What: Soöruz Lacanau Pro, ASP 6 Star WQS Men's Event Where: Lacanau Ocean, France When: 7-17 August 2008
Nathaniel Curran (USA), 24, won the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro this weekend in wind-blown 2-3 foot waves. He defeated Dion Atkinson (AUS) in an exciting 35-minute final, closing six days of great action at the famous French town of Lacanau.
Curran got one step closer to his ASP World Tour qualification, leaving Lacanau with an impressive 1500 point lead on the international ratings. Curran, who ended up winning in the last five minutes of the final battle after chasing Atkinson all the way, brings the crown back in the family after his older brother Tim Curran clinched it nine years ago: "I remember that look on the face of my brother when he won the event and I cannot believe I made it", Curran said. "I have been having a few good results in a row but I am trying not to pay any attention to the ratings and take it one heat at a time."
Curran, who won the ASP WQS 6-Star US Open of Surfing in July and placed equal 5th in the ASP WQS 6-Star Yumeya Billabong Pro in Japan, has become the unstoppable man of the summer with his result. "I am overwhelmed at the moment and just going to enjoy and keep having fun in my heats", Curran said. "If I can make the ASP World Tour this year I will be just over the moon. You get the best waves on that tour and this is what I am thinking about, but it is a long way still."
Dion Atkinson (AUS), 22, secured his best result to date with his second place and keeps up the good work after several crucial results. Atkinson, who led the battle until the last five minutes, was surfing his first final ever in a main World Qualifying Series (WQS) event and could not counter Curran's impressive tactics: "I just made a few critical mistakes in that last heat", Atkinson said. "I took off on some waves I should have left and things went his way. We had a good heat together and I am stoked for Nathaniel."
Atkinson jumps to No. 26 on the ratings, is slowly moving closer to the Top 15 and now stands as a serious contender to any opponent. "I am not looking at any ratings at the moment and just taking the year as it comes", Atkinson said. "It is a big result for me but you always want to win when you make a final. I am still young, lots of events coming up, just want to keep surfing well and hope things remain as good."
Mike Losness (USA), 27, undoubtedly the outsider of the final four, started his Lacanau Pro campaign in Round 2 and got through six heats defeating big names including Dustin Barca (HAW), ASP Top 45 surfer Leonardo Neves (BRA) and Michel Bourez (PYF) before losing in Semifinals against fellow American Curran, en route to his best result of the year. "I wish I could make the final to improve my equal 3rd in the US Open of Surfing two years ago but I am happy with that run", Losness said. "I am stoked, I could have lost days ago and here I am on the final day."
Josh Kerr (AUS), former ASP Top 45 surfer, placed equal 3rd in the event today after offering some of the most progressive surfing ever seen in Lacanau. Kerr posted two of the three best heat scores of the week, including an impressive 19.40 point heat tally in Round 6.
"I am disappointed I did not make it through that one", Kerr said. "It just did not happen during that semifinal and after such a good week I was hoping to get another chance. I just came up short." Kerr, who attended five events this year on the ASP WQS, has not been thinking of any ratings yet but was still happy with that 1875 point reward for his run in Lacanau.
"I am kind of having a part-time year on tour, just choosing a couple of events here and there", Kerr said. "It will still be great if I can finish the year in the Top 10. I like competing and I feel like it is makable. I had some good results in Hossegor so I am looking forward to it." Kerr will head two hours South to the world famous beachbreaks of Hossegor and Seignosse with his new No.15 rank.
Final Heat : Nathaniel Curran (USA) 15.43 pts Def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.67 pts
Semifinals Heat 1 : Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.50 pts Def. Mike Losness (USA) 13.04 pts Heat 2 : Dion Atkinson (AUS) 17.77 pts Def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.56 pts
Quarterfinals Heat 1 : Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.96 pts Def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.70 pts Heat 2 : Mike Losness (USA) 11.60 pts Def. Joel Centeio (HAW) 11.57 pts Heat 3 : Dion Atkinson (AUS) 15.34 pts Def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.00 pts Heat 4 : Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.53 pts Def. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 12.50 pts