The dedicated Aussie launched an absolute blitzkrieg on an international field of up-and-comers hungry to find their way onto the elite stage of the ASP World Tour, solidifying his position as a qualifier well before the end of the 2009 season, before attaining the No. 1 seed in bombing surf at the ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.
“There are a lot of surfers that do fall off the tour their first year and that shows how high the level of surfing and competitiveness is on the World Tour,” Ross said. “You need to be so well balanced and tuned in on all levels, physically, emotionally and mentally. For me, this year, it was a mixture of hard work in all these areas, not just my surfing. I was focusing on learning and having fun with it all. It’s easy to get motivated when you are really enjoying what you do.”
Although Ross’ season on the ASP WQS was the polar opposite in comparison to his last qualification run for the ASP Dream Tour, Ross carried the addictive feeling of success as the crucial motivating factor on his 2009 campaign where he absolutely dominated this year’s field.
“The last time I qualified it came down to the last event of the year the very last heat of the year,” Ross said. “I needed to place 4th or better in a field of 100 and every heat was stacked with either World Tour surfers or Hawaiian specialists. The surf was huge and I made it to Final. The feeling was unbelievable. I ran up the beach into a team of mates that were screaming and holding their arms in the air. I’ll never forget it. It was the best day of my life.”
Despite Ross’ obvious success on the ASP WQS this year, the Australian powerhouse also credits a more relaxed approach to this year’s competition as a helpful factor in his sensational season while maintaining his focus on victories.
“This season has been more of a relaxed approach as I have been focusing a lot on my coaching role within Red Bull and I guess that has taken the pressure off competing,” Ross said. “I wrote down at the start of the year that one of my goals was to win two 4 or 6-Star events, purely for the fact that I wanted to get chaired up the beach and experience that feeling of winning, knowing that on that day you did everything in your power to come out on top. No one else could take it from you. That’s the feeling I have now from the year that I’ve had.”
Although Ross fell off the ASP World Tour after his rookie year, the young natural-footer is confident that he has learned valuable lessons that will assist him with his 2010 campaign amongst the world’s finest surfing talent.
“I never saw my first year on tour as unsuccessful,” Ross said. “I had made it onto the Tour and was living the dream that I always had as a young kid. I was surfing well and having an amazing time traveling with a bunch of my good mates and people I idolize. Along with that comes the pressure of trying to do well and keep your spot amongst the best surfers in the world. With the seeding that I had from being the last qualifier, it was a difficult task. The only event that I had an okay seeding was in Brazil and I placed 5th.”
Now that Ross has sealed the deal as the winner of the ASP WQS in 2009, he’s most looking forward to competing at the iconic event of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, surfing’s longest running professional surf contest, where he will take center stage at one of Australia’s prized amphitheatres to compete in front of his friends and family.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the Bells event,” Ross said. “There is so much prestige and energy surrounding that event. Running down those stairs for a heat is an incredible feeling. Plus, I will have a lot of my family down there to watch, especially my nephews Jaspur and Taiig.”
To watch Dan Ross compete in the final event on the 2009 season log on to www.triplecrownofsurfing.com to watch the event LIVE.
To catch the final ASP WQS ratings, log on to www.aspworldtour.com after the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing to see who has earned their place onto the ASP Dream Tour for 2010.