PRAIA DE SANTA BARBARA, Sao Miguel – Azores Islands (Friday, September 8, 2017) – Yago Dora (BRA), 21, has claimed the Azores Airlines Pro pres. by SEAT title today over fellow Brazilian Michael Rodrigues (BRA), 22, in three-to-four foot wind-affected surf at Santa Barbara.
Rodrigues started his final with a couple of average waves to get a rhythm going and quickly put on two basic scores on the board for the early lead. Ten minutes in, Dora found his first wave but the judges panel kept it low and Rodrigues stayed on top.
The high-flying Brazilian got busier halfway through and started building momentum surfing a lot more waves, mixing up carves and a few little aerials to re-gain the lead with a 7.07 and a 6.43. The requirement on Rodrigues wasn’t massive but with only a few minutes remaining, all his efforts deemed vain and Dora claimed his second QS6,000 win of the season.
“I feel amazing now with a second win this year I’m speechless,” Dora stated. “Last year I wasn’t even doing so well and it’s crazy how things have changed. Being in the final with Michael was really cool, he just made another final in Spain and he surfs amazing, I hope he gets more good results also this year.”
With the 6,000 points collected today, Dora builds his season tally up to 19,610 points and jumps up to the second place of the Qualifying Series, right behind Jesse Mendes, whom he should join on the Championship Tour next season if all goes well.
“Ian (Gouveia) told me to win this event for him as he couldn’t be here this year,” he continued. “It’s definitely less weight on my shoulders now, my goal was to finish the Euro leg with all the points I needed to qualify so I think I’ve done just that and I’m super stoked about it. Competing is what I love doing and no matter the points and qualification I’m going to enjoy it just as much in these next few events, competing against some of the best surfers in the worlds always exciting.”
Michael Rodrigues failed to clinch the big win for the second time in back-to-back events, but what could be seen as a failure should be instead considered a massive achievement to reach the finals of two QS6,000 in a row. The Brazilian showed massive talent and competitive fire and will undoubtedly get the precious win in the coming seasons.
“I’m feeling really happy, I tried to do my best and unfortunately it just wasn’t enough this time,” Rodrigues said. “This is another amazing result for me and I’m so excited to keep going and compete in the next event.”
In the opening semifinal, an opposition of styles between Dora and Wade Carmichael (AUS), 24, turned short when the Brazilian launched and landed a perfect full rotation on his forehand, right on the shoulder and into a finishing turn for a near-perfect 9.23 and ultimately the win.
Carmichael had been scoring big wins with powerful surfing on his backhand in the wedgy peaks of Santa Barbara but couldn’t quite match Dora’s flair in their semifinal battle. The Australian claims his second-best result of the season and further climbs the QS ladder to reach the Top 20 heading into his last European event in Cascais at the end of the month.
“One more heat would have been good, but I feel like I’m surfing well and I’m just trying to have some fun and carry some momentum into the next few events,” Carmichael said. “The waves weren’t great in our heat and it didn’t break much after he got the 9, I would have needed more opportunities to try to get a big score myself. I had heaps of fun this week and I really enjoyed my time in the Azores.”
The second semifinal was an all regular foot matchup between Rodrigues and Bino Lopes (BRA), 29. Both surfers had a similar path to the semis but Rodrigues carrying momentum from a runner-up finish in Pantin applied pressure to Lopes and managed to slightly edge out his compatriot. Lopes claims an equal third result and an important 3,550 ranking points.
“Of course it’s a great result for me but I feel terrible right now because I feel like one single mistake lost me the heat,” Lopes said. “Congrats to Michael, he smashed it out there and deserved his win. I want to thank everyone who supported me, my family and friends, sponsors and my girlfriend, all the messages really cheered me up all-week.”
With the Azores Airlines Pro pres. by SEAT completed today, the new European QS Top 5 is as follows:
1 – Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
2 – Gony Zubizarreta (ESP)
3 – Marc Lacomare (FRA)
4 – Vasco Ribeiro (PRT)
5 – Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY)
With the event finishing two days early, competitors will now have time to soak in all the beauty of Sao Miguel, or instead start preparing for the next event coming up, the QS1,500 Anfaplace Pro Casablanca, from September 12-17.
The Azores Airlines Pro pres. by SEAT is scheduled from September 5-10, 2017 at PRAIA DE SANTA BARBARA, Sao Miguel – Azores Islands. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
The Azores Airlines Pro pres. by SEAT is organized by DAAZ Eventos with the support of the following event partners: Azores Airlines, Governo Regional dos Acores, Turismo dos Açores, Câmara Municipal da Ribeira Grande, SEAT , MEO, MagicSeaWeed amongst others.
AZORES AIRLINES PRO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Yago Dora (BRA) 13.50
2 – Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.27
AZORES AIRLINES PRO SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.00 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.83
SF 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.77 def. Bino Lopes (BRA) 12.40
AZORES AIRLINES PRO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Yago Dora (BRA) 15.23 def. Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 7.07
QF 2: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 14.66 def. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 11.50
QF 3: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.83 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 9.23
QF 4: Bino Lopes (BRA) 14.84 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 5.36