Aritz Aranburu Eyes Return to ASP WCT

ASP International

HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Wednesday, November 13, 2013) – Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 28, has been a leading force among European surfers for nearly a decade, logging two seasons on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) with top results including a Semifinals at Teahupo'o and wins in multiple ASP Qualifying Events.

Entering the final surge of the 2013 ASP Qualifying Series, Aranburu finds himself in familiar territory. The Basque talent is sitting at No. 29 on the ASP World Ranking and staring down another shot at the 'CT.

The Hawaiian leg of the 'QS has always been one that favors experience and Aranburu's proven prowess in powerful surf combined with over a decade logged on Oahu's North Shore help his chances of a keeper result exponentially. While the natural-footer is looking to solidify a spot among the ASP Top 34 for 2014, Aranburu's current ranking entering Hawaii reflects an incredible season, where he blitzed the ASP Prime and premier star events with incredible consistency, continually battling his way to banner results against some of the world's toughest match ups. Aranburu might be sitting on the bubble entering the final two stops, but the pressure cooker of the closing QS season is nothing new to the European vet.

“I had a really good start at the beginning of the season with three equal 5th places at the Prime events,” Aranburu said. “The next three haven't been that good, but I'm still happy with my consistency. I am in a position where each result is really important for me. The experience plays a key factor in Hawaii and I think I have it. This will be my 14th season in Hawaii. I have been coming here since I was 14 years old. Being part of the Triple Crown is a childhood dream. Every time I get here I feel really blessed for the given opportunity. Hawaii will be the place where everything will be decided and I am really happy that it is this way as everything started here. I will give my best to get the results I need.

Aritz Aranburu (EUK) got slotted but didn't get the scores to advance.   ASP / Cestari Aranburu competed as a wildcard at the Quiksilver Pro France in 2013. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

There is always pressure for everyone in the Triple Crown. Some are fighting to get on the Tour; some are fighting to stay on it. There is a group of surfers in the World Title race while some others are competing for a spot in the Prime events. I would say that only a few are out of pressure here, but, that's the way competition is. The pressure is always there. In different ways but it is part of the game and it is always there.”

Aranburu's success this season is partially due to changing his approach to competition. While some surfers' achievements comes at the hands of an obsessive competitive mindset, Aranburu took a step back this season, managing his time between video projects and travel and his diverse portfolio for 2013 may be transitioning to results in a jersey.

“My preparations have changed quite a bit lately. I used to focus only on competitions before. My only goals were set to make the best possible results and it worked pretty well. Now my head is asking me to look for more instead. Happiness is the key to success for me. I had a lot of fun when I was only focused on competition. It felt natural and comfortable to me and that's how I qualified for the Tour. Right now I have many other things going through my head. I have more projects and I want to live surfing in many different ways. I am really competitive and that's why the competition is so important to me, but on the other hand there is another way of living through surfing, which includes traveling, going to new places, learning and discovering new cultures. I have my blog and other projects besides these two ways of understanding surfing. I feel happy doing a little bit of everything and I think that this is the key to success. Not only for getting good results in competition, but for the different things I am involved in.

"All the QS riders on top of the rankings are doing an amazing job. It is really hard to get there and they have to face many challenges. There is a bunch of really talented surfers who have made it to the top positions of the ranking just competing in WQS events. Personally, I feel really happy and confident with myself and the achieved results. As I said, having more time for traveling, free surfing and other projects is making me really happy. And this makes me get better results in everything I do.”

Aside from his remodeled approach to competition, Aranburu's roots in a small, passionate European subculture of surfing have played a massive role in his success and he carries the fire of his people across the globe.

“I have always felt really proud of each of my supporters. I feel really thankful for them. I can feel their passion and how they really want me to move forward and get better results. It is something amazing. For example, the last time I surfed against Kelly (Slater) in Hossegor. I went to shake hands after losing against him and he told me how cool it was to see all these people supporting and following me. The truth is that I feel really fortunate and thankful. Having so many people supporting makes one give his best not only for himself but for all those who are behind. They do really encourage me and mean a lot to me.”

While Aranburu is proud to surf for his people, the hunger to compete with the world's best surfers at some of the most iconic venues drive Aranburu to return to ASP WCT competition and he feels that the experience gained and new venues on tour since his departure would allow him to return with a different perspective.

“Being able to surf in the different dream waves the CT is definitely one of the biggest motivations. Fiji is one of my favorite waves but, there are a bunch of them. For me the most important thing is to feel comfortable in the Tour, feel part of it. I felt really good when I first qualified. I spent two of the best years of my life so far. Unfortunately I could not stay on the CT after my second year but I have amazing memories. Being on a Tour where all my surf heroes have competed was a dream come true. I had the chance of competing against all of them. I see myself more mature now, with more experience. So if I make the cut, more than the waves I think the experience would definitely make the difference.”

Watch Aritz Aranburu surf at the ASP Prime rated REEF Hawaiian Pro from November 12 through 23, 2013.