Andino Wins in Cascais, Ibelli to Join Elite in France

Allianz Highlights: Finals Day
Kolohe Andino dominated the final day of the men's QS10,000 Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais to take command of the Qualifying Series.

Kolohe Andino (USA) has won the Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais over Caio Ibelli (BRA) in 4-to-5-foot surf at the backup venue of Praia do Guincho. With his runner-up finish, Ibelli becomes the highest-ranked QS surfer not already in the Championship Tour's Quiksilver Pro France draw and will be offered a wildcard to replace Jordy Smith (ZAF) who's withdrawn due to injury.

Ranked No.4 on the Qualification Series (QS) before this event, Andino takes another firm step towards requalification for the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour with excellent results all-year culminating with his win.

Andino came out firing in the Final with a solid display of power surfing on his backhand for a 7.67. A quick exchange on successive righthanders gave both surfers limited opportunities, but Ibelli waited until the 15-minute mark to launch his campaign, riding a similar lefthander to Andino's opening ride to collect a 7.10. Both surfers continued to surf the clean lefthanders back-to-back, without changing the situation as they were only able to post medium scores.

On the five-minute mark, Andino found a bigger, cleaner set wave and performed two beautiful turns including a huge vertical blast against the closing section for an impressive 8.90 and eventually the win.

Kolohe Andino (USA) . Cascais 2015 Andino goes vertical to win the Final. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"The tide dropped a lot and it was really hard to find the right waves, but I was patient and got that eight," Andino stated. "I'm so exhausted. The paddle-outs were ridiculous. Now I'm on [the Championship] Tour pretty much guaranteed so hopefully I can surf the two events coming up freely."

Andino's Semifinal Heroics
Kolohe Andino (USA) goes for broke into the sideshore wind and lands a critical frontside rotation for a 9.80 in semifinal No.1 of the Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais.

A former World Junior Champion, Ibelli climbs even further up the QS ranks, in a good position for a maiden qualification for the Top 34 in 2016. With a ton of confidence from this result, the young Brazilian will head to France to take part in next week's Quiksilver Pro France as a wildcard before going home to attack the next QS 10,000 in Sao Paulo.

Caio Ibelli (BRA), Cascais 2015 Ibelli attacked the lefts at Guincho - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"Eight thousand points is a lot and I'm stoked to make my first Final in a QS 10,000," Ibelli said. "Making the CT is my biggest dream and when I do receive confirmation I'll probably cry a little. This is everything I've ever wanted."

In the Semifinals, talented Californian Patrick Gudauskas battled hard against Andino and posted an excellent 9.07 for three backside hacks and a temporary lead. An exciting surfer, having demonstrated his aerial prowess earlier this week with a rodeo flip, Gudauskas looked on point but ultimately couldn't match Andino's flair on the air sections and placed equal third. Coming in as No. 63 on the QS rankings before Cascais, Gudauskas builds momentum and will look to bring his A-game again in the major events in Brazil and Hawaii.

"It's the heat you hope for 'cause it brings the best out of everyone and with the challenging conditions it was sick to see the both of us get a couple of opportunities," Gudauskas said. "Brother (Andino) has pretty much been the most in-form surfer of this whole event so I looked at that heat as a Final. You know if I could get over him I could have gone on to win."

Gudauskas Scores Big in Semis.
Patrick Gudauskas belts three big turns on a left for a 9.07 in semifinal No.1 of the Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais.

In a slow second Semifinal, current World No. 12 Wigolly Dantas (BRA), the last remaining goofyfooter in the event, couldn't find his rhythm and kept surfing lefthanders while his opponent Ibelli took to the air on the rights. Eventually, Dantas' polished forehand carves and closeout sections bashes did not suffice and the young Brazilian placed equal third.

"I didn't have the right board, I really needed something bigger," Dantas said. "I want to keep the ball rolling into France. I hope it's big and we get barreled. I come here to Portugal a lot with my girlfriend being from here, so this is kind of a second home and a very special place for me."

Following the completion of the Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais, Andino takes a firm grip on the Portuguese Waves Series - Cascais Trophy's rankings before the final showdown at the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Dantas, along with Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW), will have an opportunity to overtake Andino with a big result in Peniche.