Taking on world title contender Joel Parkinson (Australia) was all the incentive Southern California’s Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente) needed to take his surfing to the next level at the Reef Hawaiian Pro today – the first leg of the $1,000,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Tanner needs to reach the quarter finals of the Reef Hawaiian Pro tomorrow to keep his dream of qualifying for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour alive. He advanced to the round prior to the quarter finals today, a close second behind Parkinson in the highest scoring heat of the event to date. Wave face heights topped out at 15 feet today and are expected to hang stay around for the final day of competition tomorrow.
Parkinson and Gudauskas ran away with their heat, each finding high-scoring barrel rides and hard-carving turns to eliminate North Shore local Pancho Sullivan and Brazil’s Marcio Farney. The final scoreline: Parkinson – 16.54 out of 20 Gudauskas – 15.43 Sullivan – 13.26 Farney – 5.6. Gudauskas could have won almost every other heat today with that score. Parkinson logged the highest wave score of the contest for a double-barrel ride: 9.87 out of 10.
Currently ranked 17th on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings, Tanner needs to finish the season in the top 15 to be guaranteed a place on the elite Dream Tour. His qualification dream was given an added push today when several surfers ranked ahead of him lost, allowing him to make some ground.
“I just kind of figured I would need a hell of a lot to make that heat,” said Tanner. “I was psyching myself out because these guys have no flaws. Pancho (Sullivan) is pretty much a Triple Crown hero and Parko is a world champ contender. I just figured I would have to try as hard as I could and it was epic because there was tons of waves in the ning of the heat, and there was no weird stuff.
“I would be stoked to get a really good result here. I’m taking it heat by heat, just having fun. I don’t have anything to lose. I don’t have the points and I have to go out there and get ’um. I’m having a great time.”
Parkinson looked relaxed and focused today, reveling in the rising surf and the fact that he’s back in the islands: “I haven’t paddled out in awhile, and I realized I was back in Hawai’i and back in the Triple Crown. I got really excited to be back. I love the Triple Crown to death and I would hate to miss it. I’m so glad I’m here.”
Eliminations today included US Open champion Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), former Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champion Bede Durbidge (Australia), Dusty Payne (Hawaii), Clay Marzo (Hawaii), and Tanner’s older brother, Pat, who is still on track to qualify for the Dream Tour.
The final day of the Reef Hawaiian Pro will take place tomorrow at Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii, getting underway at 8am. The winner will be crowned around 2:30pm. Catch it all live online.
Find out the call for the day, each day, as soon as it’s made by Director Randy Rarick by signing up for mobile text alerts at triplecrownofsurfing.com. For the latest surf updates, stay tuned to Surfline.com, the official surf foreer of the Vans Triple Crown Triple Threat. All the action will be broad live on the web at triplecrownofsurfing.com, as well as on Hawaii television on Oceanic channel 250.
For video highlights see below: