HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, July 5, 2009) – Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 21, earned the best result of his professional career when he won the ASP 6-Star Mr. Price Pro Ballito in South Africa today over Australian James Taipan Wood, launching him from 20th to sixth overall on the ASP WQS, putting him in excellent on The Grind as the season approaches the halfway mark.
"I just can't believe it, this is a personal best for me," Gudauskas said. "Every night this week I've been going to bed dreaming about winning this contest and putting myself up there where Pat (Tanner's brother and ASP WQS No. 10 Patrick Gudauskas), and it came through today so I'm fired up!"
Gudauskas jumped out to an early lead in the Final, staying busy throughout the heat's entirety and found the waves needed to claim the win over his ferocious Australian competitor. Gudauskas' win was not only his first ASP WQS victory, but the significance of winning an ASP 6-Star event makes the win that much more prestigious due to the heightened ratings points on offer towards qualification for the ASP World Tour.
"I just got into this mindset that when the surf got worse, I was going to get better and as the tide came up and it got less consistent, I just got more fired up and more pissed off," Gudauskas said. "It's crazy because I can hardly remember half of it now, but my priority exchange worked out and it all came together and I'm just super fired up!"
The impressive victory came as a late gift to the young American, who celebrated his 21st birthday on July 4th, and was able to share the festivities with brothers Dane and Patrick, who carried him up the beach alongside his fellow American competitors.
"When I came out of the water and saw my brothers and some of my friends all standing on the beach cheering for me I was almost in tears," Gudauskas said. "We have a really strong crew from America right now and we're all pushing as hard as we can to bust down the door and make the ASP World Tour and I think this year could be the year."
Tanner is now the highest rated American surfer on the ASP WQS after his victory, passing Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 24, who is trailing Gudauskas in the No. 7 position, and older brother Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), who is sitting in the No. 10 spot.
Austin Ware (Solana Beach, CA), 28, also made a jump on The Grind when he finished ninth overall at the Mr. Price Pro Ballito. The North San Diego County local went on a tear in the South African event before falling to Matt Wilkinson (Copacabana, AUS), 20 and is now rated 11th.
The next stop on the ASP WQS will be the ASP 6-Star Maresia Surf International in Santa Catarina, Brazil from July 7-12, 2009.