The fearsome beast that is Pascuales reared one of its more alluring faces for the Pawa Tube Fest Finals. In a final day of 4 to 6 foot, sand-bottomed-drainers, Portugal's Nic von Rupp, walked away with first place.
"It has been a really tough week and I am so stoked to come out as the winner," says von Rupp. "Coming here to surf one of the best waves in the world with some of the best tube riders has been an amazing experience. I want to thank everyone who made this event possible.”
This invitation-only event incorporated heavyweight barrel specialists such as Nathan Hedge, Aritz Aranburu, Kalani Chapman, Brian Conley and Rusty Long, and introduced a new format for tube riding where the final results are accumulated from the athlete’s over all heat performances.
After a testing set of conditions for Rounds 1 and 2, in which competition was abandoned due to early winds squalls, on Saturday morning competitors rose to light offshore winds with clear skies and six foot clean barrels.
“It’s really difficult to forecast Pascuales” says Contest Director Carlos Hernandez “This wave is under the influence of so many elements and factors that it becomes very hard to predict. We would like to thank the Magicseaweed team for their forecasting support. It has been really important for the event”.
Starting off the final day with Round 2, Heat 4, Nic Von Rupp was instantly in sink with the ocean, navigating the notoriously unstable Pascuales lineup with relative ease and posting the highest heat total of the event (16.93). “I just stuck to my plan and went for the good ones." Said von Rupp. "That left was amazing. With conditions like that you could basically make it out of any barrel you wanted. It was pumping out there.”
In the following heat, Brazilian competitor, Diego Silva, scraped into the best wave of the day, going deeper and longer than anyone else and claiming the highest scoring tube of the event, a 9.5.
Semi Final 1, featuring early stand out, Artiz Aranburu (Basque Country), was a low scoring affair, with no riders accumulating sufficient points to guarantee their advance to the final. In contrast, during the second Semi Final, Peruvian, Gabriel Villaran, quickly found himself two near flawless barrels. The big wave charger had never surfed Pascuales before this event, but appeared to feel an affinity with the wave.“This is one of the best waves in the World," said Villaran. "I am really honored to be here. The best thing about Pascuales is that you do not need a big swell. It’s always good. I will be very happy to come back next year!”
The final heat delivered some of the greatest tube rides of the event, with Gabriel Villaran opening up with a 7.83 and with a quick second wave score of 7.0 points. Diego Silva picked the best left of the final with a highest single wave score of 8.83. On the very next set Nathan Hedge (Australia) and Nic Von Rupp (Portugal) split the peak, with Nathan scoring a 7.3 on the right and Nic scoring an 8.33 on the left. Nic closed the final with a solid backside tube to clinch the championship.
“Congratulations to all the surfers. It was the first time running with this format and the surfers loved it. Says Head Judge, Wade Sharp. "We need to improve in a few areas but it has been a great experience. Pascuales is definitely one of the best tube riding waves on the planet and I am sure it can become one of the most spectacular events out there.”