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Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Top 45 member Ben Bourgeois (Wrightsville Beach, NC to Carlsbad, CA) took down the 2008 6.0 Lowers Pro in pumping three-to-four foot surf at Lower Trestles over fellow finalists Fredrick Patacchia (North Shore, HAW), Joel Centeio (North Shore, HAW) and Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA). The ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star event wrapped up a week's worth of competition this afternoon with Bourgeois showcasing the form that has taken him to the most elite level of competition in the world.
The powerful natural-footer nailed a 7.83, an 8.33, a 7.53, an 8.83 and a 7.53 throughout the 30-minute final in a staggering display of consistency and ability, leaving his fellow finalists in a combination situation and unable to surpass.
"In the last two heats, the quarters and the semis, I was just able to squeak through, and everything was going my way that final," Bourgeois said. "I'm stoked, it's always good to get a win, and all those guys in the final are good friends of mine. My last win was in England, and Lowers is always a great event.
Bourgeois now joins the prestigious list of competitors who have proven victorious at Lower Trestles, including eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), Shane Beschen (San Clemente, CA), C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne Beach, FL) and Tom Curren (Santa Barbara, CA), amongst others.
"Everyone wants to surf Lowers with only three other guys out, and I'm living in Carlsbad now so it's right up the street," Bourgeois said. "It's an honor to come away with the win and I'm super pumped."
In addition to taking the 6.0 Lowers Pro Title, the healthy prize purse and valuable ASP WQS ratings points, Bourgeois also takes the lead in the 2008 Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series (an ASP North America Specialty Series). With two more events taking place in September and October of this season, Bourgeois remains the marked man from here out.
"I haven't put much thought into continuing the Trifecta Series at this point," Bourgeois said. "However it is nice to be in the lead, but I'm just going to see how it goes."
Patacchia, current No. 29 on the elite ASP World Tour, was another who displayed preternatural talent and incredible competitive savvy throughout the 6.0 Lowers Pro. Although unable to best Bourgeois in the final, the powerful Hawaiian racked up a solid result on the ASP WQS as well as some beneficial practice time at the venue for when the Dream Tour comes to Lower Trestles in September.
"It's always fun to come to Lowers and surf with just a few more guys out," Patacchia said. "I'm a bit disappointed that I couldn't come out on top in the final, but Ben (Bourgeois) was surfing really well. Still though, great result and a good way to get some heat practice in before we come here in September."
Centeio, current No. 122 on the ASP WQS, will take his third-place finish at the 6.0 Lowers Pro and increase his current rating on the hunt to qualify for the ASP World Tour. Centeio who has nearly qualified for the Dream Tour the past several years will hope that 2008 will be his season.
"Benny was just really in rotation, and it seemed like he was on every good wave, and he ended up taking it, so that's just how it goes sometimes," Centeio said. "It's a good result for me and hopefully I can put it together the rest of the season."
With his fourth-place finish at the 6.0 Lowers Pro, Gudauskas has reclaimed the ratings lead on the ASP WQS, and will look to hold on through the remainder of the season in hopes of qualifying for the prestigious ASP World Tour in 2009.
"It feels really good to be back on top with another result," Gudauskas said. "It's a long season, but hopefully I can keep putting away results and stay consistent throughout the season."
With the completion of the 6.0 Lowers Pro, the next stop on the Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series is the Oakley Newport Beach Pro held in September.
The next stop on the 2008 ASP North America Tour is the ASP WQS 1-Star Koastalkaos.com Pro in Oceanside, CA from May 10-11, 2008.
For more information about the 6.0 Lowers Pro, go to www.Nike6LowersPro.com
6.0 Nike Pro – ASP WQS 4-Star
1 – Ben Bourgeois
2 – Fred Patacchia
3 – Joel Centeio
4 – Patrick Gudauskas
Semifinals: 8 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advance)
SF 1: Joel Centeio 16.76, Ben Bourgeois 16.00, Kiron Jabour 15.66, Dusty Payne 7.40
SF 2: Fred Patacchia 17.10, Patrick Gudauskas 16.47, Kieran Horn 14.67, Cory Lopez 11.87
Quarterfinals: 16 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advance)
QF 1: Joel Centeio 13.44, Kiron Jabour 11.27, Shaun Ward 10.50, Sebastian Zietz 9.27
QF 2: Ben Bourgeois 16.30, Dusty Payne 14.50, Asher Nolan 14.16, Adriano De Souza 13.70
QF 3: Cory Lopez 16.44, Patrick Gudauskas 16.26, Federico Pilurzu 13.83, Chas Chidester 12.34
QF 4: Kieran Horn 16.67, Fred Patacchia 13.03, Taylor Knox 12.40, Jarrad Sullivan 6.67
All 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior action is being webcast LIVE via www.nike6lowerspro.com In addition to title sponsor Nike 6.0, the 6.0 Lowers Pro is happy to have support from Red Bull, Oakley, SURFER, SURFING, WaveWatch and FUEL TV.