PUNTA ROCA, La Libertad/El Salvador (Saturday, July 13, 2013) - The ASP 6-Star Reef Pro El Salvador returned to improved three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Punta Roca following yesterday's lay-day, completing both Rounds 4 and 5 to decide the event's Quarterfinalists.
The Reef Pro El Salvador represents one of only three ASP 6-Star events on the 2013 men's ASP Qualifying Series, playing a vital role in surfer's qualification campaigns for the 2014 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).
Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, top seed at the Reef Pro El Salvador and current ASP World No. 9, was deadly in his morning heat, snatching the day's high score of 9.33 for a deep forehand tube combined with a variety of frontside turns. Kerr would go on to secure a berth in the Quarterfinals, but the Australian was forced to put in a hard-fought effort against Costa Rican up-and-comer Carlos Munoz (CRI), 20, in their Round of 16 clash.
"I haven't really found my form here and feel like I've just been stumbling through heats, getting a few good waves here and there," Kerr said. "That last heat was scrappy, the waves are just getting torn to bits out there. There were sections, but they were funky. This morning was obviously perfect and I was excited to get out there and try some airs this afternoon, but it was really bumpy with the wind going everywhere. There are still some good ones out there."
Peterson Crisanto (BRA), 21, former standout on the ASP Pro Junior Series, has quietly navigated through the early rounds of Reef Pro El Salvador competition, but put in a strong performance today, taking two assertive heat wins while earning the day's high heat-total of 17.63 out of 20.
"I'm happy to make it through to the Quarterfinals and the wind made it a little harder this afternoon than this morning," Crisanto said. "I tried to relax and mix it up and wait for the good sets. It worked and I'm looking forward to the next round."
Caio Ibelli (BRA), 19, former ASP World Junior Champion, joined Crisanto as one of the day's South American standouts, dominating the Punta Roca lineup while taking two heat wins to secure his Quarterfinals position. Ibelli quickly adjusted from the perfect glassy morning conditions to his challenging onshore heat and was equally impressive despite Mother Nature's challenges.
"This morning was just beautiful with perfect lines and barrels but then the tide dropped and the wind picked up," Ibelli said. "The wind had a lot of bump and I was looking for the airs at first, but I wasn't making them. I switched to turns and got the scores I needed, so I'm really happy."
Fred Patacchia (HAW), 31, continued to unload his ferocious backhand attack on the El Salvadorian jewel of Punta Roca, detonating one of the day's high heat totals of 16.60 out of 20 in the Round of 24. The Hawaiian's high-scores came compliments of seamless backhand combinations, and Patacchia would go on to secure his position in the Quarterfinals with another excellent performance over dangerous Brazilian (/athletes/1440/messias-felix)Messias Felix, 27, in the Round of 16.
"I wanted to be patient and I know a lot of guys in the qualifying events don't have a whole lot of patience, they want to battle, but he was pretty patient," Patacchia said. "I didn't get a good wave until the halfway mark and then that one came to me and I knew it'd be a good score if I just put it together. I got the 9 and I was pretty stoked. I thought it was a decent score considering what was going on out there with the wind. After that I just wanted to back it up and put the pressure on."
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 25, current No. 37 on the ASP World Ranking, put in two electric performances on his backhand today, advancing out of his Round of 24 heat before besting fellow goofy-footer Hizunome Bettero (BRA), 27, in their Round of 16 clash.
"I'm feeling really happy to make it in to the Quarterfinals," Gudauskas said. "It's a different world out there this afternoon compared to this morning, but I got the one set that fired me up to get back out there. I've just been having fun, enjoying the El Salvador vibe and I'll take what I get."
While the windy afternoon conditions presented plenty of challenges, Australian Mitch Crews got the best of current ASP World No. 19 Aritz Aranbur (EUK), x, in a hard-fough, high action affair to secure his Quarterfinals berth.
"I got a little bit nervous at the start because Aritz (Aranburu) rattled me with a full heat strategy and tried to keep me off of the first wave," Crews said. "I was a little shaky, but as soon as I found my feet I got a couple of good ones. He got a couple of smokers at the end and I didn't know how it was going to go. It was a good heat."
Crews, current No. 27 on the ASP World Ranking and past runner-up at Punta Roca, is out to secure big points towards his ASP WCT qualification campaign and hopes to maintain his form on the final day of competition.
"Everything is starting to click," Crews said. "I think winning in Japan earlier this year was a flip of the switch for me and it allowed me to relax more in my heats. I'm just trying to surf the best I can and be on the best waves and it's paying off."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am local time and will crown a Reef Pro El Salvador champion by day's end.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Reef Pro El Salvador, are calling for:
The Reef Pro El Salvador holds a waiting period from July 9 - 14 and is webcast LIVE via http://www.beachbyte.com/aspna/elsalvador13/