Jack’s Team Rider Tanner Gudauskas Takes The Win at The Mr. Price Pro 6 Star Prime
Sunday July 5, 2009 – Just hours after celebrating both his 21st birthday and American Independence Day (both on 4 July), Tanner Gudauskas (California, USA) celebrated the biggest victory of his professional surfing career, taking out the ASP WQS 6-Star Mr Price Pro Ballito, today.
Gudauskas defeated Australian James Taipan Wood (Aus) rocketing to World No. 6 on the ASP World Qualifying Series and pocketing R159 000 (US$20 000) as well as 2500 ASP WQS ratings points.
“I just can’t believe it, this is a personal best for me!” said Gudauskas. “Every night this week I’ve been going to bed dreaming about winning this contest and putting myself up there where Pat (Tanner’s brother and WQS No. 10 Patrick Gudauskas) was at, and it came through today so I’m fired up!”
Attacking the 30-minute final with unprecedented determination, Gudauskas rode every lump of swell, snatching an early heat lead with a 6.83 (out of 10.00) for some clean backhand turns, riding out in an explosion of whitewater off his final maneuver.
While his opponent Wood opted to play the patience game catching his first wave at the 11 minute mark, Gudauskas projected fast out of his top turns, maintaining speed and power in the wind affected waves to score a 6.67 and further extend his lead over the Australian, who was left looking for a 7.67.
“I just got into this mindset that when the surf got worse I was going to get better and as the tide came up and it got less consistent, I just got more fired up and more pissed off,” said Gudauskas. “It’s crazy because I can hardly remember half of it now but my priority exchange worked out and it all came together and I’m just super fired up!”
Cloaked in stars and stripes, of the American flag, an emotional Gudauskas was chaired up the beach by his older brother Dane and quarterfinalist Dylan Graves (Pri), surrounded by a sea of adoring fans and media crew all wanting a piece of the newly crowned champ.
“When I came out of the water and saw my brothers and some of my friends all standing on the beach cheering for me I was almost in tears,” said Gudauskas. “We have a really strong crew from America right now and we’re all pushing as hard as we can to bust down the door and make the ASP World Tour and I think this year could be the year.”
Guduaskas is now the highest rated American surfer on the WQS tour, surpassing both WQS No. 7 Brett Simpson and his older brother WQS No. 10 Patrick Gudauskas.
Mr Price Pro Ballito runner-up James Wood, a former U16 World Champion who until today was yet to make his mark on the WQS circuit, joined Gudauskas in posting his career best result, taking home R79 000 ($10 000) as well as a serious boost of confidence.
Both surfers earned R40 000 (US$ 5000) each as well as 1625 ratings points; Wilkinson jumping to WQS No. 12.
Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.50 def James Taipan Wood (AUS) 8.73
Heat 1: James Taipan Wood (AUS) 13.77 def Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 2: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.33 def Wade Goodall (AUS) 7.70
Heat 1: James Taipan Wood (AUS) 14.67 def Daniel Ross (AUS) 0.00
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.84 def Dylan Graves (PRI) 12.33
Heat 3: Wade Goodall (AUS) 17.83 def Klee Strachan (ZAF) 11.40
Heat 4: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.00 def Nathan Hedge (AUS) 9.90