PUNTA ROCA, La Libertad/El Salvador (Friday, July 6, 2012) ? The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 3-Star Copa Quiksilver El Salvador returned to Punta Roca for the third consecutive day and saw dominant performances unfold from the event?s top seeds in windy three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves.
Hank Gaskell (HAW) put in the round?s top performance, combining a series of power turns and airs to take the day?s highest single-wave score of 8.33 in addition to the highest heat-total of 15.06 in a convincing Round of 64 win.
?I felt a little shaky at first, but my second wave was really nice,? Gaskell said. ?This is such a fun pointbreak and I?ve got a really good board. I had fun out there. This is my first time here and so far I love it. Before the contest I spent five or six days at Las flores and I?ve just been scoring good waves, eating good food and meeting nice people.?
Guillermo Satt (CHL), a Quarterfinalists in last year?s Copa Quiksilver El Salvador, started his campaign in sharp form with critical backhand surfing. The Chilean talent earned one of the day?s highest heat totals of 14.00 out of 20 to advance through to the Round of 32 and is looking to improve on last year?s performance.
?This is my second time here in El Salvador,? Satt said. ?I made the Quarterfinals here last year and I want to go better and make the Semifinals this year. This is such a perfect wave and I hope I can continue to make it through the Rounds.?
Michael Dunphy (Virginia Beach, VA), a top seed at this year?s Copa Quiksilver El Salvador, was victorious in his opening heat, topping three-time ASP World Champion Tom Curren (Santa Barbara, CA), who advanced in second, to move to the Round of 32.
?I was pretty nervous having Tom Curren at a righthand pointbreak because that?s where he does his best stuff,? Dunphy said. ?I was worried about him and I knew the other Brazilian guy (Tanio Barreto) surfed well too, but I just wanted to surf my own heat and worry about getting waves. It seems like the people that get the waves out there make it through heats, so that was my main goal, just to get two waves and be able to set myself up to make it through the heat.?
Dunphy, who makes an annual pilgrimage to La Libertad, looked at home on the long right-handers and displayed impressive poise in his slow heat against Curren which contributed to his success.
?It was a really slow heat, there was 13 minutes left and I only had a 1.00,? Dunphy said. ?Then I got that one good one and the tide came up and it started doubling up and giving us some good little sections. I lost in the Round of 32 last year so I want to do better than that. I come to Punta Roca every summer and it?s a really underrated place.?
Tom Curren was given a last-minute wildcard in to this year?s Copa Quiksilver El Salvador and capitalized on his veteran knowledge to advance to the Round of 32 in second place behind Dunphy.
I?ve been watching the last couple of days and today has a heavy bump to it,? Curren said. ?It?s really tricky to find the waves that had a wall, but there are some. I just stuck to the basics, I looked for the second or third wave of the set that were cleaner and tried to find two waves that lined up.?
Curren, who is competing with sons Pat and Frank in their first career ASP Star event at the Copa Quiksilver El Salvador, was admittedly inspired by the high level of surfing in the early rounds of competition and is enjoying his time in Latin America while competing alongside his sons.
?These guys are so good,? Curren said. ?This is a 3-Star and the level is amazing to watch. The guys surfing in the last few days have been really good and a lot of the guys from Santa Barbara and Ventura are doing really well. My boys wanted to come and I was offered the wildcard at the last minute, so I accepted it. This is my first contest surfing with Pat and Frank in the draw. This is their first ASP Star event, so it?s cool.?