LONG BEACH, Long Island/New York (Friday, September 9, 2011) - Owen Wright (AUS), 21, has claimed his maiden ASP Dream Tour victory, taking out the inaugural Quiksilver Pro New York over Kelly Slater (USA), 39, to earn the historic US $300,000 first-place prize purse in offshore three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) surf at Long Beach, New York.
The Quiksilver Pro New York Final marked a rematch between the two from the last stop on the ASP World Title Series in Teahupo'o, but today proved to be Wright's day, claiming revenge on Slater in front of the capacity crowd in New York.
Wright wasted no time in the Final, belting a 7.00, a 9.23, and an 8.00 in the opening minutes of the heat against the Floridian with a savage forehand attack on the clean lefthand walls, setting the bar too high for the reigning 10-time ASP World Champion to overcome.
"I'm just lapping it up right now," Wright said. "I've always wanted to be in Final with Kelly (Slater) and last week at Teahupo'o was great. I think Kelly is ready for payback already. Thank you Long Beach, how good is this? Look at these waves! Thanks to Quiksilver, we've been looked after all week and they made it really easy for us and thanks for the $300,000. Thanks to my coach Dean Davies, it's been up and down and we've worked towards a win and it means a lot. Thanks to my friends and family at home. I've been getting messages from them and my Dad, I wish he was here, but another day. Thanks heaps, I really appreciate the support."
The Australian's win moves him to No. 2 on the ASP World Title rankings and is now within striking distance of his first ASP World Title.
Slater was in deadly form on the final day of Quiksilver Pro New York competition, defeating high-flying Australian Josh Kerr (AUS), 27, and Taj Burrow (AUS), 33, but was unable to overtake Wright's rampaging forehand assault in the Final.
"I just want to say thanks to everybody," Slater said. "The swell is offshore and we almost didn't have the contest last week and it all came together. I'm stoked for Owen to get his first win, congratulations. I'm stoked to be on the East Coast and I think we might have a surf with bravest and finest with firefighters and policemen tomorrow. Thanks to everyone at Quiksilver for an amazing week. We've been taken care of like never before. Thanks!"
Slater, who was in need of an excellent ride in the dying minutes of his Semifinals matchup against Taj Burrow, rose to the occasion, launching the event's only perfect 10-point ride with a gigantic frontside full-rotation slob grab on a closeout section to overtake Burrow in dramatic fashion.
"Taj (Burrow) obviously got the better of that first exchange," Slater said. "I knew there were good waves and I was trying to get a good left. Taj (Burrow) had priority and I would have done the same thing because I had already tried hail maries and I just tried to rotate and the lip was soft going down. I wasn't even thinking about the grab, it was just how it ended up. I thought it was going to be up in the 9's for sure based on what happened earlier in the week. I was just so in the moment and excited that I was on my feet still when I landed."
Burrow attacked both the lefts and rights in energetic fashion and seemed to have Slater on the ropes in the dying minutes of their Semifinals battle, but the progressive Australian's final berth slipped out of his hands via the Floridian's perfect score.
"The wind has been offshore and it's actually a bit difficult for airs out there," Burrow said. "I knew that wave I let Kelly (Slater) have was only a one-maneuver wave. I let him have it because I didn't think there was an 8 on that wave, and then Kelly did the best air of his life, on the last wave of the heat, against me. I'm still having trouble putting it into words. It was freakish."
Despite the tough loss, Burrow's experience at the Quiksilver Pro New York has been a pleasant one compliments of the warm welcome from the local New Yorkers and the excellent surf provided via Hurricane Katia.
"The event has been great," Burrow said. "The people here have been so excited for us to be here and that's really a special thing. The city's been a blast and on top of it all, we've had really great waves the past two days. It's been a great event."
Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, currently competing in his rookie year on the ASP World Title Series, was in impressive form throughout the entirety of Quiksilver Pro New York competition, but was unable to trump Wright in their Semifinals heat. Muniz's equal 3rd place finish marks his career-best result.
"This is the best result of my career," Muniz said. "The waves have been really fun and I've just been focusing on working through my heats. This is my first time to New York and I have had a great trip. I'm very excited to move to the next event. Thanks to all the people here who have been so nice."
Highlights from the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York highlights are available via www.quiksilverpro.com
The next stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season will be the Hurley Pro at Trestles from September 18 through 24, 2011.
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK FINAL:
1 - Owen Wright (AUS) 17.90
2 - Kelly Slater (USA) 14.53
QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.07 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.33
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.84 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.63
QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.77 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.37
QF 2: Kelly Slater (AUS) 15.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.00
QF 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.10 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.10
QF 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.93 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.44
ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 10 (After Quiksilver Pro New York):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 34950 pts
2. Owen Wright (AUS) 31,900 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 30,200 pts
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 27,000 pts
5. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 26,750 pts
6. Josh Kerr (AUS) 25,600 pts
7. Taj Burrow (AUS) 25,250 pts
8. Mick Fanning (AUS) 23,000 pts
9. Michel Bourez (PYF) 20,500 pts
10. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 19,700 pts