Surfing's impact zone: an occasional glimpse locally and abroad
The video contains Day 3 highlights from the Sri Lankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives, an ASP World Qualifying Series six-star prime contest worth mega-points toward qualification for the ASP World Tour. San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas is through to the fifth round and will face Florida veteran Cory Lopez.
Gudauskas, who has twice barely missed making the elite tour, made history by performing a 540 inverted "Rodeo Clown" flip and rode the wave out for a perfect-10 score that launched him from third to first place in the final seconds of his fourth-round heat. It was the first Rodeo Clown successfully performed during a high-level ASP contest.
"It was there to be done and I had to do it,” said the personable Gudauskas, who can use a good result. He's ranked No. 27 on the World Qualifying Series but will vault significantly upward if he can get past Lopez and into the quarterfinals.
Unfortunately for the tight-knit Gudauskas trio of bros, Dane and Tanner were eliminated in the third round. But Tanner, the youngest, remains well-poised on the WQS leader board. He's ranked No. 17 and won't suffer too big a drop. Dane is ranked No. 44. The top 15 on the WQS at season's end qualify for the "Dream Tour," and it's about time a Gudauskas makes the leap.
Mark your calendars:
-- The National Scholastic Surfing Assn. national championships are June 23-27 at Lower Trestles in San Clemente. For those who haven't been, this is total immersion into the surfing culture, and provides a glimpse into the sport's future. Last year's Open Division winners were Santa Cruz's Nat Young and Santa Ana's Courtney Conlogue. Only Conlogue will be back, as Young has turned pro. Nike 6.0 will provide a live webcast June 25-27 at nssalive.com.
--The Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing, a six-star WQS contest minus the prime rating, is July 18-26. This action sports festival will lure 500-plus athletes and 400,000-plus spectators over the nine days. And if there are good waves (always a big IF at the U.S. Open) it'll showcase some of the world's best -- maybe even the world's best competition surfer -- in action.
Organizers have placed nine-time world champion Kelly Slater on the roster, along with three-time world champ Andy Irons. If either of them competes it'll be a surprise. If both compete it'll be a stunner. This year will, however, mark the return of three-time U.S. Open champ Rob Machado, a Hurley athlete who missed the last two Opens for various reasons, one of them a major Indo-based film project.
-- Well deserved accolades: Machado in August will be honored by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Assn. as Waterman of the Year. SIMA says the wild-haired goofy-footer "has helped define the modern era of the sport and embodies the true spirit of surfing," and that's an appropriate assessment.... Machado's close friend Pat O'Connell will be inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame on July 24 at 10 a.m. in Huntington Beach, as part of U.S. Open festivities. Jeff Hakman, Bruce Brown and Joey Buran also will have their foot- and hand-prints stamped into the concrete at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street.
-- Lastly, a brief check on Surfline reveals a moderate southwest swell running now through through the weekend, so why is everybody still working? Now if only the sun will come out. How long can these depressing gray days last?
-- Pete Thomas
(Note: Outposts will provide reports like this periodically through the summer and beyond.)
Photo: Pat Gudauskas on his way to a first-ever “Rodeo Clown” aerial during an ASP contest. Credit: Dara Ahmed / ASP Australasia