Julian Wilson Wins Quiksilver Pro Portugal
22 Year Old Aussie Takes Out 18 Year Old Gabriel Medina in Final
The finals of the Quiksilver Pro Portugal, an ASP Prime Event, took place in fun 4 -5 foot point surf at Ribeira D’Ilhas in Ericeira, Portugal on Sunday, June 19th in front of a capacity crowd. Competitors were stoked on the conditions during the final day as the right point was a bit more lined up than the previous days of the contest, allowing for five or more maneuvers on each set wave. The next generation of young surfers truly made their mark at this event. By the time the quarter finals match-ups were set, six out of the eight surfers left standing were under 22 years old.The entire event was a huge success for the title sponsor, Quiksilver, and was the first major ASP contest on European soil for the 2011 season.
The two standout surfers of the event, Gabriel Medina (winner of the previous Prime Event in Brazil) and Julian Wilson (World Tour rookie) dominated their quarter and semi final heats on the way to the final. Both surfers were in such fine form that they were posting 9 plus rides in every heat leading up to their showdown with a lethal mix of carves and explosive vertical surfing.
Julian followed the successful heat strategy that took him to the finals by starting off strong with two great waves in the first five minutes, leaving Medina to play catch-up. Julian’s rail work combined with huge fins-free vertical turns proved to much for Medina to overcome. In fact, he was combo-ed within the first 8 minutes, which put an added element of pressure on the young Brazilian star.
The Quiksilver Pro Portugal was a crucial contest for surfers looking for ratings points to stay on, or qualify for the World Tour at the mid-year cutoff. After the Hurley Pro at Trestles in late September, only the top 32 surfers on the One World Ranking will continue to surf in the remaining 4 events. With his 2nd place result, Gabriel Medina is looking good to qualify for the World Tour as he sits comfortably in 18th place. Julian, who is currently in the midst of a rookie year that has had its share of setbacks, really needed a solid result to regain his confidence in major international events and shoots up to 15th place on the rankings after his first place result. The two surfers who placed equal 3rd in the semis accrued huge ratings points as well, with Miguel Pupo rocketing up to 25th place, and John Florence moving up over 20 places to 50th on the list.
Next stop is the ASP Prime Mr. Price Pro Ballito in Durban, South Africa on July 4th. Durban’s beachbreak peaks are known for their ultra-consistency and solid size. Being so close to the mid-year cutoff, many of the ASP World Tour surfers will compete in the event in hopes to stay on tour after the cutoff. South Africa’s superstar and defending champion Jordy Smith is scheduled to attend, while other standouts like Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson have not committed to the event….yet.
Check out heats on demand from the Quiksilver Pro Portugal at www.quiksilverlive.com.
Photos courtesy ASP World Tour.