Hawaiian powerhouse Keanu Asing can now add a historic win to his resume with a huge performance at the inaugural Barbados Surf Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000. It was the first QS event to descend upon Barbadian shores since 2007 and the waves responded as the final day of competition progressed to offer ideal Drill Hall Beach conditions.
Asing unleashed his deadly backhand attack to fend off event standout Shane Campbell in an incredible Final that came down to the final exchange. Though the Hawaiian had a secure lead that required a 9.77 from the Australian, Campbell's persistence was relentless. But, Asing found a Perfect 10 at the buzzer, adding to his 9.50, and Campbell was left in a combination situation regardless of his final score.
But, the 23-year-old isn't getting ahead of himself with plans to return to the Dream Tour on his own accord.
"I was just fortunate to have God on my side all day and I have to dedicate this win to him, it's Easter Sunday and it's for him so that makes this day that much more special for me," Asing said. "I knew it was going to be a long day and I just had to finish what I came here to do. The waves got better each and every heat throughout the day and I couldn't be happier to keep surfing. Shane [Campbell] is an extremely talented surfer and he just kept coming at me until I finally got that 10 for the knockout punch, but he's going to be one to watch moving forward."
"I'm not even thinking about the Tour that much. I just want to enjoy surfing heats," Asing added. "The pressure's not on me, it's on everybody else. I just want to keep working on my surfing and I go back to the drawing board each and every event to see what I can do better. I made a lot of mistakes throughout the week, but today I feel like I corrected many of those which really led me to a win."
Runner-up Campbell has made himself a known threat to the QS elite with massive performances at Drill Hall Beach all week. The Sydney, Australia-native posted five scores over the excellent range in the Final alone, and finished on a 9.37 to end his Barbadian campaign. While it may just be a second-place finish, it gives Campbell the push he needs to stay in the Top 50 come re-seeding time and a chance at the QS10,000s later this year.
"I felt really confident going into that Final, but I know Keanu [Asing]'s backhand is ridiculous -- he's won a Tour event on that thing so I was just trying to get on the best waves," Campbell said. "But, it was great to go at it with him, especially in the Final where I got my highest heat score. I feel like I won even though I got second so I'm really happy. Now I'm just going to have a go at the bigger events and after that just reassess my goals to see what I can do next year."
Josh Burke remained the lone Barbadian when the Semifinal draws were determined, but fell to the unstoppable Asing. He held his head high with a terrific performance in the books and an event he'll cherish for years to come after drawing the best from Asing.
"That wave Keanu [Asing] got his 9.87 on was the best wave of the heat and I just couldn't get into it after the section I was paddling in went flat -- that was the heat there," Burke said. "But, this is the best result in my life so to do it here -- I don't know what to say really, it's a special moment. I grew up just down the street so it feels great to perform at home. I'm just going to keep with my routine and try to do even better in the next one."
Rafael Texiera ripped his way to the Semifinals after posting numerous near-perfect scores throughout the event, but even his 16.06 heat total wasn't enough against Campbell's in-form surfing. In the dying minutes, the Brazilian's board suffered a heat-ending crease that left him sprinting across the reef to try and get back to the lineup. However, no waves would come through to offer Teixeira one last chance and he will look to bounce back at the next event.
"It was an older board, but it was one I had a lot of confidence in so I kept riding it through this event," Teixeira said. "I'm a little frustrated after surfing so well this whole event, especially that heat having a sixteen-point total, but it's how I learn and progress from here. This is a big confidence builder for the next competition and now it's just a matter of trying to better myself to take it one further in the bigger events."
The next major event on the men's QS schedule will be the Ichinomiya Chiba Open QS6,000 in Japan May 21 - 28.