PUNTA ROCA, La Libertad/El Salvador (Thursday, July 11, 2013) - The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star Reef Pro El Salvador returned to Punta Roca for another marathon day of competition, completing Rounds 2 and 3 in firing four-to-six foot (1.5 metre) waves. Today's action would host near-perfect scores once again compliments of some of surfing's biggest powerhouses while narrowing the field down to just 24 surfers.
The Reef Pro El Salvador represents one of only three ASP 6-Star events on the 2013 ASP calendar, drawing some of the world's top talent in search of flawless surf and crucial points towards their respective 2014 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) qualification campaigns.
Willian Cardoso (BRA), 27, who was responsible for the event's high single-wave score of 9.80 in Round 2 yesterday, maintained his form in Round 3 of the Reef Pro El Salvador. The husky Brazilian would ignite two steep Punta Roca walls with incredible torque, earning the day's high heat-total of 18.43 out of 20.
"I just went out there and tried to enjoy the moment and do my best when I got the waves," Cardoso said. "I just tried to do big turns and smash the wave until the end and it feels really good have a couple of good heats in a row."
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 25, built momentum in his Round of 48 heat, eventually dismantling two clean walls with a raw backhand attack to the tune of 9.67 and a 18.17 out of 20 heat total.
"Once the rhythm starts in a heat everyone just opens it wide up," Gudauskas said. "That heat was super fun because everyone had really good waves and it was kind of battle of the back up. I haven't had a heat like that in a long time, so I was just so stoked. I'm just happy to be here. El Salvador is a dream and I'm happy to be here and competing."
Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 41, former 20 year veteran of the ASP WCT, was another powerful natural-footer to dominate the dreamy Central American gem of Punta Roca today, carving up one of the day's high scores of 9.27 to secure his Round 2 victory.
"It just felt so good out there," Knox said. "To see those waves coming in and not have a crowd around you, it's just incredible out there. It's almost hard to pick which one to go on because you think the next one might be better. This is just an amazing event."
Jay Thompson (AUS), 30, former ASP WCT campaigner and current No. 33 on the rankings, looked hungry at the Reef Pro El Salvador today. The Australian detonated the day's high single wave-score of 9.73 for incredible forehand railwork and hopes a big result at Punta Roca will vault him within the cutoff for next year's the ASP WCT.
"It's a long road to qualify, but it can all change with one event," Thompson said. "3,500 points might put me in to 20, I haven't really looked exactly, but it's tough this year for guys doing the qualifying series because there aren't many events. You know we're at a world-class wave, it's incredible, it's a CT wave, and it's nice. There's not much hassling and I'm enjoying it."
Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 27, former ASP WCT competitor, led the European charge today, utilizing impeccable wave selection and surfing with full commitment to advance through two heats today.
"The heat went pretty good for me and the waves are perfect, but it's not that easy because sometimes the waves are really fast and they can be hard to read," Aranburu said. "My two best waves slowed down enough for me to do a few nice turns and I'm stoked I made it."
Aranburu, current No. 19 on the ASP World Ranking, has been on fire throughout the first half of the season, collecting three consecutive 5th place finishes in ASP Prime events. The Basque talent knows that securing a position among the world's best surfers is no easy task and is out to help his cause at the Reef Pro El Salvador.
"I had a really good start this year, with three Quarters in three Primes and I'm in a pretty good rhythm," Aranburu said. "I'm having a pretty good year, but now the hardest part is keeping it going through the back half of the year. It's going good though and I'm feeling confident and enjoying my surfing."
While many of the day's high-scores came at the hands of veteran power-surfers, up-and-comer (/athletes/1754/mitch-crews)Mitch Crews] (AUS), 23, was electric in the pointbreak conditions, unloading an impressive variety of carves and tail-drifting turns to take two commanding heat wins.
"I was pretty dedicated to that heat and the waves are pumping," Crews said. "You can't really do much wrong out there, you just have to not fall and I'm happy to get through."
Surfline, official forecasters for the Reef Pro El Salvador, are calling for: Fun size SSW swell leftovers; new SW swell slowly building in the PM with surf in the chest-head high range. Winds will be light and variable to light sideshore wind in the early morning shifting to onshore S in the afternoon 6-9kts.
The Reef Pro El Salvador holds a waiting period from July 9 - 14 and is webcast LIVE via http://www.beachbyte.com/aspna/elsalvador13/