SEIGNOSSE, France (Saturday, August 25th, 2007)
Australian 24-year-old Shaun Cansdell (Emerald Beach, NSW) has defeated 21-year-old American Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA) to win the year's biggest World Qualifying Series surfing contest – the Rip Curl Pro Super Series in Seignosse, France.
Cansdell is a member of the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour, but his victory today is the biggest of his career, earning him US$20,000 and 3500 valuable WQS ratings points.
The Rip Curl Pro started with 144 competitors on Monday, but after a week of consistent surf and variable weather, the final match-up saw Cansdell and Reynolds fighting for the title. The 35-minute final hit the water at 2.30pm today in perfect 3-4ft (1-1.5m) waves at Les Bourdaines in Seignosse.
The heat started slowly until Cansdell lodged the first decent score – a 5.67 – at the 5 minute mark. Reynolds hit straight back with a 6.33 and a 3.67 to move into first place, but the Australian was happy to wait patiently in the line-up for the next solid set wave.
Cansdell took the lead back off Reynolds on his next ride, scoring a 7.83 on a long right-hand wave. He scored an 8.17 later in the heat to extend his lead, leaving the Californian needing 7.18 points in the final 13 minutes. Although Reynolds had been one of the high scorers throughout the event, the score eluded him and he remained in second when the final siren sounded.
"I am really stoked. To win an event after so many losses feels incredible and to win the final of the biggest WQS event of the year is even better," said Cansdell. "I'm just ecstatic right now – I can't believe it!"
"I actually thought I surfed better at the start of the event, but I guess my waves looked better today and yesterday," continued Cansdell. "I was trying to finish off every way better and my board was working really well for me today."
When asked to comment on runner-up Dane Reynolds, Cansdell replied: "I think Dane is the most radical surfer in the world and he definitely deserves to be on the World Tour. I was just doing my own thing out there though today and wasn't really focusing on what he was doing too much. He's always going to blow up and put on a good show, so I was just trying to be selective with my waves and it worked in the end."
For Reynolds, the second place finish felt almost as good as a win, with the natural footer earning US$10,000 and 3063 WQS ratings points. He jumps to 2nd on the WQS rankings behind Jordy Smith (ZAF) and has unofficially confirmed his place on the 2008 Foster's ASP World Tour with 12713 ratings points.
"I can't believe that the qualification is actually real," said Reynolds. "I haven't really thought about it yet and it's really weird because I started the year not worrying about how it was going to end up. Now I'm just waiting for it to sink in."
"I'm excited about today's result. It could have ended a little better there in the final, but I don't mind. I'm psyched for Shaun and I'm pretty happy just to make the final."
"The week has been really fun," continued Reynolds. "I've never been here during this time of year for this event, so I expected it to be flat and really busy, but we got some great waves and I've had a really fun time."
Reynolds defeated Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) in Semi-Final 2 to make the final. The Brazilian was still ecstatic with his equal 3rd place finish and happy to continue his climb towards World Tour qualification.
"I'm stoked I've had a good time in France. I've been having lots of fun and getting some very good results," said Dornelles. "I couldn't have expected anything more than getting fifth in Lacanau and now this third here, so I'm happy and confident for the next events."
Florida surfer CJ Hobgood (USA) has his Rip Curl Pro campaign ended in Semi-Final 1 by Cansdell, but it was still a strong return to form for the former ASP World Champion.
The equal 3rd place finish earns Hobgood 2625 ratings points and moves him to 6th overall on the WQS ratings with 11175 total points.
"I'm glad to get such a good result at this event, because with this semi-final finish I actually make more points than by winning a 6 star WQS, so it gives me a bit of time off before focusing back on the Foster's ASP World Tour," said Hobgood.
"I'm looking forward to coming back here to France in September for the World Tour event and I wanted to leave Europe with a solid WQS ranking, which I've done."
Finishing equal 5th after losing out in the quarter-finals this morning were 18-year-old Jordy Smith (ZAF), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS) and Patrick Gudauskas (USA).
RIP CURL PRO SUPER SERIES FINALS RESULTS
Final: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 16.00 pts defeated Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.33 pts
Semi-Final #1: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 14.33 pts defeated CJ Hobgood (USA) 12.00 pts
Semi-Final #2: Dane Reynolds (USA) 16.10 pts defeated Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 11.67 pts
Quarter-Final #1: CJ Hobgood (USA) 16.04 pts defeated Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.17 pts
Quarter-Final #2: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 13.50 pts defeated Royden Bryson (ZAF) 12.00 pts
Quarter-Final #3: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 13.37 pts defeated Luke Munro (AUS) 13.10 pts
Quarter-Final #4: Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.66 pts defeated Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.84 pts