PLAYA DE PANTIN, Galicia – Spain (Sunday, September 18, 2011) – Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK) 26, today claimed the ASP 5-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro taking down Santiago Muniz (ARG) 18, in a low scoring tactical final where wave selection proved crucial, 13.67 to 8.93, in tough wind affected 5-6ft waves. It turned into a battle of the fittest with the finalist having to surf four times during the day in building swell at the main event site at Pantin.
Both finalists changed peak on various occasions positioning for the best waves during the 40-minute final with Aranburu gaining the advantage halfway through the matchup with a series of critical backhand turns to claim a solid 7.17 out of 10. His backup score on a short right was all that was needed to distance himself from Muniz and claim the victory.
“I am very happy right now. At the end of the final I was dead with no strength left in my arms but it is great right now. Everything went well in the Final for me even though it wasn’t like in the semis or the previous heats. It was a difficult day for waves and you had to paddle back to the peak many times so the last heat was really tough but it was worth it and I am stoked.”
Aranburu, who went ballistic in his semi-final against Glen Hall (IRL) with two savage rights to claim the highest combined heat total of the event, 16.84 out of 20, was able to maintain his rhythm in the final and assert his experience over his younger rival.
“At the beginning I went over to the right again but I saw that it had a lot of current running through it and it looked a bit strange so I went over to the other side and the decision worked out well for sure. In the end I couldn’t do anything more. I was so tired and when I had to paddle back out my arms had no strength at all.”
Muniz, younger brother of elite ASP World Tour member Alejo Muniz and surfing under the Argentinean flag, claimed his best career result with his runner-up finish. Muniz was on fire throughout the morning advancing through Round Five to then comfortably proceed through the man-on-man format to the final where he struggled to find any decent scoring rides.
“I am really pleased with this result. It is really good for me. I would have liked to have won like any other competitor would want but really I am happy right now. I am happy for Aritz, he is a great competitor and I love Pantin and I want to return here always.”
Muniz, one of the best up-and-comers on the junior circuit, made it look easy in the heavy seas with clean flowing turns and variety of innovative manoeuvres to build modest totals however enough to beat his competitors. The explosive natural-footer now moves on the upcoming ASP World Junior event in Bali, Indonesia where he will take added confidence gained in Pantin.
“I’m dead. We had many heats to surf today and at 30-minutes we had lots of time in the water with lots of waves. I am tired but I am still happy. My good boards broke before I came to this contest and they were smaller and for doing aerials. This big board I have now is a lot bigger and for here it was perfect and I am very happy with it. Now I have the World Pro Junior in Bali next week and right now I am going to enjoy this result and then start to focus on the next event which is very important for me.”
Glen Hall (IRL) 27, ran out of time to pull back a steam rolling Aranburu in his semi-final clash to finish equal 3rd in one of the most exciting clashes of the Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro. Trailing Aranburu the entire encounter by combination, Hall answered back with two massive backhand hacks to get back into the game with an 8.27 out of 10. Still requiring another score, a huge set pounded through the line-up of Pantin to deny Hall one last opportunity to close the gap.
“I think I had my chances for sure. I got a couple of big ones and I was going for two turns because I figured two big turns on a set wave would be an 8. I never felt completely out of it but I finally got my 8 a bit late and that set came and I couldn’t get back out. I was knackered and got flogged. It’s good though.”
Earlier in the day, Hall carefully chose his position in the line-up and was one of the few surfers able to master the tricky main peak against the headland at Pantin. The push of the tide helped improve conditions with the growing swell and allowed both surfers the possibility to put on a great show for the huge crowds watching the action.
“I looked at that really closely and I have been surfing down the beach all week. I saw that down the beach was a bit too quick to get two good turns in and I was thinking if Aritz would come out there too. In the end I was glad he did even though I lost. I knew the best waves would be there and it was good to have a heat like that where I had my chances but Aritz went mad so good on him.”
Chris Friend (Sunshine Coast, AUS) 20, finished equal 3rd to claim his career best result on the ASP Star tour. After being one of the form surfers through the morning session with clean powerful turns, Friend was unable to get into his semi-final bout against Muniz, finding only one decent scoring ride due to his decision to select the main peak which failed to deliver him results.
“I got flogged pretty hard in the heat before against Alex (Chacon) where I spent about 5 minutes trying to get back out and I ran out of energy in this heat. I also kind of made a wrong decision to go over to the right and it threw me out right from the start. I had an opportunity at the end and I took off and it just melted underneath me. I basically had a text book ‘Shocker’ so not much more I can say about it. (laughs)”
Friend now moves on to the remainder of the 2011 season with a much higher ranking which he hopes to build on and thus enter the Top 90 to secure a position in the crucial ASP Prime events.
“It is definitely my best result on the Star tour and I hadn’t really had a result on the Europe leg so it is good to go home with a 3rd in the bag. This has given me confidence for the last few events through the back of the year. Hopefully it will give me a bit of a boost into some of the Prime events at the end of this year and the start of next year.”
The ASP 5-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro 2011 is scheduled to run until the 18th of September 2011.
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Men’s Final
Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 13.67 Def. Santiago Muniz (ARG) 8.93
Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro Men’s Semi-final Results
Heat 1: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 14.06 Def. Chris Friend (AUS) 9.07
Heat 2: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 16.84 Def. Glen Hall (IRL) 11.84