PRAIA DE SANTA BARBARA, Sao Miguel/Azores Islands (Sunday, September 9, 2012) – Messias Felix (BRA) 26, has won the ASP 6-Star SATA Airlines Azores Pro today over fellow Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas 22, in excellent 4-5Ft surf at Praia de Santa Bárbara, Sao Miguel, Azores Islands. A new swell arrived overnight and allowed the competition to recommence this morning with the Quarterfinals, culminating this afternoon with Felix claiming his inaugural Star Tour victory.
Messias Felix had a slow start to his final bout only finding minor scores in the northern end of the competition area. Things started looking up for the Brazilian at mid-heat when he took off on an intermediate lefthander and launched an impressive and high air-reverse to score a 7.93 and claim back the heat lead from Dantas. With only 10 minutes left in the final, Felix found a perfect righthander and put aside his air game for a more traditional powersurfing approach which was rewarded with a 7.00 point ride that gave him the heat lead and eventually the event win today.
"I'm so tired right now and I can't really explain how I feel," Felix stated. "I'm over the moon you know, this is my first time winning a big Star event, and it was against my best friend Wiggolly, we're staying together here and always driving together to the beach in the car etc. I just want to thank God for being here with me all the time and for looking after me and my family. I know everybody at home is probably watching this on the internet and they must be going crazy. There's going to be a party in Brazil right now!"
Coming all the way from the first Round of 144 in Sao Miguel, Felix managed to make his way through difficult situations, always finding the waves he needed to secure his ticket for the next round. On multiple occasions along the road to the final, Felix was behind his opponents needing an important score and came back swinging with a last-minute hail-mary attempt.
"I don't know why this keeps happening but I just keep believing and never let go, and waves come to me! It's all about patience I think, you gotta wait for the good opportunities and make the most of it! I made a good air, and then I got this great right with a couple of turns. Now I'm just going to enjoy the Azores with all my friends and then I'm off to Pantin and the Canarias maybe, there's a good right and left there !"
As opposed to most professional surfers who are travelling with a collection of several different boards, Felix has been showing up to the event's site every day with the same board he's been using for over a year now. All dented and yellowed by the long sun hours it has seen, his magic board has once again delivered for Felix in the final today.
"This board only touches the water for contests because I know it's so easy to break, but I love it. I've had it for a year and a half, and I think that's a lucky one! I've had a great time here and I want to thank my family, my sponsor Pena and everybody here for the support!"
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 22, event runner-up, opened his wave account in the final with an excellent 8.50 in the first minutes, starting on a solid righthander set wave which he destroyed with two massive backside turns in the critical sections of the wave. It took him time to find another wave that offered the same potential for a high score, and unfortunately his timing was off on the first turn which resulted in an average back-up score of a 4.77.
"I feel good, but I know I blew it," Dantas said. "It's still a great result, a second here is perfect and I'm very happy for Messias. It's his first win! I had a good right and I thought I could make two turns, but the wave kind of barreled and you know sometimes it's hard to read it, you plan something and something else comes, but it's still really good."
Sitting in 40th position on the ASP Men's World Rankings before competing here at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro, Dantas clinches his second best result of the year and will move up to eye the qualification zone for the coveted ASP World Championship Tour.
"I drop a low result here and replace it with a good result so now I'm getting closer to the World Tour qualification, and I'm just going to have to stay focused for the next event in the Canary Islands and later for the Primes in Hawaii!"
Hodei Collazo (EUK) 28, currently ranked 94th on the World Rankings, had an amazing run this week at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro that was unfortunately stopped by event runner-up Wigolly Dantas. Netting his best result of 2012 so far, Collazo gets a confidence boost before the second to last European event next week in Galicia.
"Incredible!" shouted Collazo. "This year I started pretty badly and finally had a first good result in Ballito and Newquay. I always felt really good and with good boards but the results never followed. Lacanau and Zarautz felt the same, and finally here I got the waves, I had the perfect board, felt really good and I got a good result!"
Collazo had to defeat one of his best friends Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) in an all-European quarter-final matchup this morning to win his ticket for the semis, and put on an incredible performance finding a near-perfect ride rewarded 9.33 out of 10.
"We always travel together along with Aritz, Gony and Marlon during the whole tour, we even sleep in the same bed at times! That's unreal, it's only the second time we surfed a man-on-man heat together, last time was in Brazil four or five years ago and the waves were pumping. I had a 9 and an 8 and he beat me with his last wave. This time around was the contrary, and it was so much fun to be with your best mate out there in the quarters. I love the waves here, it's always powerful and you get barrels even when it's not too big, and this year I had some incredible heats with waves and it feels great to have a result when the waves are that good!"
Nat Young (USA) 21, one of the most exciting surfers to watch this past week, was defeated in the first semi-final today but clinches an important third place result, that will help him solidify his position on the ASP World Rankings. The young Californian who has been posting excellent scores all week, including a 9.00 point ride in his quarter-final this morning, couldn't find the waves he needed to let his explosive backhand express itself.
"I'm pretty bummed," Young started. "I feel like I've been surfing good this whole contest, I don't know what happened, I just didn't really get the waves that gave me the opportunity to get the scores. Still, I had a good time here, the waves were fun and third place is good even if I would have rather won it but it's definitely better than losing out first heat. This will definitely count in my overall total, I added some points so that's good and I like the Azores so I've enjoyed coming here. "
The ASP 6-Star SATA Airlines Azores Pro was scheduled from September 4-9, 2012 in Sao Miguel, Azores Islands. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases log on to zarautz.aspeurope.com.
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspeurope.com
The SATA Airlines Azores Pro is organized by DAAZ Eventos and USBA (União de Surfistas e Bodyboarders dos Açores) with the support of the following event partners: SATA Airlines, do Turismo dos Açores, Câmara Municipal da Ribeira Grande, Sumol, Moche, and the participation of Hotel Vip Executive Açores, FUEL TV as official TV Channel, RFM, RTP, Jornal i, Surf Total, Surf Portugal and ONFIRE.
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Messias Felix (BRA) 14.93
2 - Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.27
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO SEMI-FINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Messias Felix (BRA) 13.00 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.80
Heat 2: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.90 def. Hodei Collazo (EUK) 5.93
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 14.83 def. Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 12.26
Heat 2: Messias Felix (BRA) 14.66 vs Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.33
Heat 3: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.63 vs Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.33
Heat 4: Hodei Collazo (EUK) 15.66 def. Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 15.24