rip Curl Pro Zarautz today, claiming valuable 2000 ratings' points after defeating Joan Duru (Hossegor, FRA), 19, in clean two to three foot waves in an unprecedent 100% French final. Boal goes from No. 5 to No. 3 on the ASP WQS international ratings and will enjoy a well-deserved break.
Boal, who dominated the final day with great tactics and comitted surfing posting an excellent 16.34 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) to win, left no time to take a commanding lead in the last battle of the event, and left Duru in need of a combination of waves to catch up as ten minutes were remaining.
"I am so stoked to finally get a big win," Boal said. "I was able to get the waves and surf them well and it is great to getting the feeling right. That win is the icing on the cake. I made the final in California at the US Open of Surfing but failed to win it and it was a big frustration for me. I fell on lots of waves there and I just wanted to make a good final here to put that loss in California behind me."
Boal, who reached the Man-on-man finals of every event this summer including a 5th place in the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime Rip Curl Pro Hossegor/Seignosse, sealed his European leg with a win giving him an overall ratings' total of 11888 points which virtually secures his spot for next year's ASP Top 45, the elite contingent competing on the ASP World Tour.
"It is a long road to the end but this summer leg has been good to me and I hope it stays like that," Boal said. "The Basque Country is my favorite place in the world and I want to thank everyone for being here, my father and friends. So stoked."
At ninteen years of age, Duru confirmed his status of most promissing French surfer of the moment by getting a runner-up finish in the event, his best result to date. Duru, a former ASP European Junior champion, did not surf the better waves during the final clash and was disappointed leaving the water.
"I am happy with that finish but there was not enough waves during the final and I did not surf my best," Duru said. "To get a second in a 5-Star event is great and it is another step on the WQS."
Duru, who has had a consistent first year on the WQS with several big results inlcuding a 5th in the US Open of Surfing and a 9th in the Rip Curl Pro Hossegor/Seignosse, secured 1750 points and remains a favorite within the rising European contingent.
"I am having a good time and a few results so far so I am definitely focused on qualifying," Duru said. "The few big results I got gave me confidence and I defeated some of the best surfers so I hope I am on the right path."
Curent ASP World Tour member and defending champion Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK) failed to reach a second consecutive final at his home break despite the massive support from the Basque crowd. Aranburu, who suffered a serious knee injury at the beginning of the year that kept him away from competition for three months, still showed he was back in a promissing form and will surf in the next ASP World Tour event in France confidently.
"I was not supposed to be here so I am stoked to make it to the semis at home," Aranburu said. "I was really hoping for a second consecutive title but I will take that 3rd, which is pretty good in a 5-Star event. I am stoked for Tim (Boal), Joan (Duru) and Michel (Bourez), we all had a good time and to all make the semis is great."
Aranburu, who clinches his best result of the year, left the water cheered by all Basque fans and is looking forward to seeing his home event grow.
"The event has been growing fast and well and we have had good waves," Aranburu said. "It pleases me a lot to see that Zarautz can become an important stop on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS). I am stoked with the week and I feel very well. My injury is definitely behind now."
For the first time ever in a major ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, four Europeans met in the Semifinals, making history with two solid battles that saw Boal and Duru take the best out of the clean conditions.
Michel Bourez (Tahiti, PYF), 22, placed 3rd in the Rip Curl Pro Zarautz losing to Boal in a high performance battle. Bourez, who secured a second excellent result after his runner-up finish in Pantin, came up with the same powerful and progressive surfing he showed all week but was disappointed with his tactics.
"I was not patient enough and I thought the set waves would not make any difference," Bourez said. "I got lots of waves but Tim (Boal) chose the better ones. I knew it could turn this way if I had to surf against him because he has been smart in all his heats today. I should have been more relaxed."
Bourez seals the European leg with excellent results and will is back on track for a possible 2009 ASP World Tour qualification. The Tahitian charger will be a serious contender in the upcoming reefbreaks in Lanzarote in October.
"To get two big results in a row is what I needed to keep any qualification hope alive," Bourez said. "I would have prefered to win this one but it is a great confidence boost and the upcoming locations in Lanzarote and Hawaii usually suit my surfing well."
Bourez will attend the next ASP World Tour event taking place in France as a wildcard, an event where he defeated 8X ASP World Champion and ratings' leader Kelly Slater (USA) a year ago.
Quarterfinalists had delivered the first pulses of action earlier in the day and Glenn Hall (IRE) and Luke Dorrington (AUS) came close to advancing but had to accept an equal 5th before leaving Europe for a 3-week break. Hall, who jumps to second on the ASP WQS European Series ratings', keeps rising for his first year competing under the Irish flag.
The ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) competitors will be back to business in October with another leg of major events both Europe and Brazil to try and secure precious points before the Hawaiian showdown.