He didn’t make it past the first round on the previous two stops of the World Tour, then he went and knocked out a load of the top boys in Tahiti. Check out the latest on Euro boy Aritz Aranburu. Always one step ahead, we’ve got a biog of the man himself in our FEATURES SECTION too.
CAPBRETON, France (Wednesday, May 20, 2009) – Aritz Aranburu (Zarauz, EUK), 23, flew the Basque flag up to the Semifinals of the Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupoo last night, the young man making his way through to the Semifinals of the prestigious event after an exceptional run that saw him best 2008 ASP Rookie of the Year Dane Reynolds (California, USA), 23, nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Florida, USA), 37, former event champion Damien Hobgood (Florida, USA), 29, and experienced ASP Dream Tour competitor Tom Whitaker (New South Wales, AUS), 29.
“I’ve had a tough draw throughout the event, but that’s what has kept me motivated,” Aranburu said. “Coming up against the best guys out there, you need to lift your ability. Beating Kelly (Slater) for me is one of the biggest achievements I’ve ever had. I’ve been looking up to him for so long, and just being on tour with him is an honor. To beat him is a major achievement for me.”
Aritz vs. Slater
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Aranburu, whose equal 3rd place finish at the barrelling world famous lefthander of Teahupoo marks his career’s best result, found his rhythm in the Tahitian warm waters defeating some of the world’s best surfers en route to the Semifinals where he was stopped by Bobby Martinez (California, USA), 26, who was to win the 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti over Taj Burrow (Western Australia, AUS), 30, in the final heat of the event.
“Bobby (Martinez) is one of the best out there,” Aranburu said. “I had one good one, but he got two good ones, and that was it. It’s my best result ever and I am stoked.”
For his second year only amongst the ASP Top 45 elite contingent, Aranburu eventually reached his goal by making the final-four of an ASP World Tour event, the Basque surfer coming from a brilliant Pro Junior and World Qualifying Series (WQS) career. After a rookie season in 2008 where he suffered several knee and ankle injuries and an equal 9th place finish in the Billabong Pipeline Masters in the final event of the year, Aranburu was awarded a wildcard by his peers to get a second chance after failing to requalify for the ASP World Tour. His Semifinal berth last night puts Aranburu back on track, his result rocketing him to No. 19 on the ASP ratings.
“I have lots of confidence going into the next events,” Aranburu said. “I just want to go home and train and try new boards for Brazil and J-Bay. The biggest thing for me is to know that if I can do it once, I can do it twice.”
Aranburu is the fourth European surfer ever to make the Semifinals of an ASP World Tour event after Jeremy Flores (Capbreton/New Caledonia, FRA), 21, Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT), 27 and Miky Picon (Capbreton, FRA), 30, respectively made their way to the same stage on the Gold Coast, at Trestles, in Bali and in Brazil in the last couple of years. Aranburu’s performance is also another step in the rise of European surfing as one of the world’s best surfing nations, an improvement that has seen the number of representatives grow from one in 2007 to seven in 2009.